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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

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I could not believe my eyes
Submitted by avaiki on Tue, 2007-11-06 05:55.

Kia orana, greetings, all !

Clicking on the Future of Aid with my usual foreboding, I was stunned to see the role of the media listed as a hot topic.

Reading the actual post, by Fackson Banda, furthered my disbelief. I could not believe my eyes.

I was not sure whether to fall to my knees, proclaiming "hallelujah!" or dance about the kitchen, headbutting cupboards in feverish delight. Finally, finally, someone has made a connection between all this immaculately conceived consulting, ownershipping and participating and the one - and only - institution that can make that happen to any degree of significance.

Yes, the media. In supporting Dr Banda's views wholeheartedly, I urge first worlders to forget their familiarity with conflicted corporate media. In developing countries, journalists often play a very real and often very risky role in advancing public debate.

Yet, as is pointed out above, time and time again, the media is taken for granted, its capacities assumed. This in an "information era" pushing for "knowledge economies." Instead of news media taking first place priority for aid funding, we are very often placed last, if at all.

UN agencies, for example, accurately reflect this reality gap with UNESCO information and media programmes just scraping over the US$1m mark - not per minute as per, say, the US military. Per year.

In 2004, an Australian funded survey of Pacific Islands media called for a "confident, well funded and professional" industry. The reality? The website supposed to help coordinate such development has, just three years later, disappeared from view.

I will stop here, lest I start spluttering and foaming at the mouth, but finish with a simple and heartfelt "thank you" for some much needed information leadership from South Africa.

Kia manuia, bon chance,



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