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Role of Media in Promoting Good Governance

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Reenachauhan
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Media are the storage and transmission channel or tool used to store and deliver information or data. Media are (mostly) non state actors who define themselves apart from the state and from all other societal actors (what Edmund Burke described as a “fourth estate”, distinct from government, church and electorate). While this notion of free and independent media acting on behalf of the citizen against both state and other interests is a widespread ideal, the reality of most media worldwide is complex, rapidly changing and extraordinarily diverse.
Media can consist of everything from national newspapers to student magazines, global broadcasters to community radio, websites and blogs to social networks and virtual communities, citizen journalists to government mouthpieces. This briefing focuses principally on media – and to a lesser extent on linked information and technologies - at a national level within developing countries. The term media refers to several different forms of communication required to educate and make a socially aware nation. The communication forms can be radio, television, cinema, magazines, newspapers, and/or Internet-based web sites. These forms often play a varied and vital role in our society.
Recently the terms "governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil within our societies. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms that ensure "good governance" are undertaken.
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. The concept of "good governance" often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies.
“Good governance is not just about government. It is also about political parties, parliament, the judiciary, the media, and civil society. It is about how citizens, leaders and public institutions relate to each other in order to make change happen.”
Most international organizations provide definitions of governance rather than of good governance. The World Bank for example, outlines three aspects of governance: i) the type of the political regime, ii) the public management of economic and social resources, and iii) the capacity of Government to design, formulate and implement policies.
The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan describes good governance as a force ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law, strengthening democracy, promoting transparency and capacity in public administration
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared in 1996 that "promoting good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, as essential elements of a framework within which economies can prosper." The IMF feels that corruption within economies is caused by the ineffective governance of the economy, either too much regulation or too little regulation.
The United Nations emphasizes reform through human development and political institution reform. According to the UN, good governance has eight characteristics Good governance is Consensus Oriented

* Participatory * following the Rule of Law * Effective and Efficient * Accountable * Transparent * Responsive * Equitable and Inclusive
Participation by both men and women is a key cornerstone of good governance. Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. It is important to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making. Participation needs to be informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand.
Rule of law
Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities. Impartial enforcement of laws requires an independent judiciary and an impartial and incorruptible police force.
Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media.
Good governance requires that institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe.
Consensus oriented
There are several actors and as many view points in a given society. Good governance requires mediation of the different interests in society to reach a broad consensus in society on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved. It also requires a broad and long-term perspective on what is needed for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development. This can only result from an understanding of the historical, cultural and social contexts of a given society or community.
Equity and inclusiveness
A society’s well being depends on ensuring that all its members feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream of society. This requires all groups, but particularly the most vulnerable, have opportunities to improve or maintain their well being.
Effectiveness and efficiency
Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to who varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law.
One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand the popular feeling and give expression to it, another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects"-Mahatma Gandhi.
The foregoing statement by Gandhi explains the importance of media in upholding freedom, and in expanding education and social reforms and change. Media can inform people giving them the voice to be heard and heeded to. Democracy requires that people should have the right to know the activities of the government, especially the decision of the government that affects their life, liberty and property. Information is important for people to make choices regarding their participation in the State, the market and the civil society. Sufficient information helps people to decide rationally and take the right course of action beneficial to them. Media-both print and electronic-thus helps people to know what is happening around the world, socialize them with the values of pluralism and equip them with the elements of modernity. By publicizing information the media also make public services more responsive to the people.
A responsible media equally helps in socialization of people into citizenship, democratization of the State and political society, institutionalization of civic culture through unfettered flow of information, and rationalized use of power in social relations
The relationship between media and good governance is the 2005 theme for the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. On a day we celebrate the commitment and dedication of a particular individual to defend the right of freedom of expression, it is appropriate to examine the notion of good governance in the light of this right and its sister right, the right of access to information.
The United Nations Millennium Declaration represents the strongest unanimous and explicit statement to date of UN Member States in support of democratic and participatory governance. The declaration clearly articulates that the Millennium Development Goals must be achieved through good governance within each country and at the international level. It also states that Member States “will spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law” and goes on to resolve “to strengthen the capacity of all countries to implement the principles and practices of democracy and respect for human rights...”

Reducing poverty through achieving sustainable development is the key objective of UNESCO programmes and good governance is central to these efforts. Governance implies the ways through which citizens and groups in a society voice their interests, mediate their differences and exercise their legal rights and obligations. Good governance includes notions of greater participation by civil society in decision making, instituting the rule of law, anti-corruption, transparency, accountability, poverty reduction and human rights. Good governance links government to the notion of responsibility for and to the citizenry as opposed to the traditional idea of authority over a nation--legitimacy emanating from popular assent to and participation in government, which is concerned with the welfare of its citizens.

The role of the media in promoting good governance is clear. All aspects of good governance are facilitated by a strong and independent Medias cape within a society. Only when journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticize the public administration’s policies and actions can good governance take hold. Independent media are like a beacon that should be welcomed when there is nothing to hide and much to improve. Indeed, this is the concrete link between the functioning of the media and good governance--the media allow for ongoing checks and assessments by the population of the activities of government and assist in bringing public concerns and voices into the open by providing a platform for discussion. Instead, all too often governments devise laws and informal means of keeping their activities hidden from public view or only available to media favorable to their viewpoint. In recent years, many governments have tried to co-opt journalists by paying part of their salaries or by giving them certain kinds of access on condition that they will not report from other perspectives. If the media are to function in the public interest, governments have to protect the independent functioning of the media and allow various viewpoints to flourish in society.

1. Participation

Greater participation is crucial for good governance in two ways: greater participation by citizens in the decision-making process allows greater transparency and can help ensure that political decisions are adapted to the needs of the people affected by them. Second, greater participation is important for democratic legitimacy, which depends on the investment people have as citizens in their own governing.

The role of independent and pluralistic media in fostering participation is critical as the media report on aspects of the decision-making process and give stakeholders a voice in that process. Freedom of the media allows for the formation of a public sphere in which a wide range of debates can take place and a variety of viewpoints be represented. The citizenry can thereby use the media to express their assent or dissent or explore aspects of issues not considered through official channels. Government has a responsibility to allow the media to contribute to the participation process, especially in areas where face-to-face participation is not possible.

2. Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings have certain basic inherent, inalienable and unassailable rights to which they are entitled by birth. Guaranteeing these rights to citizens is a precondition for a functioning democracy.

By reporting and denouncing cases of human rights violations, a free and open media can increase awareness among citizens about their rights and act as a reliable source of information on the basis of which civil society organizations and public authorities can work to bring down the incidences of arbitrary abuse. However, many obstacles often face journalists investigating cases of human rights violations: restrictive censorship, lack of fair access to official information, heavy fines or even prison terms. Ensuring freedom of expression and press freedom should therefore be regarded as a priority as they are rights that make it possible to advance and protect other human rights.

3. The rule of law

The rule of law is implied in the existence of law and other judicial systems within societies and is enshrined in the texts of the law itself. The rule of law can be understood both as a set of practices which allow the law to perform a mediating role between various stakeholders in society and as a normative standard invoked by members of society that demonstrate their assent to this principle. The rule of law is fundamental to the stability and smooth functioning of society. Only when the rule of law is respected can citizens have confidence in democratic process over the long term and invest in the sustainable development of their society. When the rule of law is not respected, arbitrariness and impunity dominate the political scene. The rule of law depends heavily on the development of an independent and honest judiciary and the will of any particular government to restrain itself and show respect before the law. The rule of law is best seen not as the given state of affairs of any particular society but as an ideal requiring constant instantiation and vigilance.

The media have a crucial function as the sector of society most able to promote vigilance towards the rule of law, especially through fostering investigative journalism, promoting the openness of court, legislative and administrative proceedings, access to officials and to public documents. The government has a key role here in protecting the independence and pluralism of the media, especially during critical moments of these processes.

4. Anti-corruption, Transparency and Accountability

Corruption is one of the hardest issues states have to face in the governance process. Corrupt practices rob governments of the means to ensure the best life for their people, while many in government may feel that exposure of corruption erodes their legitimacy. Journalists who investigate corruption often face severe reprisals as corrupt officials threaten their place of work, their families and their reputation. It is important for governments to take a firm stand against corruption and to protect both whistle-blowers and the media that report on corrupt practices in government. Legitimacy is only aided by a governance strategy that sees independent investigative media as an ally and not as a threat.

A current issue in many governmental reform processes is transparency. As state bureaucracies have grown into large, often opaque entities, practices of secrecy often cover the hidden struggles and interests of particular sectors and civil servants beyond their stated missions. In some cases, the social networks that link civil servants and the broader society lead to conflicts of interest in the practice of governance that are hidden by the secrecy of administration. Greater transparency in public administration allows for checks on these possible conflicts of interest and ensures greater legitimacy for the government. An independent media that is guaranteed access to public documents and to decision-making processes is able to bring possible conflicts of interest to light and assist the government in maintaining clarity in the execution of its directives. Positive expressions of an open relationship between the media and democratic governments include judicial protections for the media, inculcated respect for freedom of expression and access to information, support for national independent broadcasters and news agencies in the public service and the lessening of punitive restrictions on journalistic activities.

Closely linked to the issue of transparency is accountability.Where transparency focuses on the practices of public administration, accountability points to the responsibility for judging those practices and their effectiveness by various entities, including the public. Accountability includes a sense of moral accountability to the public with various kinds of sanctions guaranteed by the rule of law. While most forms of state government include internal regimes of accountability, accountability to the public is critical to the legitimating of a democratic society. In an atmosphere in which the public is free to examine the transactions of the government and to hold its representatives accountable for their actions, the public simultaneously takes responsibility for the functioning of their government through this form of participation.

5 Access to Information

Ensuring wider access to information, through the enactment of freedom of information legislation, ensures greater citizen participation in governance. This allows for maximum verifiability of information and allows all stakeholders to come to the table equally on important issues.

Governments should also explore ways to strengthen “e-governance” which provides media and citizens with direct access to administrative information and decision-making processes. Openness and transparency in the electoral process is also critical. Media coverage is a crucial component of elections and it is of vital importance that journalists be trained to cover the election campaigns and the elections themselves in a fair and impartial manner, giving equal coverage to the viewpoints concerned.

6. Poverty reduction

The Millennium Declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit, New York, September 2000, states as its first goal to reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by one half by the year 2015 with a view to eradicating poverty. The eradication of poverty is indeed today a vital condition for global stability, democracy and peace. As long as the poor are excluded from participation in global growth, sustainable peace and development will remain out of reach.

An open and free media can play an important role in the fight against poverty. Firstly, by on the one hand increasing the accountability of both businesses and governments, and on the other allowing citizens to make better informed decisions, it promotes and encourages good governance, without which the battle against poverty cannot be won.

Secondly, by acting - as mentioned above - as a watchdog against corruption, it can help ensure that greater importance be attached to development issues in the allocation of resources, while at the same time strengthening the institutions responsible for promoting the overall development of society.

Finally, it can contribute to combating the exclusion and marginalization of the poor. This is important, for poverty is more than just a lack of resources; it is a lack of empowerment. Poor people are generally unable to participate fully in society and earn a living. Simply providing them with additional resources is therefore not enough to lift them from their deprivation. What they need are increased capabilities. Only then can they gain control over their lives and learn how to productively use whatever resources are available. Reducing poverty through achieving sustainable development is thus the key objective of UNESCO programmes.

Providing the poor with access to the media is an important step in achieving this objective: by supplying them with reliable information, it allows them to take well-informed decisions and make better choices about their lives; it also gives them the opportunity to express their views and have a say in the election of decision-makers, thus increasing the chances of a more efficient allocation of resources. Finally, a free media can contribute to the empowerment of citizens through educational programmes and public health programmes such as HIV/AIDS education campaigns.

7. Governance of the media

If we affirm that independence and pluralism in the media are in fact preconditions for democracy to flourish, it is possible for key elements in government to be committed to media that do not simply repeat what they would like to hear. A positive relationship between the state and media goes beyond pure laissez-faire to nourishing an independent and pluralistic medias cape. A current issue in many countries is the monopolization of media by powerful interests, whether private or public, which lessens the plurality of voices in the public sphere. Perhaps the most important expression of an open relationship between media and the government is the airing of unpopular viewpoints that may reflect tensions in the society. If the medias cape is not open and pluralistic, these viewpoints may leave the democratic sphere and foment violence.

Governance of the media also includes the dimension of governance among the different sectors and interests present in the media themselves. The implementation of a legal and regulatory environment that encourages freedom and pluralism in public information is often facilitated when governments and professional associations have access to comparative examples of media legislation, codes, and cooperation strategies for media development.
Associations dedicated to media accountability such as ombudsmen and press councils also have a key role to play in the governance of media. One important role they play is in encouraging discussion within the media sector about ethical practices and their professional responsibilities. They can thereby strengthen the media’s internal professional standards and increase public confidence in the reliability of the information provided.

In countries with emerging independent mediascapes, professional media industry associations can take the lead in assisting various media outlets to understand their role as independent media and encourage them to find ways to be economically self-sustaining. This should include both media as well as information services such as news agencies, community-based radio, web-based distribution and media production networks. Considering the smaller number of women in the media in most societies and the special situations they may face, professional associations should actively encourage training for women and greater gender equity within the profession.

These associations should also promote training among media professionals and broad education for those who wish to enter the profession. Such training should emphasize the values of independence, professional ethics, gender equity and the role of media in democratic societies. Such associations can sponsor debates that touch at the heart of the particular circumstances and challenges confronting the media in particular societies, while opening up wider discussions about the relationship between governance and media in the region and in the global context.

A fundamental principle of the governance reform agenda is to build more effective and responsive states accountable to their citizens; free, plural, and independent media systems can play a crucial role in this process. As stated by Collier, free and active media inform and organize society around issues imperative for effective democratic processes to work. In effect, today’s convergence of traditional and new media offers promising opportunities for inclusion, participation, and transparency; which are, however, paralleled by challenges such as uneven access, misinformation, and exposure to harmful content. Consequently, access to accurate and objective information is more important than ever for a healthy democracy to flourish. This access is crucial to improve conditions for trust among citizens, media, and state, and to implement and sustain the governance agenda In today’s world, media has made a very special place for itself in our lives. If I say that today, media has become as important as food and clothing, then I don t think so that I am over exaggerating anything.
To study the role of Media in Promoting Good Governance.
For the present study secondary data has been used. For the purpose of collection of secondary data, various books, journals newspapers has been used. Moreover various internets sites pertaining to good governances and media at the national level and international level have been used.
• Support activities to educate citizens about laws and benefits of a free, plural, and independent media system.
• Encourage knowledge sharing and cooperation among development practitioners on media literacy initiatives.
• Build awareness about the role of news ombudsmen and how they can help strengthen accountability. • Encourage citizens to utilize the news ombudsmen function by actively providing feedback.
• Encourage and support forums for the news ombudsmen to educate citizens about media practices. CONCLUSION
From the above discussion it should be clear that good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality.…...

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