The "Fourth Estate" in Democracy Assistance
Practices and Challenges of German and International Media Development Cooperation
02./03.11.2010 – Schloss Eichholz / Cologne / Germany
organized by:
forum medien und entwicklung / Konrad Adenauer Foundation

"They use their money to buy us!"
African participant, Rev. Stephen Domelevo, Catholic Digest TV Productions / Ghana

Another African participant declared corridor-talk as the most interesting experience during this conference:
Eric Chinje from Cameroon, Program Manager, Global Media Program, The World Bank Institute.
In his power-point-presentation, Eric Chinje summarized the "Donor Approach to Media in Africa" as follows:

> Evidenced outcomes do not reflect annual investment in media development
> Media as an instrument (used when needed; avoided when possible)
> Uncoordinated, agenda-driven, issue-specific interventions
> Too much focus on media for "governance & accountability" &
ooNOT enough on media for "improved development outcomes"
> Absence of sector-wide solutions
> inattention to matters of sustainibility

Nice observation, said corridor-talk, but where is the World Bank Institute's initiative leading to? According to Eric Chinje:

> Greater coordination in all aspects of sector support
> Holistic, multi-donor approaches
(holistic = emphasizing the organic or functional relation between parts and the whole)
> Engagement with Media Owners
> Support for Media Monitoring & Audience Measurement
> Attention to Funding Mechanisms

Eric Chinje's overall goal, as brought forward by him on behalf of the World Bank Institute:

... to help to grow a coalition from individuals and organizations in a crowded, disconnected field ...

In other words: Media Development Cooperation needs guidance, even steering; this seems to have been the conference's major message.
But guidance and steering by whom?

No player in the field of media development cooperation will deny that their business is dependent on donors & sponsors – without money no media development cooperation. But, can dependence on agendas of such donors & sponsors be denied as well? Is it deniable that, more and more, such agendas establish the driving force for media development cooperation in the Southern world?

Elsewhere on my Internet-presentation, I picked a particular example: Canada-based "Farm Radio International" which supports, in its own words, some 300 broadcasters in 39 African countries recieves for its work financial aid from the "Melinda & Bill Gates-Foundation".
In RBO's "
Grumbler's Corner", I forwarded the question: " ... to what extend the necessary debate is in safe hands with a broadcasting organisation which receives funds from a GMO-promoting foundation ...".

This is the background of the Gates-GMO-initiative in Africa:

A new Philanthro-Capitalist Alliance in Africa?
AGRA The Return of the Green Revolution
Galés Gabirondo

(excerpt) ... Whether or not AGRA can successfully bring the new Green Revolution to Africa, and whether or not the Green Revolution will benefit the poor as much as it benefits the capitalists being courted by the Gates Foundation are two different questions that should be open to public debate. Unfortunately, there was never a public debate on AGRA.

There are many productive agroecological farming systems in Africa that do not depend on GMOs or other Green Revolution technologies, but these alternatives were never considered. Whether or not AGRA can re-start the Green Revolution in Africa is yet to be seen. What is clear thus far is that it has been successful in eliminating competition for the control of African food systems.

AGRA’s philanthro-capitalism draws the world’s attention away from local alternatives and towards global market-based “solutions” that ultimately favor those with more international market power, i.e., the seed and chemical monopolies. Though it strengthens corporate opportunities and power, it does nothing to address the weakened ministerial and regulatory capacity of the state, ignores the need to protect local markets or ensure a greater market share of the value chain for farmers. It elides land issues and does not address the eroding economic and environmental resiliency of African food systems. Worse, it diverts attention away from the role that the global markets play in creating hunger and poverty in Africa in the first place. Can AGRA actually solve these problems? Not without addressing their causes.

So, why was it – for the corridor-talk – not a surprise to be introduced on Schloss Eichholz to the World Bank supported "Media Map Project" which tries to measure "the impact of media development worldwide". However, their worldwide view seems somehow limited to Southern countries which stand for Northern anti-terror-worries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan ...

And then, it was almost escaping the corridor-talk's attention: Major-sponsor of the mapping-project is?

Yes, the "Melinda & Bill Gates-Foundation"!

... und auf Deutsch: Bertelsmanns journalistischer Brückenkopf, oder: Was afrikanische Journalisten wirklich brauchen



Interessanter Rückblick von Simon Haslock, Albany Associates:

"Writing in a special report for the United States Institute of Peace, Simon Haselock, co-founder of Albany Associates, charts the results of taking a “grassroots” approach to communications in conflicts around the world. Drawing conclusions for today's mission in Afghanistan, he identifies political and peacemaking achievements over the past two decades in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Darfur borne out of local participation, strong media regulation and the process of "letting go" by the international community.!
"Make it theirs: the imperative of local ownership in communications and media initiatives" is attached and can be found at:

Klaas Glenewinkel

media in cooperation & transition
Klaas Glenewinkel, Managing Director
mobile ++49 151 504 234 55
mict gGmbH, brunnenstrasse 9 / 10119 berlin / germany
phone ++49 30 484 9302 16 / fax ++49 30 690 88 390


Flirting with fiction

In the BBC-series of viewpoints from African journalists, filmmaker and columnist Farai Sevenzo considers African story-telling and the reporting of the continent in an age of cuts.

"... Our reportage has been taken over by the humanitarians, by the United Nations missions, by the star journalists flying in from London or Washington or Doha on reporting holidays; and the stories that we may want to hear, can now be found by word of mouth only ..."


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