In the early 80’s I attended two seminars at Salzburg American University: one on Communication and Development, the other on Perestroika. The first one opened my eyes to a different reality of journalism, one that I, formed in the classical concept of journalism started in the Western world in the second half of the 19th Century, never understood or admitted that the use of the media for promoting development could indeed also be journalism -and of the best kind- if done independently, applying the required professional criteria.
The global debate around a New Information Order in the late 70’s and the MacBride Report , which I followed daily for years in New York, at the United Nations, and afterwards, in my PhD research on international news and foreign correspondents, reinforced my distrust of any attempt to politicize the news or use media for other purpose than power’s counterweight.
In other words, information for development can be -and often it is- simple disinformation or propangada, but not necessarily. Only from this perspective can we see the importance of the following video. Why information matters for the Post-2015 framework, published on March 20, 2013, shared by CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) in twitter. I knew about it thanks to the International Affairs Blog Daily (@FletcherSchool alum).
Information is power. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have had a dramatic impact on the services (access to healthcare, education and clean water) that the poorest people receive – but have failed to shift power to ordinary people in the fight to end poverty.
Without an explicit push to improve the quality and timeliness of information, efforts to establish a transformational post-2015 agenda will only ever be directed at an incomplete, and potentially inaccurate, picture. Information provides the post-2015 framework with the opportunity to make a quantum leap in the way that development occurs, reducing corruption, improving services and allowing more local solutions to emerge.