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Charlie Beckett

November 24th, 2008

Addicted to Aid (and what the media can do about it)

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Charlie Beckett

November 24th, 2008

Addicted to Aid (and what the media can do about it)

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I was surprised by an excellent Panorama tonight on why so much aid to developing countries is wasted presented by Sorious Samura and made by Insight News TV.

The basic thesis was nothing new. Corrupt governments and naive overseas aids civil servants conspire to betray the poor who really do need help.

It creates an aid industry that creams off the best talent from developing countries to work on international welfare schemes instead of building businesses that can improve the real wealth of emerging economies.

I’ve always argued that improving the news media in developing countries is key to getting the kind of accountability and transparency that watchdog journalism – like this Panorama – can help deliver.

We have published a report on media and governance in Africa and continue to work in this area.

The trouble is that all governments are loathe to boost media development. The UK’s Department for International Development is happy to support media schemes that promote its work. They are content to put money in to spreading good health or education messages through the media in developing countries.

But they baulk at creating a critical media that will take on governments in the West and in developing countries. It is just too difficult politically.

And that is why I fear that we will see a similar version of Sorious’ programme again and again.

Contact us at polis@lse.ac.uk to find out about our seminar on media and development next January.

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Charlie Beckett

Posted In: Development | International | Journalism | Research

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