Although not focussed primarily on the role of foundations, this article does reveal how they can inadvertently influence their journalistic grantees, through a case study of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The authors argue that, ‘a focus on impact—encouraged, at least in part, by the organization’s foundation funders—is leading ICIJ to measure its democratic role in a way that sets its behavior apart from traditional journalistic entities’. (Humanitarian Journalism)
Public media’s contributions to democracy are well established. Less widely known are the specific policies that make these contributions possible. This study finds that professional autonomy and civic accountability in public media are supported by (1) funding established for multiyear periods; (2) legal charters that restrict partisan government influence while also mandating the provision of diverse, high-quality programming; (3) oversight agencies, whose “arm’s length” independence from the government in power is bolstered through staggered terms and the dispersal of authority to make appointments; and (4) audience councils and surveys designed to strengthen links to diverse publics. Public media governed by policies that continue and extend, rather than depart from, these best practices will likely be the most successful in maintaining their civic mission online.
In posing the question ‘How much democracy does journalism need?’, much depends on the definition of journalism. This article suggests that journalism should be viewed not in terms of media systems but instead using journalism practice as the main frame of reference, as this allows for an appreciation of journalism beyond the confines of western democratic countries. The analysis of historical and current examples shows that journalism offering accurate and verified information resting on independent news judgement also happens in places that are deemed semi- or non-democratic. This article argues that it is not the political form of democracy that is essential to journalism but the freedom of expression and relative journalistic autonomy afforded to media workers. Democracies, as compellingly shown in recent years, may offer the legal framework for freedom of speech but they do not offer protection for journalistic services which have to be largely financed privately. The dependency on media owners is no less in many democratic nations than it is in non-democratic countries. Most importantly, journalism needs supporters who see value in independent information provision and credible news judgement.
What are the ideal roles the mass media should play as an institution to strengthen democratic governance and thus bolster human development? Under what conditions do media systems succeed or fail to meet these objectives? And what strategic reforms would close the gap between the democratic promise and performance of media systems?Working within the notion of the democratic public sphere, 'Public Sentinel: News Media and Governance Reform' emphasizes the institutional or collective roles of the news media as watchdogs over the powerful, as agenda setters calling attention to social needs in natural and human-caused disasters and humanitarian crises, and as gatekeepers incorporating a diverse and balanced range of political perspectives and social actors. Each is vital to making democratic governance work in an effective, transparent, inclusive, and accountable manner. The capacity of media systems―and thus individual reporters embedded within those institutions―to fulfill these roles is constrained by the broader context of the journalistic profession, the market, and ultimately the state.Successive chapters apply these arguments to countries and regions worldwide. This study brought together a wide range of international experts under the auspices of the Communication for Governance and Accountability Program (CommGAP) at the World Bank and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.The book is designed for policy makers and media professionals working within the international development community, national governments, and grassroots organizations, and for journalists, democratic activists, and scholars engaged in understanding mass communications, democratic governance, and development.
The starting premise of this article is that democratic journalism, no matter its specifics, is not viable as long as states are unable to perform key functions that cannot be delegated to other actors. For journalism, an intrusive state is as problematic as a tenuous, chaotic, and absent state. This point has not been sufficiently recognized and investigated in the literature on the current expansion and consolidation of a democratic press worldwide. “Statelessness,” a condition particularly affecting large swaths of the global South, deters the prospects for the affirmation of journalism that anchors democratic life. State absence facilitates anti-press violence, undermines the economic basis for news organizations, and weakens the rule of law. It remains unclear whether the press, an institution that has historically played key roles in building and renovating national identities and mediating civic engagement, can also make significant contributions to strengthening effective and democratic states. The article concludes by suggesting ways in which the press supports state-building processes. It is argued that although journalism as civic institution alone cannot address entrenched problems of violence, security, and lawlessness, it contributes to state-building through monitoring state actions, raising attention to problems, and identifying effective accountability mechanisms.
The literature discussing the impact of media and journalism upon democracy, typically criticizes both media and journalism for their content and their negative effects on some aspects of democracy. In turn, this raises the question of identifying news standards by which the quality of news journalism might be evaluated. But neither the proposed news standards nor the criticism levelled against them specify with sufficient clarity the model of democracy to be used as a normative departure. This article argues that the question of proper news standards cannot be addressed in isolation from the question of different normative models of democracy. In order to discover news standards by which the quality of news journalism can or should be evaluated, it analyzes four normative models of democracy and their demands upon citizens: procedural democracy, competetive democracy, participatory democracy and deliberative democracy. Building upon that analysis, the article asks: What normative implications for media and news journalism follow from the distinctive perspectives of procedural, competitive, participatory and deliberative democracy?
"The paper offers an analysis of media assistance, as a specific form of foreign aid, that Poland offers to strengthen media development in Belarus and Ukraine. It shows if Poland tailors media assistance according to the local context and existing challenges for democratic changes of recipient countries’ media systems. The study builds on the literature concerning the media, development and democratization, in particular looking at media assistance as both democratic aid and public diplomacy. It reveals that Poland’s approaches to media development in Belarus and Ukraine do differ: Poland mainly provides autocratic Belarus with technical support for media established outside of that country, while clearly focusing on media capacity development in democratizing Ukraine. The findings show that Polish media assistance, however, is unlikely to boost media freedom in Belarus as is usually expected as an outcome of democratic aid and is underfinanced in the case of Ukraine." (abstract)