4 captures
26 Jan 2009 - 31 Jan 2011
About this capture
More about our governance and human rights projects
If a country isn't governed effectively, it is difficult to reduce poverty, improve health and uphold human rights. While the media cannot create good governance in isolation, in partnership it can play a vital role in building effective societies by improving:

  • Transparency: freedom of information and clarity and openness in decision-making
  • Participation: freedom of association, ability to voice views and participate in the electoral process
  • Accountability: power to question public authorities
The media can also play an important role in promoting:
  • Stability: conflict resolution, peace building, social cohesion; democratic transfers of power
  • Fairness: rule of law, equal rights and treatment for all
  • Human rights: respect for civil, political, social and economic rights
  • Government effectiveness: freedom from corruption, use of resources in the public interest
The media can help keep citizens informed about official decisions that affect their lives, including government policies, electoral processes, legislation, and the delivery of public services.
The media can also provide people at all levels of society with a platform for discussing and debating how they're governed, and for questioning government decisions and actions.
This process exposes governments to public scrutiny, which helps reduce corruption and hold officials to account. It also encourages wider participation in elections and public life.
Different types of states may require different approaches to governance and human rights
The BBC World Service Trust uses a 'governance continuum' to categorise the types of intervention that may be appropriate in different contexts, including states in conflict and states that are transitional or stable. It views audience participation as critical to all governance and human rights work.
Closed states
In closed states, such as Burma, Zimbabwe or Iran, engaging in overt governance programming may be too sensitive. Instead, governance messaging can be integrated into programming focusing on softer issues like health and education, by exploring topics such as the delivery of health or education services. Drama can be a useful format for exploring issues too sensitive for discussion in factual formats.
States in conflict, or dealing with emergencies
In conflict and emergency states, media work focuses primarily on providing lifeline programming (such as our Darfur Lifeline programmes in Sudan) designed to help audiences survive; however where possible conflict resolution and peace-building messaging can be integrated into this programming.
States in transition
In states in transition, it may be appropriate to support long-term, large scale initiatives focusing on media reconstruction and capacity building, transitional justice, increasing dialogue and debate, and election support.
Stable states
As states become more stable, the focus shifts to facilitating demand-side governance, through public service broadcasting support, media policy advice, budget monitoring programming, and support to dialogue and debate.
Although interventions will differ markedly according to whether states are closed, in conflict, transitional or stable, media has important effects in almost all states.
Examples of our work
In Afghanistan we have been working in partnership with Deutsche Welle, Canal France Internationale and Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) to build a culture of accountable, independent public service programming since 2002, when the interim Afghan government first signed up to the transformation of the state-run broadcaster. More
In Bangladesh, we are working in partnership with the BBC Bangla Service and television stations in Bangladesh to produce ground-breaking political debate programmes that allow people to question and interact with decision-makers. More
In Iraq, we are working in partnership with Albany Associates, IREX Europe, Iraqi journalists, government officials and civil society organisations to improve the environment in which the media work, and the output they produce. More
InNepal, we are working with a wide range of partners to produce weekly radio drama and discussion programmes to support the peace process, and the development of a new constitution in Nepal. More
In Nigeria, we are working in partnership with Nigerian NGO, Integrity, to train journalists to better report on how their government spends public money, and to mobilise public opinion around government accountability. More
In Sierra Leone, we are working in partnership with Sierra Leonean broadcasters and international and national NGOs to tackle poor access to information, widespread rumours and misinformation, and the marginalisation of women and young people in the 2007 and 2008 national and local elections. More
We are working in Burundi, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda to strengthen the African media's ability to raise public awareness, understanding and debate about the mechanisms of 'transitional justice'. This includes the activities of international tribunals, the International Criminal Court and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. More
Related links
Governance & human rights
HomeWhat we doIssues
Copyright Terms & ConditionsRegistered Charity no. 1076235
What We DoIssuesHealthEmergency ResponseGovernance & Human RightsEnvironmentEducationLivelihoodsWhere we workHow we workWhy media mattersHelp support our work
HomeContact usFAQsText only
About usWhat we doNews & resourcesResearch & impactSupport us