Aid Agencies Should Support Journalists To Increase Their Ability To Make A Difference In Developing Countries

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Prue Clarke, an Africa correspondent, media development specialist and the co-founder and executive director of New Narratives — Africans Reporting Africa, writes, “By not supporting journalists, aid agencies are severely limiting their access to the truth about what is happening in developing countries and, therefore, their ability to make a difference.” She continues, “In our efforts to promote our reporters’ work and fund our operations, we repeatedly meet fantastic aid groups that are driven to improve the lives of poor people in Africa, particularly women,” adding, “They fund every manner of effort to, for example, end violence against women, improve maternal health, increase the number of girls in education and prevent exploitation by foreign resources companies.”

“But time and time again we are told: ‘We do not fund media,'” Clarke writes. She continues, “By bringing (mostly) truthful information to the public, the media helps to keep leaders accountable. It spreads information and ideas that people can use to improve their lives.” She concludes, “Aid agencies should support media in their jobs; include smart media strategies as part of their work; fund good journalism; not take journalists out of positions where they are making a difference; and start a national conversation that will open eyes and change destructive attitudes” (6/7).