Communication rights help understanding of power structures

By Terry Mutuku on October 11, 2012

Nowadays few would dispute that access to information is crucial in people’s and communities’ struggles to improve and change their living conditions. While this recognition is widespread it is frequently the case that the information needed is presented in ways that are not clear enough for everybody to comprehend and use.

In a presentation by WACC titled “Towards a new information and communication architecture?”, during a conference on the Global Ecumenical Conference on a New International Financial and Economic Architecture which took place recently in Guarulhos, Brazil, Dr Stephen Brown, WACC Director and Vice-President of WACC-Europe, argued that, “This is not just a question of critical analysis, but also of how information and communication technologies can serve as an alternative neural network that affirms justice and challenge injustice.”

Dr Brown was speaking to the need for information and communication systems that can be used to facilitate and share knowledge and understandings about societies’ power structures and decision making.

This is precisely what IBON’s project Building Capacities of Civil Society Organisations to Engage in Development Issues through Communication Materials was aimed at.

IBON Foundation,(http://ibonitnernational.org), a WACC partner in the Philippines, received support from WACC to produce and disseminate a primer on the G20’s Development Agenda for civil society organisations (CSO) representing or working for the poor and marginalised in the Global South.

Entitled Primer on G20: Global Economic Governance for Whom? The primer not only promotes the concept of development communication but also upholds the idea that people, as the primary beneficiaries, can only become the driving force of development if they are properly informed of the short-term and the long-term consequences of the G20 development agenda. The primer is available in six languages: English French, Spanish, Hindi, Marathi and Bahasa. The English, French and Spanish versions can be downloaded  now from IBON’s website while the other languages will soon be available for downloading.

The primer is based on a discussion paper which offered an introduction to the G20 – its origins and evolution, its role and impact on the world economy and world affairs as well as its implications for the rest of the world, especially developing countries many of which are excluded from the G20’s internal process.

The working paper was uploaded to IBON’s website and was circulated by civil society networks working on development issues relevant to the agenda of the G20. Comments received were then processed and fed into the primer which was then distributed by IBON’s partner organizations and platforms in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The primer is expected to help catalyse discussions towards common civil society demands and positions vis-à-vis the G20 agenda and encourage more civil society groups to engage governments and the G20 itself to promote development policies that will address poverty.

In its final report IBON indicates that “while it is too early to judge the impact of the primer….we do expect that this will help catalyze discussions towards common civil society demands and positions vis-à-vis the G20 agenda and encourage more civil society groups to critically engage governments and the G20 itself to promote development policies that will address the structural roots of poverty, inequity and injustice.”

IBON International is a non-profit organization, established in 1978 which has since then developed into a multi-centre multi-programme capacity-building and international development institution that provides research, education, publications, information, and advocacy support to the marginalized and the poor of the South.

For further information on the project, contact http://Iboninternational.org or pquintos@ibon.org


October 11, 2012
Categories:  Communication Rights

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