America promotes press freedom – but will USAID too?

On the 17th May US President Barack Obama signed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, forcing the US State Department to highlight press freedom in its annual review of countries’ human right rights.

But, as Shanti Kalathil over at the World Bank notes, this wont have much impact on efforts to promote independent media.

Until donors build a media or communications strategy (one that is about using communications to support the development objectives, not telling taxpayers how well their money is being spent) into every country development strategy, and diplomats are specifically tasked to lobby for media freedom, legislation such as the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act will be rhetoric. Welcome, and important rhetoric, but rhetoric nonetheless.

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