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Mass Media

Working papers

Written by John Farrington

The mass media (radio, television, newspapers and magazines) are fundamental to development. They enable people to learn about issues and make their voices heard. They can exert a powerful influence, for good or for ill. Free, independent media are important to ensure freedom of speech (guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), promote democracy, good governance, peace and human rights, combat poverty and crime, inform people about issues and enable them to participate in public debate. Media are vital to ensure the public is involved in defining development strategies, and to attain widespread support for those strategies. There are considerable differences in media among regions and countries, and between cities and rural areas. Community radio and privately owned press and TV have had a longer tradition in Latin America than in Asia and Africa. Rural areas receive less coverage than cities (reporting, broadcast coverage and print circulation).

Edited by John Farrington