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- See also Communication for social change
Development communication refers to the use of communication to facilitate social development. Development communication engages stakeholders and policy makers, establishes conducive environments, assesses risks and opportunities and promotes information exchanges to bring about positive social change via sustainable development. Development communication techniques include information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change and community participation.
Development communication has been labeled the "Fifth Theory of the Press," with "social transformation and development," and "the fulfillment of basic needs" as its primary purposes. Jamias articulated the philosophy of development communication which is anchored on three main ideas, namely: purposive, value-laden and pragmatic. Nora C. Quebral expanded the definition, calling it "the art and science of human communication applied to the speedy transformation of a country and the mass of its people from poverty to a dynamic state of economic growth that makes possible greater social equality and the larger fulfilment of the human potential." Melcote and Steeves saw it as "emancipation communication", aimed at combating injustice and oppression. The term "development communication" is sometimes used to refer to a type of marketing and public opinion research, but that is not the topic of this article.
- 1 Definition
- 2 Conceptual Limits of Development Communications Theory
- 3 Policy
- 4 International communication
- 5 History
- 6 Academic schools
- 7 Examples
- 8 Policy
- 9 Risk communication
- 10 Development Communication Policy Science
- 10.1 Policy Sciences
- 10.2 Communication Policy Science
- 10.3 Development Communication Policy Science and Gender
- 10.4 Development Communication Policy Science and Demography
- 10.5 Selected Approaches to Communication Planning for Policy Development
- 10.6 Methods in Communication Policy Analysis
- 10.7 Applications of policy sciences to context-specific developmental policy issues
- 10.8 Information Overload and the Wastage Ratio
- 10.9 The Gap Between Researchers and Policy Makers
- 10.10 Development Communication and Policy Sciences
- 10.11 Development Communication in the Information Age
- 10.12 Development Communication and Gender Equality
- 11 Development Communication and Culture
- 12 Development Communication and the Policy Sciences Work Together Towards Social Change
- 13 On Risk and Disaster Communication Amongst the Youths
- 14 On Urban Farming in Cities and Countries
- 15 On Communication for Development (C4D) and e-Agriculture
- 16 On Women’s Roles on Development Through Advancing Policies
- 17 Development Communication and Agenda Setting
- 18 See also
- 19 References
- 20 Further reading
- 21 External links
Nora Cruz-Quebral, Ph.D., in the lecture she delivered for an Honorary Doctorate at the London School of Economics, University of London in December 2011, clearly accounted that development communication was first articulated on December 10, 1971 at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB). At that time, the UPLB College of Agriculture held a symposium (in honor of Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali, a national scientist in the area of plant breeding) titled, "In Search of Breakthroughs in Agricultural Development"
A recent and more encompassing definition of development communication states that it is:
...the art and science of human communication linked to a society's planned transformation from a state of poverty to one dynamic socio-economic growth that makes for greater equality and the larger unfolding of individual potentials.
Erskine Childers defined it as:
Development support communications is a discipline in development planning and implementation in which more adequate account is taken of human behavioural factors in the design of development projects and their objectives.
According to the World Bank, development communication is the "integration of strategic communication in development projects" based on a clear understanding of indigenous realities.
In addition, the UNICEF views it as:
"...a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge using a range of communication tools and approaches that empower individuals and communities to take actions to improve their lives." The Thusong government center described it as "providing communities with information they can use in bettering their lives, which aims at making public programmes and policies real, meaningful and sustainable"
Bessette (2006) defined development communication as a "planned and systematic application of communication resources, channels, approaches and strategies to support the goals of socio–economic, political and cultural development".:42 Development communication is essentially participatory, because, according to Ascroft and Masilela (1994) "participation translates into individuals being active in development programmes and processes; they contribute ideas, take initiative and articulate their needs and their problems, while asserting their autonomy."
Who are development communicators? What qualities do they possess? Nora C. Quebral gave a succinct characterization:
1. They understand the process of development, the process of communication, and the environment in which the two processes interact.
2. They are knowledgeable in communication skills and techniques as well as proficient in subject matter to be communicated.
3. They have internalized the values inherent in equity and the unfolding of individual potential.
4. They have firsthand knowledge of the several kinds of end-users of development communication.
5. They have a sense of commitment, the acceptance of individual responsibility for advancing human development.
Conceptual Limits of Development Communications Theory
According to Felstehausen (1973), conventional theoretical assumptions are drawn from development communications research and are challenged on the grounds that as theoretical concepts they are inadequate guides to the selection of data and the resolution of development problems. The first conceptual fallacy results from the regular practice of choosing operational examples and analogies from the experiences of developed rather than underdeveloped countries. This is especially evident in terms of a bias favoring technology (especially U.S. technology) as a correlate to communication phenomena and as a solution to development problems. The second fallacy results from the use of inappropriate and frequently untested theoretical models within communication research causing a distorted view of the role of communication in relation to social and behavioral systems. The first issue is argued by presenting a review of empirical studies which show that communication processes and the adoption of new technology does not go on apart from the factors which define the behavior of the social, economic and political system. Correlational analyses are of little value in explaining communication processes, or in establishing their role in relation to development. The second issue is addressed by suggesting that communication be viewed as part of a social interaction theory in which communication is treated as a process which unveils and transforms reality in the exchange of information among persons. Communication can be defined as a process of accumulating and integrating intelligence. This reformulation shifts the research focus from questions of how communication functions to change persons (senders or receivers), to how it functions to change and transform ideas. Concepts, ideas, interests and positions can then be used as the primary units of analysis.
Development communication policy covers formal and informal processes where interests are defined, expressed and negotiated by actors with different levels of power and with the goal of influencing policy decisions.
Alexander G. Flor, Ph.D., a noted development communicator and professor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), posits that development communication and the policy sciences are linked inextricably albeit distinct and mutually exclusive disciplines. "Policy sciences," he states in a nutshell, is the scientific study of policies and policy making while "policy" is the set of decisions with specific objectives and target audience.
International communication, the intellectual field that deals with issues of mass communication at a global level, is sometimes also called development communication. This field includes the history of the telegraph, submarine communication cables, shortwave or international broadcasting, satellite television, and global flows of mass media. Today it includes issues of the Internet in a global perspective and the use of new technologies such as mobile phones.
The practice of development communication began in the 1940s, but widespread application came about after World War II. The advent of communication sciences in the 1950s included recognition of the field as an academic discipline, led by Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers. Both Childers and Quebral stressed that DC includes all means of communication, ranging from mass media to person to person.
According to Quebral (1975), the most important feature of Philippines-style development communications is that the government is the "chief designer and administrator of the master (development) plan wherein, development communication, in this system then is purposive, persuasive, goal-directed, audience-oriented, and interventionist by nature."
Various schools of development communication arose in response to challenges and opportunities in individual countries. Manyozo (2006) broke the field into six schools. The "Bretton Woods" school was originally dominant in international literature. The others were the Latin American, Indian, African, Los Baños and participatory schools.
While not per se an academic school, the Church has been conducting "development communication" for many decades. The Catholic Church’s social teachings and moral norms parallel those of social development. Rerum novarum (On the New Things), for example, an encyclical written in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII critiqued social ills and promoted "the Catholic doctrine on work, the right to property, the principle of collaboration instead of class struggle as the fundamental means for social change, the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligations of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity, on the right to form professional associations"In 1961, Pope John XXIII, writing on the topic "Christianity and Social Progress," produced an encyclical entitledMater et magistra (Mother and Teacher), which taught that the "Church is called in truth, justice and love to cooperate in building with all men and women an authentic communion. In this way economic growth will not be limited to satisfying men's needs, but it will also promote their dignity". Then in 1967, Pope Paul VI published Populorum Progressio(Progressive Development). In it the Pope underscored the importance of justice, peace and development by declaring that "development is the new name of peace." Addressing development workers, he said, "genuine progress does not consist in wealth sought for personal comfort or for its own sake; rather it consists in an economic order designed for the welfare of the human person, where the daily bread that each man receives reflects the glow of brotherly love and the helping hand of God".
Pope John VI wrote that the Church's very nature was missionary (Lumen gentium – Light of the Nations), and its deepest identity (Evangelii nuntiandi- Sharing the Gospel) embracing the entire life of the Church (Redemptoris missio – Mission of the Redeemer). The content communicated through mission is transformative and liberating—manifested in the message to the poor, setting the captives free, giving sight to the blind (Luke 4:18), defending the interest of ordinary laborers and the value of work (Laborem exercens – Through Work), promoting the welfare of the widows and the orphans and protecting the rights of children and infants (Pacem in terris – Peace on Earth).
The importance of engagement for social transformation and development is also asserted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that "as far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life; the manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another… as with any ethical obligation, the participation of all in realizing the common good calls for a continually renewed conversion of the social partners (pp. 1915–1916). Moreover, Gaudium et spes (Joy and Hope), commonly referred to as the Magna Carta of the Catholic Church’s teaching on human dignity states, "to satisfy the demands of justice and equity, strenuous efforts must be made, without disregarding the rights of persons or the natural qualities of each country, to remove as quickly as possible the immense economic inequalities which now exist and in many cases are growing and which are connected with individual and social discrimination".
The involvement of many organizations and individual members of the Catholic Church in highlighting the plight of the needy and reaching out to the disadvantaged through works in education, health, livelihood projects, among others, serves as a concrete example of a Church that communicates a transformative and life-changing message.
The Church advocates “establishing new relationships in human society, under the mastery and guidance of truth, justice, charity and freedom—relations between individual citizens, between citizens and their respective States, between States, and finally between individuals, families, intermediate associations and States on the one hand, and the world community on the other.” Pope John Paul II, touching in part on Quebral’s (2007) thought on ‘development communication in a borderless world’, instructed Christian communicators to “interpret modern cultural needs, committing themselves to approaching the communications age not as a time of alienation and confusion, but as a valuable time for the quest for the truth and for developing communion between persons and peoples."
The Bretton Woods school of development communication paralleled the economic strategies outlined in the Marshall Plan, the Bretton Woods system and of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 1944. The little-used name served to differentiate the original paradigm from other schools that evolved later. Leading theorists included Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers. Due to his pioneering influence, Rogers was termed the "father of development communication".
This approach to development communication was criticized by Latin American researchers such as Luis Ramiro Beltan and Alfonso Gumucio Dagron, because it emphasized problems in the developing nation rather than its unequal relation with developed countries. They claimed that it proposed industrial capitalism as a universal solution and that many projects failed to address obstacles such as lack of access to land, agricultural credits and fair market prices.
Failed projects in the 1960s led to revisions.[clarification needed] Manyozo found that the school had been the most dynamic in testing and adopting new approaches and methodologies. (Manyozo, 2006) 
Institutions associated with the Bretton Woods school of development communication include:
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- Rockefeller Foundation
- Department for International Development, United Kingdom
- Ford Foundation
The Latin American school of development communication predates the Bretton Woods school, emerging in the 1940s with the efforts of Colombia's Radio Sutatenza and Bolivia's Radios Mineras. They pioneered participatory and educational approaches to empowering the marginalised. In effect, they served as the earliest models for participatory broadcasting efforts around the world.
In the 1990s, technological advances facilitated social change and development: new media outlets emerged, cable TV reached more regions and the growth of local communication firms paralleled the growth of major media corporations.
Organized development communication in India began with rural radio broadcasts in the 1940s. Broadcasts adopted indigenous languages to reach larger audiences.
Organized efforts in India started with community development projects in the 1950s. The government, guided by socialist ideals and politicians, started many development programs. Field publicity was employed for person-to-person communication. Radio played an important role in reaching the masses because literacy was low. Educational institutions – especially agricultural universities, through their extension networks – and international organizations under the United Nations umbrella experimented with development communication.
Communication from the government was more generic and unidirectional. So-called Public Information Campaigns were government-sponsored public fairs in remote areas that presented entertainment along with information on social and developmental schemes. Villagers engaged in competitions to attract attendees. Public and private organizations sponsored stalls in the main exhibition area. Development agencies and service/goods providers also attended. Some state governments employed this model.
Community radio was used in rural India. NGOs and educational institutions created local stations to broadcast information, advisories and messages on development. Local participation was encouraged. Community radio provided a platform for villagers to publicize local issues, offering the potential to elicit action from local officials.
The widespread adoption of mobile telephony in India created new channels for reaching the masses.
The African school of development communication sprang from the continent's post-colonial and communist movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anglophone Africa employed radio and theatre for community education, adult literacy, health and agricultural education (Kamlongera, 1983, Mlama, 1971).
In 1994 the FAO project "Communication for Development in Southern Africa" was a pioneer in supporting and enhancing development projects and programs through the use of participatory communication. The FAO project, placed under SADC, developed an innovative methodology known as Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal (PRCA), which combined participatory tools and techniques with a strong communication focus needed to enhance projects results and sustainability. FAO and SADC published a handbook on PRCA that was used in projects around the world.
Radio maintained a strong presence in research and practice into the 21st century. Radio was especially important in rural areas, as the work of the non-governmental organization Farm Radio International and its members across sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated. Knowledge exchange between development partners such as agricultural scientists and farmers were mediated through rural radio (Hambly Odame, 2003).
Systematic study and practice began at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in the 1970s, through the establishment of the Department of Development Communication in the College of Agriculture, which offered undergraduate and master's degrees.
Quebral coined the term "development communication" while at the university's Office of Extension and Publications, now the College of Development Communication (CDC). According to Felix Librero, the term was first used by Quebral in her 1971 paper, "Development Communication in the Agricultural Context," presented in at a symposium at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. In her paper, Quebral argued that development communication had become a science, requiring the tasks associated with communicating development oriented issues be based on scientific inquiry. At the time the field was limited to agricultural and rural development.
At the time the term 'development support communication' was used in UNDP programmes under Erskine Childers, with coauthor and wife, Malicca Vajrathron. This area of research focused on the functions of communication in promoting UN agricultural and development programmes. Development communication at Los Baños became an academic field rather than a techniques program. Quebral cited Seers's definition of development in arguing for the term, as opposed to Childer’s 'development support communication', which was used in public and in scientific literature for the first time. Librero recounted that colleagues in agricultural communications in Los Baños agreed with Quebral, but colleagues from the field of mass communication in the University of the Philippines Diliman, and from countries in North America, did not initially agree, although they ultimately relented.
In 1993, in the Institute of Development Communication's faculty papers series, Alexander Flor proposed expanding the definition of development communication to include the perspective of cybernetics and general systems theory:
If information counters entropy and societal breakdown is a type of entropy, then there must be a specific type of information that counters societal entropy. The exchange of such information – be it at the individual, group, or societal level – is called development communication.
In Thailand, development communication is presently overseen by Kasetsart University through its International Center for Development Communication (ICDC). The Center’s vision is to be a leading center of excellence in development training, communication and consultancy services. As an extension arm of Kasetsart University its international service mission includes building and maintaining quality services to support organizations in their efforts for sustainable development in social and economic sectors.
Participatory development communication
The evolution of the participatory development communication school involved collaboration between First World and Third World development communication organizations. It focused on community involvement in development efforts and was influenced by Freirean critical pedagogy and the Los Baños school (Besette, 2004).
The World Bank actively promotes this field through its Development Communication division and published the Development Communication Sourcebook in 2008, a resource addressing the history, concepts and practical applications of this discipline.
Development Communication or Communication for Development
World Bank tends to espouse and promote the title Development Communication while UNICEF takes on Communication Development. The difference seems to be a matter of semantics and not ideology since the end goals of these global organizations are almost identical each other.
UNICEF explains: Communication for Development (C4D) goes beyond providing information. It involves understanding people, their beliefs and values, the social and cultural norms that shape their lives. It includes engaging communities and listening to adults and children as they identify problems, propose solutions and act upon them. Communication for development is seen as a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge using a range of communication tools and approaches that empower individuals and communities to take actions to improve their lives.
World Bank defines Development Communication as an interdisciplinary field, is based on empirical research that helps to build consensus while it facilitates the sharing of knowledge to achieve a positive change in the development initiative. It is not only about effective dissemination of information but also about using empirical research and two-way communications among stakeholders (Development Communication division, the World Bank)
- One of the first examples of development communication was Farm Radio Forums in Canada. From 1941 to 1965 farmers met weekly to listen to radio programs, supplemented by printed materials and prepared questions to encourage discussion. At first this was a response to the Great Depression and the need for increased food production in World War II. Later the Forums dealt with social and economic issues. This model of adult education or distance education was later adopted in India and Ghana.
- Radyo DZLB was the community broadcasting station of UPLB College of Development Communication. It was a forerunner of the school-on-air (SOA) concept that provided informal education for farmers. DZLB hosted SOAs on nutrition, pest management and cooperatives. DZLB aired educational programming for farmers and cooperatives.
- Established in 2009, Global South Development Magazine has been a recent example of development communication in practice.
- Instructional television was used in El Salvador during the 1970s to improve primary education. One problem was a lack of trained teachers. Teaching materials were improved to make them more relevant. More children attended school and graduation rates increased.
- In the 1970s in Korea the Planned Parenthood Federation succeed in lowering birth rates and improving life in villages such as Oryu Li. It mainly used interpersonal communication in women's clubs. Oryu Li's success did not recur in all villages. The initial effort had the advantage of a remarkable local leader and visits from the provincial governor.
- A social marketing project in Bolivia in the 1980s tried to get women in the Cochabamba Valley to use soybeans in their cooking. This was an attempt to deal with chronic malnourishment among children. The project used cooking demonstrations, posters and broadcasts on local commercial radio stations. Some people tried soybeans but the outcome of the project was unclear.
- In 1999 the US and DC Comics planned to distribute 600,000 comic books to children affected by the Kosovo War. The books were in Albanian and featured Superman and Wonder Woman. The aim was to teach children what to do when they find an unexploded land mine left over from Kosovo's civil war. The comic books instruct children not to touch and not to move, but instead to call an adult for help.
- Since 2002, Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian NGO, has operated projects in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. JHR works directly with journalists, providing monthly workshops, student sessions, on the job training and additional programs on a country by country basis.
Development communication is intended to build consensus and facilitate knowledge sharing to achieve positive change in development initiatives. It disseminates information and employs empirical research, two-way communication and dialogue among stakeholders. It is a management tool to help assess socio-political risks and opportunities. By using communication to bridge differences and take action towards change, development communication can lead to successful and sustainable results.
Development communication is a response to historic, social and economic factors that limit access to information and citizen participation. These include poverty and unemployment, limited access to basic services, remote settlement patterns, lack of access to technology, lack of information, inadequate health services, lack of education and skills and lack of infrastructure.
FAO asserted that communication can play a decisive role in promoting human development. Democracy, decentralization and the market economy empower individuals and communities to control their own destinies. Stimulating awareness, participation, and capabilities is vital. Policies must encourage effective planning and implementation of communication programs.
Lee advocated that communication policies and practices require joint action among leaders in social, economic, scientific, educational and foreign affairs and that success requires constant contact and consultation with communicators and citizens.
UNESCO conducted studies on communication policies as part of the resolutions adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO during its 16th session in 1970. Its objective was to promote awareness of communication policies at the governmental, institutional and professional levels of selected member states. The selected countries were Ireland, Sweden, Hungary, Yugoslavia, West Germany, and Brazil. Two years later, a UNESCO meeting of experts on communication policies and planning defined communication policy as a set of norms established to guide the behavior of communication media. According to these experts, the scope of communication policies comprises:
- The values that determine the structure of communication systems and guide their operation
- The systems of communication, their structures, and operation
- The output of these systems and their impact and social functions
The Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) was commissioned by UNESCO to do a feasibility study on "Training in Communication Planning in Asia" in 1974. It organized the first AMIC Regional Conference on Development Communication Policies and Planning in Manila, Philippines in May 1977. Attended by delegates from ten countries, it drew up basic recommendations including the organization of national development communication councils by each country's governmental, educational and media groups.
According to Habermann and De Fontgalland, the difficulties in the adoption of a viable development communication policy have to be simultaneously analyzed horizontally and vertically. Horizontally government agencies, semi-governmental offices (e.g., rural extension service), independent development organizations and private media outlets must coordinate policy. Vertically, information must flow in both directions between the population base and decision-making bodies. This involves local and supra-local administrations that are active in handing out directives and reporting back to the government. Commonly, default policies do not encourage/require such institutions to feed information from the populace to policymakers, with the exception of government extension bureaus.
In 1986 Quebral stressed the importance of equally recognizing systematic practice along with formal research as a legitimate basis for decisions. According to her, research must precede and become the foundation of policy.
The design and implementation of policies is becoming more complex, and the number and type of actors involved in policy implementation more diverse; hence, the policy process is evolving towards multi-actor and multi-goal situations. "Stakeholder" has been variously defined according to the goal of the analysis, the analytic approach or the policy area. Where several groups of stakeholders are involved in the policy process, a stakeholder analysis can provide a useful resource.
Stakeholder analysis can help analyze the behavior, intentions, interrelations, agendas, interests and the resources of stakeholders in the policy processes. Crosby described stakeholder analysis as offering methods and approaches to analyze the interests and roles of key players. Hannan and Freeman include groups or individual who can affect or be affected by the achievement of the organization's objectives, while others exclude those who cannot influence the outcome. For instance, Brugha and Varvasovszky defined stakeholder as "individuals, groups, and organizations who have an interest (stake) and the potential to influence the actions and aims of an organization, project, or policy direction." According to Flor, a stakeholder analysis of communication policy would reveal the interplay of the following sectors:
- Government – Enacts all communication policies, making it the most powerful stakeholder.
- Education sector – Conducts research that underlies subsequent policies.
- Communication industry – Influences communication policies. May adopt self-regulation to avoid/delay government regulation. For example, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas and the Philippine Press Institute institute ethics codes.
- Private sector – Avoid policies that limit content and to protect themselves from opponents.
- Religious sector – Traditionally opposes policies that allow obscenity, violence and profanity to be distributed.
- Foreign interests – e.g., international lending agencies may demand the end of monopolies—including state media entities—as a condition for financial aid.
- Consumers – Traditionally not consulted, but more recently claiming to protect the public interest.
The United Nations has recognised the importance of "the need to support two-way communication systems that enable dialogue and that allow communities to express their aspirations and concerns and participate in decisions...." Such two-way interactions can help expose local reality. Keune and Sinha claim that community involvement in development communication policy is important, as they are the "ultimate and perhaps the most important beneficiaries of development communication policies and planning".
Cuilenburg and McQuail (2003) identify three main phases of communications policy-making:
- Emerging Communications Industry Policy (until the Second World War)—during this era, communications policy mainly supported state and corporate benefits. Policy covered telegraph, telephony and wireless and later, cinema. Policies were ad hoc measures designed to facilitate a series of technical innovations.
- Public Service Media Policy (1945–1980)—After the Second World War, policy was dominated by sociopolitical rather than economic and national strategic concerns. This phase began after the Second World War. Policy expanded from addressing technical matters to the content of communications and to cover the traditional press.
- New Communications Policy Paradigm (1980 to present)—Technological, economic and social trends fundamentally changed media policy from 1980 onward. Technological convergence became an agenda item when the US Office of Technology Assessment published its pioneering study, Critical Connections (OTA, 1990) followed by the European Union (CEC, 1997). "Convergence" meant that the boundaries between information technologies blurred: computer and telecommunications converged to telematics; personal computers and television become more similar; and formerly separated networks become interconnected. Regulation of mass media became increasingly linked to telecommunications regulation. Globalization and the permeability of national frontiers by multinational media limited the impact of policy in most countries.
Development communication policy as a field experienced persistent conflict. Debates operated within the discourse of each period: autonomous vs. dependent in the 50s;[clarification needed] unequal North-South communication flows in the 60s and 70s; transnational corporations and non-governmental actors in the 80s; the converged global information society and the market-based media structure in the 90s; and online media and the digital divide in the 2000s.
Hamelink and Nordenstreng called for multistakeholder participation in Information and Communications Technology(ICT) governance and for formal and informal policy development mechanisms to enable state and non-state actors to shape the media and communication industries.
Funding agency bias
Manyozo advocated a rethinking of communication for development policies, perceiving a failure by communication policy makers to identify funding institutions that encourage cultural imperialism and unequal power relations between Western and local organizations. He attributed this to the absence in communication policy debates of a political economy discourse. In reviewing the different approaches to communication for development policies –media, participation and community dialogue – Manyozo criticizes groups that emphasizes one over the others.
Risk communication originated in the United States where environmental clean-up efforts were implemented through legislation. The terms ‘risk communications’ and ‘risk management’ were first used by William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the U.S. 'Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was established in the 1970s. Risk communication includes management decision risks, implementation risks and risks related to existing environmental, health, political, or social circumstances. For instance, in the health sector, risk communication addresses pandemics, natural disasters, bioterrorism, resource contamination, etc. Definitions of "risk" include:
- "The identification and analysis, either qualitative or quantitative, of the likelihood of the occurrence of a hazardous event overexposure, and the severity of injury or illness that may be caused by it."—American National Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (ANSI/AIHA Z10 – 2005 ): "
- "...the probability that a substance or situation will produce harm under specified conditions. Risk is a combination of two factors: (1) the probability that an adverse event will occur and (2) the consequences of the adverse event."—The Framework for Environmental Health Risk Management (Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, 1997 ): 
- "...the probability (or likelihood) that a harmful consequence will occur as a result of an action."—The Safety Professionals Handbook (Fields 2008 ):
Risk management was described as:
- The evaluations and decisions that go into coping with risks (Lundgren and McMakin, 2004)
- Planning for a crisis, which should involve the removal of risks and allow an organization, a society, or a system adequate control(Fearn-Banks, 2007) and
- Factors that combat crises with the objective of minimizing damage. (Combs, 1999)
Risk communications involves important information for managing risks, both from authorities to those at risk and vice versa.
Development communication benefits from risk communications when the latter clarifies the risks of development (or lack thereof).
Development Communication Policy Science
Development communication policy science is a thriving and a contemporary field in social sciences. It is the application of the policy sciences to improve policy development, implementation and evaluation in the development communication context. According to Flor (1991), development communication and policy sciences are regarded as distinct and mutually exclusive areas of study but are inextricably linked. He added that development communication and the policy sciences, although different in scope, stem from the same rationale: the need for actively applying knowledge from the principles of social sciences in solving large-scale societal problems under conditions of social change. Separately, development communication is a purposive, pragmatic, and value-laden development intervention while the policy sciences are the scientific study of policies and policy-making for the social good. Both endorse a normative or prescriptive role for the social sciences, work to alleviate societal problems and recognize communication's important function (Ongkiko & Flor, 2006). As an academic discipline, development communication policy science is the study of the use of the art and the science of policy in the development communication context. Development communication’s ultimate goal is to catalyze local development activities, local development planning and implementation, and local communication to smoothen the path to development.It is the science which uses communication to educate, change and motivate people's attitudes and values leading to developmental goals Policy is a term which frames the action rather than simply describing it (Colebatch, 2002). Thus, it labels what we see so that we can make sense of it in a particular way. Understanding policy means understanding the way in which practitioners use it to shape action. It leads us to ask who is involved in what setting, how action is framed and what significance in this process of the idea of authorized purpose, and not simply an outcome. Indeed, the “approach of the policy science is forward-looking and anticipatory.”
The two fields are undoubtedly different. However, Dr. Flor accurately stated that “both stem from the same rationale: the need for actively applying knowledge and principles of the social sciences in solving large-scale societal problems under conditions of social change.” The connection between the two fields will be apparent once the question, ‘what is the policy for?’ is answered. Since policy is the pursuit of goals and the effect they have on the action; and development communication aims to facilitate social change, the two processes are represented as a sequence of stages in the development, beginning with the thought and the intention (policy), moving through action brought about by communication, and ending with the solution (action). To reiterate, unless the policy decision could shape the action, there would be no point in making it.
When policy sciences and development communication have been firmly established in an organization or community, the instruments of policy analysis will provide “unprecedented versatility and effectiveness” (Lasswell, 1969). Specifically, the practice and application of social marketing strategies to influence the stakeholders in making decisions to create not only an individual but also social change.
According to Harold Lasswell (1971), the policy sciences are concerned with the knowledge of and in the decision processes of the public and civic order. Knowledge of decision processes points to the empirical and scientific understanding of how policies are made and executed. Empirical knowledge pertains to those generated through scientific inquiry and observation as applied to decision processes. As such, the notion of the policy sciences is construed in various shades since it was introduced in the 1940s and over the years, Lasswell and his colleagues refined the concept, through practice and peer review, as the intellectual tools needed to support problem-oriented, contextual, and multi-method inquiry in the service of human dignity for all. The policy sciences is a forward-looking body of knowledge, with the plural form emphasizing its interdisciplinary and holistic nature. It recognizes the multiplicity of factors affecting certain problems and multi-dimensions of certain phenomena that are subject to decision processes. As such, the emphasis of policy sciences is on applying scientific or empirical evidences in understanding problems so that more realistic, responsive and effective interventions are identified and implemented. Since a problem is multidimensional, various scientific disciplines are needed to form a comprehensive analysis of a certain phenomenon. The trend toward a policy sciences viewpoint is a move away from fragmentation and the fragmented "worm's eye view" of policy matters.
The policy sciences provide an integrated and comprehensive approach for addressing issues and problems at all levels in ways that help clarify and secure the common interest. Policy sciences are concerned with helping people make better decisions toward fostering human dignity for all. Since we are living in a "turbulent field" environment, policy science is necessary to address issues before it will get bigger. The approach of Policy Sciences, as cited by Flor in his article, is forward-looking or anticipatory. Policy sciences tell us what we need to do and prepare before certain issues or problems occur. Using an allegorical definition, Dror (1971), as cited by Ongkiko and Flor (2006), explains that “one should not leave the problem of crossing a river until the river is reached; rather, one should survey the territory in advance, identify rivers flowing through it, decide whether it is at all necessary to cross the river – and if so, where and how to cross it – then prepare in advance the materials for crossing the river and design a logistic network so that the material is ready when the river is reached.” Furthermore, given its interdisciplinary and holistic nature, policy sciences does consider several variables (education, communication, money, culture) in coming up with a decision. These variables are important factors in coming up with a sound and relevant policy.
In the context of communication policy development, the policy sciences are necessary to make more purposeful, responsive, and effective communication policies. The personalities who significantly play vital roles in this field are the policy scientists and analysts who are involved in the scientific design, formulation, analysis, and evaluation of policies in particular, and are concerned with the study of the policy-making process in general (Flor, 1991). Lasswell and McDougal called on "policy scientists to aid decision makers in clarifying goals, identifying trends relative to goals, analyzing the factors causing or contributing to specific trends, projecting the future, and inventing and evaluating policy proposals—alternative actions that may be taken related to the desired results." To ensure that policy scientists would be adequately equipped for these intellectual tasks, Lasswell and McDougal proposed educational training programs devoted to the knowledge and skills needed for better policy (decision) making: contextual thinking, problem orientation, and mastery of diverse methods.
Communication Policy Science
The atmosphere of participation created by recent administrations has brought about a more significant role for the development communication specialist/ policy scientist. His involvement in communication policy making is facilitated by the so-called institutionalization of people power. His expertise may be directly tapped by the most important stakeholder, the media consumer. The participation of information users and media consumers in policy making may be realized by the formation of a nationwide media consumer’s organization or a federation of local organizations of this nature in which policy analysts play a significant role. This proposed organization could initiate media education in the formal and non-formal modes. Media education at the formal level may be facilitated by lobbying for the inclusion of such in existing secondary and tertiary curricula. Non-formal education may be conducted through media consumer sponsored awareness campaigns. This organization could also conduct its own audience related studies and policy research. It could establish a nationwide network involving the church, academic communities, grassroots organizations and cause-oriented groups. Communication policy scientists may also serve as part of the staff of our legislators in the Congress and Senate. In their private capacities, they can form research and development outfits or "think tanks" whose services may be availed of by government agencies. Indeed, now is a fortuitous time for policy engagement in development communication.
Culture, politics, economics and technology have an impact upon policy decisions. In order to investigate the factors that influence communications policy, one has to go beyond conventional views of media and communication and should combine these with policy studies.
According to experts, communication policy science would be understood if the public just had access to the right scientific information. Coyle, in his article- Theory of Development Communication, articulates that people have options to change their ways of life through communication. People improve their lives and ways of thinking through communication, sharing their perspectives and understanding what is going on in their surroundings. As highlighted by Flor, communication development has something to do with policy science as these are anchored for improving policy making.
As stipulated in Walt Rostow's theory in Boado's article, societies progress through specific stages of development on their way to modernity. Policy makers and scientists can communicate directly with the public through social media and blogging. By using social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, policy makers and scientists can serve as critical mediators in disseminating scientific information by sharing advancements directly with society.
Development Communication Policy Science and Gender
Along with integrating regional, national, and/or organizational perspectives, one specific tool for policymakers is ensuring that gender perspective is incorporated into policies. Regardless whether gender plays a central role in a development communication policy, the policy-making process has to be taken in a deliberate way to address concerns of both women and men. When views of different groups of women and men in policy formation and delivery are taken accordingly, misjudging of the different effects on each group, and the systems and organizations that support them can be avoided.
In a quest to ensure that the overall legal and policy framework is promoting gender equality, more than just adopting laws that explicitly provide for gender equality can be done. Thus it is essential that all laws and policies reflect gender equality considerations, through a process called gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is the mechanism to ensure a gender-sensitive approach to policy making.
Gender mainstreaming, according to the United Nations, is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities – policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects. A strong, continued commitment to gender mainstreaming is one of the most effective means for the United Nations to support promotion of gender equality at all levels – in research, legislation, policy development and in activities on the ground, and to ensure that women as well as men can influence, participate in and benefit from development efforts.
United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF also promotes gender sensitivity in its policies. UNICEF gender review ensures that gender is mainstreamed in all UNICEF’s projects and programs as well as in its work with partners. UNICEF also ensures that the monitoring and evaluation tools are gender sensitive and that every staff is aware of the UN Code of conduct. UNICEF also uses the Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines (HGAD) as a tool to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the development and implementation of projects.
Development Communication Policy Science and Demography
Defined as the statistical study of populations, Demography is seen as more of a general science that can analyze populations that show change over a period of time. However, in combination with the more specific aspect of communication that has to do with social sciences, demographics can be a significant factor and consequently influencer of Development Communication policy design.
Researcher for the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Sebastian Klüsener “investigated how the exchange of ideas and information between people could affect the development of spatial, temporal, and social differences in demographic change. The results highlight that communication plays a much larger role in shaping demographic processes…” In her discussion of the relationship between communicators and their audiences, Natalie T. J. Tindall, an associate professor in the department of communication at Georgia State University, US, shares “Demographic categories can still tell us a lot about our social structure, and continue to be useful for macro-level understandings of people and societies.” It is with this understanding that policies can be designed more tailor-fit to those it is designed for. Furthermore, the criterion by which a demography is performed are relevant factors that may act as a roadmap that can guide development communication policy making. This includes but is not limited to age, level of education, gender distribution profile, individual and household income, etc. With the anticipatory objective of policy sciences in relation to crisis or problem solving, the better policy makers get a grasp of how a population is demographically – not just socially – the more sensitive and pro-active policy making as a process can be. When perspectives of an accurate cross-sectional sampling of a population, group, or culture are taken into consideration, the ensuing policies are better geared towards the pre-set objectives. Scalone, Dribe, and Klusener have further found that “Communication can significantly increase the impact of population-relevant policies and other processes of social change…” which reinforces the idea that as a science in itself, development communication policy design, becomes more accurate and purposeful when the correct information and variables are holistically integrated.
Selected Approaches to Communication Planning for Policy Development
UNESCO or the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is one of the multilateral organizations that uses communication planning for policy development. In one of its publications back in 1980 "Approaches to Communication Planning," where it presents some of the most common approaches that scholars, planners and professionals to use. Below are common approaches to communication planning.
The Process Approach
The Process approach deals directly with the communication planning process which deals to the theories within the planning process that asserts that planning is the application of theory on how and why they are used. (UNESCO, 1980) The second is it deals with the planning process itself that provide alternative ways of organizing the planning function and process, given different purposes and planning contexts. (UNESCO, 1980) The thrust of the argument is that there are alternatives to the widely known rational/comprehensive planning approach. (UNESCO, 1980)
The Process Approach
Communication policy makers are not acting in isolation; they had the full support of scientist and theorists. Communication for Development aims at upholding change in people’s attitudes and behavior so as to increase their participation in the development process. Rogers ‘diffusion of innovations theory is perhaps the most influential theory in the modernization paradigm. The diffusion model gained wide currency in most developing nations and still looms large with the agenda to support ‘development’ by “informing the populations about the development projects, illustrating their advantages and recommending that they be supported” (Servaes, 1996). Communication within the modernization approach is synonymous to information and ignores the importance of feedback in the communication process. Melkote and Steeves (2001) contributed three key qualities of modernization theory and practice: blaming the victim, Social Darwinism, and sustaining class structure of inequality. (1) Blaming the victim is an ideological process, an almost painless circumvention among policy-makers and intellectual all over the world. It is a process of justifying inequality in society by finding defects in the victims of inequality. The policymakers simply blame the despondent lives led by the poor in Third World countries and it is being attributed to the lack of motivation and access to information relating to the various social and economic aspects that they need in order to redeem themselves. (2) Social Darwinists believed that government interventions on behalf of the poor would have disastrous results since they would interfere with the laws of natural selection. The theorist believed that outside interventions to address matters concerning the poor would have dreadful results since these would be interfering with a natural course of events and individual choices and rights. (3) Sustaining class structure of inequality, this is a capitalist interest and quite difficult to overcome. The effect of a focus on individual level cultural deficiencies has been to sustain the status quo within and between unequal societies and thus delay change.
The Systems Approach
The Systems approach in communication planning deals on how to establish new systems within organizations. (UNESCO, 1980) This approach is valuable to planners faced with the task of setting up organizational systems to carry out communication functions. (UNESCO, 1980) This approach can also be best applied to problems in the environment, providing planners with an analytical perspective on problem analysis and a range of techniques to use in implementing this perspective. (UNESCO, 1980)
The Network Approach
Network Approach (Padovani & Pavan, 2014) is a heuristic framework for theorizing and empirically investigating global communication governance (GCG) environments or networks in supranational settings characterized by plurality and multiplicity of agents, actors and stakeholders, plurality and diversity of cultures, complexity of interactions, plurality of political systems, and multiplicity of policy processes. GCG is a term coined by Padovani & Pavan (2014) to “indicate the multiplicity of networks of interdependent but operationally autonomous actors that are involved with different degrees of autonomy and power, in processes of formal or informal character, through which they pursue different goals, produce relevant knowledge and cultural practices, and engage in political negotiation while trying to influence the outcome of decision-making in the domain of media and communication in transnational context.” (p. 544) Network Approach specifically focuses on the transnational dynamics that govern communication systems. (Source: Padovani, C. & Pavan, E. (2014). Actors and Interactions in Global Communication Governance: The Heuristic Potential of Network Approach. In Mansell R. & Raboy, M. (eds). The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. John Wiley & Sons.)
Policy Life Cycle
Government officials and policy makers in both developed and developing countries are often confronted with problems for which they have no design solutions. Every problem, country and culture requires a specific approach and seems to go through policy life cycle. Winsemius proposed four phases of policy cycle; Phase 1: Recognizing the problem; groups in the society such as government official, lobbyists and countries’ leaders recognize the problem, e.g. terrorism, poverty, global warming, and other. The problem is made known to all stakeholders, during this stage the members realized that problem should be tackled through policy. Phase 2: Gaining Control over the Problem; at this point, the government start to advance in their mechanisms through the formulation of policies. Policy oriented research is often appointed to scientific institutions, opinion surveys are piloted, and options for improving and solving the problem are accounted. Phase 3: Solving the Problem; at this stage, policies, programs and projects are implemented. In most cases, the government will manage all the details of a program by itself but the best scenario is when NGOs and other involved groups participate in the initiatives. Phase 4: Monitoring the Problem: At this point the focus is to ensure that the problem is under control and must remain so. This is also the time to think about future policies and to develop public and private partnerships in implementing policies.
Methods in Communication Policy Analysis
Ongkiko and Flor (2006) argue that a development communication specialist (DCS), at one time or another, also assumes the role of a communication policy analyst in Communication Policy Analysis ‘because of his proactive posture and his preoccupation with purpose’ (Flor, 1991). Remember that policy sciences anticipates, and looks forward, thus, substantiates the proactive nature of a DCS. In order to fully act out this role, there is a need for a rudimentary knowledge of methods in policy analysis, particularly those related to development communication. Among these methods are discussed below:
Communication Technology Assessment (CTA)
Communication plays a vital role in project coordination, management, knowledge collection and transfer among different project shareholders (Malone & Crowston, 1994; Espinosa & Carmel, 2003, as cited by Gill, Bunker, & Seltsikas, 2012). CTA is a qualitative method that seeks to determine the higher and lower order impacts of specific forms of communication technology on the individual and society (Flor, 1991) prior to the adoption of new technology (Ongkiko & Flor, 2006). The decision to adopt or not depends on the findings of the assessment. CTA is forward-looking and adopts certain value premises on what is socially beneficial or detrimental to society. Being anticipatory in nature, CTA forecasts, at least on a probabilistic basis, the full spectrum of possible consequences of technological advance, leaving to the political process the actual choice among the alternative policies in the light of the best available knowledge of their likely consequences (Brooks, 1976, as cited by Ely, Zwanenberg, & Stirling, 2010). In this case, it should provide an unbiased analysis and information concerning the physical, biological, economic, social, and political effects of [communication] technologies.
Social Cost-Benefit Analysis
Pathak (n.d.) explains that Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA) is also referred to as Economic Analysis (EA). SCBA or EA is a feasibility study of a project from the viewpoint of a society to evaluate whether a proposed project will add benefit or cost to the society (Ibid.). Ongkiko and Flor (2006) further elaborate that SCBA is a quantitative method which attaches monetary values on social conditions brought by certain communication policies. Flor (1991) explains the monetary value of the social costs is subtracted from the social benefits of a particular program or policy. A positive difference is required for a program or policy to be adjudged as socially beneficial. The purpose of SCBA is to assist public decision-making, not in terms of producing the ideal project but simply by proposing the optimum solution for the community out of the spectrum of possibilities (Dupuis, 1985). Hence, the objective is to determine optimum quantities as a contribution to decision-making or to evaluate the effectiveness of decisions already taken.
The problematique analysis procedure is a naturalistic approach that seeks to discover the influential factors and describe the structure of problems that exist in communication systems (Librero, 1993; Flor, 1991). The basic purpose of this approach, according to Librero (1993), is to identify the problem rather than the solution. In the process, therefore, the evaluator employing problematique analysis identifies the factors that influence the system, shows the hierarchical relationships of these factors and traces the root causes of the problems of the system. Flor (1991) classified these influential factors as either subordinate or superordinate, with the former being merely the symptoms of the latter. The identification of the superordinate influential factors or the root causes, then, prevents the recurrence of the problem situation.
As a policy analysis tool, scenario construction (SC) describes a possible set of future conditions (Moniz, 2006) or hypothetical events that may occur in the future of a particular system (Allen, 1978, as cited by Flor, 1991). It has also been defined as a description of the conditions and events under which some system being studied is assumed to be operating (Kraemer, 1973, as cited by Flor, 1991). Scenarios provide an educated description of one of many possible futures of a system, usually presented at the most optimistic or “best-case” state and the most pessimistic or “worst-case” state. According to Moniz (2006), the most useful scenarios are those that display the conditions of important variables over time. In this approach, the quantitative underpinning enriches the narrative evolution of conditions or evolution of variables; narratives describe the important events and developments that shape the variables. In terms of innovative methods for policy analysis, the foresight and scenario construction methods can be an interesting reference for social sciences (Moniz, 2006). Citing Allen (1978), Flor (1991) enumerates six steps in scenario construction, namely: (1) defining the system; (2) establishing a time period for the system to operate; (3) defining the external constraints on the environment of the system; (4) defining the elements or events within the system that are likely to increase or decrease the chances of the system’s meeting its goals and objectives; (5) stating in probabilistic terms the likelihood of the occurrence of the elements or events; and (6) conducting a sensitive analysis of the results.
The Policy Delphi, according to Flor (1991), is a variation of the Delphi technique. It is a tool for the analysis of policy issues seeking the involvement and participation of anonymous respondents (usually representatives of the different stakeholders of the policy). Herein, the desirability and feasibility of certain policies are assessed from the points of view of the different stakeholders. Meanwhile, according to Turoff (1975), the policy Delphi aims to create the best possible contrasting insights to resolve a major policy problem. Herein, the decision maker is interested on having a group that will give him options and supporting evidences where he can choose from for him to make a solution, rather than having a group that will produce the decision for him. “The Policy Delphi is, then, a tool for the analysis of policy issues and not a mechanism for making a decision” (Turoff, 1975). Turoff (1975) notes the challenging nature of policy Delphi as a means for policy analysis, “both for the design team and for the respondents” (Turoff, 1975). As a process, the policy Delphi undergoes the following six phases: (1) Formulating the issue; (2) Citing options; (3) Deciding preliminary stance about the issue; (4) Searching and getting reasons for disputes; (5) Assessing the underlying reasons; (6) Reassessing the options.
Applications of policy sciences to context-specific developmental policy issues
The policy sciences is highly relevant in environmental impact assessments (EIA) and large-scale environmental change modeling. One example is the use of scenario-making in the study by Garb, Pulver, and VanDeveer (2008). Using storyline driven modeling, they sought to understand the impacts of human activities on natural systems. The said study departs from the increasingly technical approach to scenario analysis. Instead, they drew concept and methodologies from science and technology studies, sociology, and political science. Policy-making is multi-method, and in this case, multi-disciplinary. In this study’s framework, scenario is said to be able to “co-produce knowledge and social order by facilitating collaboration between scientific and technical experts of various types and policy-makers and other non-scientists, as together they ‘make sense’ of aspects of the natural world and aspects of social interaction (their own and that of societies at large).” The intertwined relationship between development communication and policy sciences is affirmed because the study recommends including more representatives of social science professionals in global environmental scenario teams, and creating fora with their active involvement, as well.
In recent years, international-funding agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank has recognised the potential of EIA as an opportunity for dialogue between and among project stakeholders (Flor, 2004).
Flor posits that though the EIA is generally regarded as a regularly and management tool, it should also be regarded as a communication process that seeks to achieve mutual understanding - the overall purpose of development communication and for that matter, environmental communication programs. This mutual understanding would translate to societal environmental consciousness. Development communication as a discipline grew as a response to some of the most pressing problems of underdevelopment including environment and resources degradation. Environmental communication programs are logically subsumed under development communication.
Citing five case studies of the use of communication and social mobilisation in environmental protection and natural resources management programs, Flor laid out the following lessons learned from the five programs:
- Effective environment communication is not merely instructive nor consultative.
- Effective environmental communication is not merely informative either.
- Participation and collective action is internally driven, not externally imposed.
- Environmental communication should make use of indigenous media.
- Environment communication should be done on an interpersonal level as well as on a community level, and further on a national level.
- Participation takes time; effective communication proceeds at its own pace.
- Effective environment communication assumes a momentum of its own.
In a study by Hilbert, Miles, and Othmer (2009), a five-round Delphi exercise was conducted to show how “international foresight exercises, through online and offline tools, can make policy-making in developing countries more participatory, fostering transparency and accountability of public decision-making.” Policy science was used to identify future priorities with regard to the 2005-2007 Latin American and Caribbean Action Plan for the Information Society (eLAC2007). The paper presented specific policy guidance, and explained how Policy [null Delphi] methods can be applied to make public decision-making more transparent and accountable, particularly in developing countries. Practical implications drawn include 1) “the governments’ acknowledgement of the value of collective intelligence from civil society, academic and private sector participants of the Delphi and the ensuing appreciation of participative policy-making” and 2) “the role that can be played by the United Nations (and potentially by other inter-governmental agencies) in international participatory policy-making in the digital age, especially if they modernize the way they assist member countries in developing public policy agendas.”
In the book “Beyond Access and Equity: Distance Learning Models in Asia,” Flor (2002) details the case of SMP Terbuka, a junior secondary education in Indonesia delivered in distance learning mode. This is in consonance with the country’s pursuit of the Universalization of Basic Education. In assessing the socio-cultural environment of SMP Terbuka and in determining the policy environment for distance learning, environmental scanning was done. The study also used the problematique method to analyze structural-organizational problems in a distance learning system, along with their causes. Overall, a systems analysis approach was employed where the environment, the stakeholders, the organization cum network, and problem structure were analyzed. Flor proceeds with a proposed communication and advocacy plan for SMP Terbuka aimed at eliciting public support to this alternative education mode. In designing the social marketing and advocacy blueprint, situation analysis was used. This employed four methods, namely, “environmental scanning, communication resources assessment; review of existing communication strategies; and strategic impact analysis directed at sector stakeholders.”
Walt and Gilson (1994) emphasized the central role of policy analysis in health reforms in developing countries. In their study, they argue that health policy narrowly focuses on the content of reform, and neglects other crucial considerations such as the context that calls for such reform, the processes involved, and the social actors or the stakeholders associated with the reform.
Information Overload and the Wastage Ratio
Fred Fedler (1989), mentioned in the book, Dilemmas in the Study of Information: Exploring the Boundaries of Information Science, describes the impact of the Information age by referring to media’s “vulnerability to hoaxes”. Fedler contends “journalists are vulnerable to information and will always be. Journalists cannot determine the truth to the stories they publish, nor check every details. They receive too many stories, and a single story may contain hundreds of details”. In the same vein, this is what majority of the specialists posits as the information explosion.
Now more than ever, information has exceeded in millions of gigabytes. Technology has brought people around the world to be confronted with so much information that utilization of this information has now become an issue. Dr Paul Marsden of the Digital Intelligence Today defines information overload as “ when the volume of potentially useful and relevant information available exceeds processing capacity and becomes a hindrance rather than a help” (Marsden, 2013).
Dr. Alexander Flor, in his article on The Information Wastage Ratio, argues that although information can be consumed anytime and seldom has expiration date;
“Research information is generated for a particular purpose, a specific user and a definite problem in mind. If such information is unavailable to the right person, at the right time and at the right place, then we conclude that the effort exerted to generate this amount of information has been wasted”.
One approach that Dr. Flor has postulated to establish the underutilization is his Information Wastage Ratio. The ratio takes into consideration the concepts of information generation (IG) and information utilization (IU) expressed as “wastage ratio that is equivalent to one minus the amount of information utilized divided by the quantity of information generated”, thus:
Wr = 1 – IU/IG
Dr. Flor’s formula accounts for the information deficit especially, among the Third World countries, where information utilization is constrained by factors such as “low literacy, limited media access and availability, low computer literacy, low levels of education and unsound communication policy. The framework that Dr. Flor presented is best described as “the communication revolution contributes to the quantity of information generated thus, information explosion happens”. Since the relationship of the two phenomena is reciprocal, “the quantity of information, the quality of information and the information overload determine the information wastage in an information society”. The outcome of this wastage ratio provides support for the initiation of communication policies to ensure full utilization of information in varied fields.
The Gap Between Researchers and Policy Makers
The praxis or the marriage of research and practice, according to Flor (1991) is needed to address the pressing social issues that are pestering the society. However, there are factors that delay its realization. According to UNCTAD Virtual Institute (2006), there are still a huge communication gap between researchers and policy makers. On the side of the policy makers, the information on ongoing researchers barely reaches to them. The researchers, on the other hand, lack the awareness and the knowledge on the most important policy that could contribute so much in the research. Here are some common reasons for the wide gap between the two:
- Policy makers turn primarily to international organizations, international research institutes or their own technical experts or diplomatic missions to obtain information and analysis as policy inputs. Local universities and research institutes may have the capacity but are often not able to engage in cooperation with policy makers.
- Policy-makers consider the credibility of researchers and research outputs a key requirement for cooperation.
- Governments lack systematic procedures regarding which research institutions to turn to, and when and how to establish contact with researchers.
- Data required for informed research may be non-existent or inaccessible.
Hence, the joint UNCTAD-WTO-ITC workshop on trade policy analysis workshop has forwarded these recommendations for both the research institutions and policy making bodies:
As a researcher:
- Try to disseminate information about current research projects as widely as possible:
- Invite concerned government officials to conferences or presentations of research, or organize specific events bringing together policy makers and researchers
- Send notes and abstracts to relevant ministries
- Distribute research to government agencies but also to NGOs, which might also be among its users. Be ready to discuss work in progress with policy-makers after initial contacts have been established.
- Try to get in direct contact, for example with negotiators, by providing them with short notes/abstracts of relevant research findings.
- Establish contact and build a long-term cooperation with relevant ministries. The start can be facilitated by having a "champion" in the ministry. However, the researcher/research institution may need to avoid being too closely identified with a “champion”, and hence, depending too much on the evolution of the "champion's" status.
- Access to high-ranked officials at ministries can be facilitated by involving higher-level representatives at universities (deans, vice-chancellors…) in the establishment and maintenance of contacts. However, more decentralized cooperation can also be productive if he procedures within the university tend to be very hierarchical and bureaucratic.
As a policy maker:
- Involve policy-makers in research. Policy-makers who are consulted at the initial stages of a research project tend to be more open since they can actively participate and hence have a stake in shaping the research questions, and thereby take "ownership" of the research as well. Regular interaction during the research project can help adjusting the questions researched and the tools used to the needs of policy makers.
- Make sure that your research addresses issues of policy relevance to your country by approaching permanent missions in Geneva which can act as facilitators by providing information regarding current policy-relevant research questions.
Development Communication and Policy Sciences
Nora Quebral (1971) defines development communication as “the art and science of human communication applied to the speedy transformation of a country and the mass of its people from poverty to a dynamic state of economic growth that makes possible greater social equality and larger fulfilment of the human potential.” 
The fundamental characteristic that distinguishes development communication from traditional views of mass communication is its purposive nature. According to Dr. Flor, policies, being guidelines, imply that certain directions are already assumed. Development communication and the policies sciences stem from the same rationale, which is the need for actively applying knowledge form and principles of the social sciences in order to solve large-scale societal problems under the premise of social change.
Melafopulos (2008) presented two modes or approaches to development communication: the monologic mode and the dialogic mode. The monologic mode is linked to the standpoint of ‘diffusion’ following the one-way model of communication. The purpose of this mode is to disseminate information and messages to persuade its recipients about the intended change. In short, communication is positioned to (1) inform and (2) persuade. In this model, the feedback is enhanced and canned allowing the sender to refine its persuasive message. On the other hand, dialogic mode is related with the participatory paradigm which follows a two-way communication model. It seeks to create a conducive environment where stakeholders are involved in all stages of the project from the definitions down to the implementation of solutions. This model seeks to make use of communication (1) to assess and (2) to empower. The use of dialogic communication paves the way for building of trust and understanding which is the key to participation and eventually for the empowerment of the people in the grassroots.
Achieving development in the community is collaboration between different stakeholders. Development communication believes that in order to have genuine development, that desire to improve and uplift their lives must come from the grassroots level; it must come from the people. Development communication empowers the people to believe in themselves that they can do something in order to alleviate their standard of living. In their book, Introduction to Development Communication, Ongkiko and Flor (2006) claimed that Development communication entails motivating individuals and groups of people such as farmers, fisherfolks, workers, housewives, and the youth to change their habits, their lifestyles, their way of thinking and their way of doing things. This further proves that development communication is not just merely providing facts and information instead its goal is to persuade the people to become an active participant in the achievement of their goals.
Policy Sciences refer to the scientific study of policies and policy making. Policy refers to a cluster of decisions with a particular purpose and audience in mind. The word “science” is used to suggest the use of empirical data gathered from systematic observation. The plural form (sciences) is used to underscore the interdisciplinary nature of this field (Allen, 1978). Policy science was conceived in order to cope-up with the fast changing landscape of our society. Because of these changes they called, “turbulent field”, the traditional social science methodology was already considered inadequate in solving today’s societal problems (Allen, 1978). The goal of policy sciences is to develop and provide concrete solution to the rising problems brought by technological progress. 
Policy Sciences are concerned with knowledge of and in the decision processes of the public and civic order. Knowledge of the decision process implies systematic, empirical studies of how policies are made and put into effect. When knowledge is systematic, it goes beyond the aphoristic remarks that are strewn through the “wisdom” literature of the past. 
Development Communication and Policy Sciences are two essential elements in resolving recurring dilemma especially in the third world societies.
Development Communication in the Information Age
In Flor’s Developing Societies in the Information Age: A Critical Perspective, he mentioned the 2000 Okinawa Summit of G7/G8 nations that described information and communications technology or ICT as “one of the most potent forces in shaping the Twenty-first Century…fast becoming a vital engine of growth for the world economy.” The summit also decried the existence of a digital divide between rich and poor nations and that the major challenge posed today is to bridge this widening chasm. The Information Age, the so-called third era of human civilization is a pervasive social phenomenon, a global environment. In the Information Age, capital becomes less important than information. In fact, information becomes the "primary resource." There is an observed global shift in resources of power from land, labor and capital to information. The change is more on the nature of resources that are being controlled.
As Flor stated, “informatization comes with the Information Age. All aspects of society – politics, culture, business and economy – have become increasingly information-oriented. Information gives rise to economies and societies wherein information, naturally, becomes the dominant commodity or resource. Concomitant to informatization is the globalization of the economy. The communications or information revolution has tended to shrink the size of the world, figuratively. Instant communication between two persons situated at opposite sides of the globe is a common occurrence. Distance no longer serves as a minor factor in communication.”
Information Society vs. Information Age
An information society should be differentiated from Information Age. An information society refers to a social system, meanwhile, the Information Age refers to an era in human civilization, a worldwide phenomenon. It is possible for people to live in an information age but not in an information society. Observations have also pointed that the trend towards information societies can be found in the Third World. For example, in Asia, certain trends that are indifferent to political developments show that Asia is moving towards that direction. These trends include: the growing demand for mobile devices and software, broadband, Wi-Fi, wi-max services, and even online educational programs.
Control through Communication
“Control is achieved through communication. Norbert Weiner, the father of cybernetics, equated communication with control and observed that it is negatively related to entropy, the tendency for all systems towards breakdown. This function or relationship is magnified in the Information Age." Therefore, in the Information Age, there seems to be a positive correlation between information and power, between communication and power. The logical consequence of this is the gravitation of special interest groups to the communication/information industry and the mad scramble for communication resources. Those who will gain access to more resources would understandably hold more political and economic power. They may, in turn, perpetuate this condition by determining enabling societal structures. According to Flor, information, traditionally defined, is that which contributes to the reduction of uncertainty. Although technically accurate, the definition neglects the social dimension of information. “It is the social function which adds value to information and which gives those who possess it advantage over those who do not. Thus, information should be regarded first and foremost as a resource. As in the case of other resources, there is a tendency for other exploitative groups to hoard information and to use it to further their interests. Information nowadays is associated with influence and power. It is now treated as a dominant commodity under the control and manipulation of the elite.” He also noted that “Information resources should contribute more towards equality than exploitation, towards harmony than conflict, towards complementarities than dominance, towards integration than segregation, towards participation than elitism, towards indigenous development than dependency, and towards convergence than divergence.”
The availability of information may be a function of the availability of mass media, new media and other channels of information. Availability of communication media is obviously a prerequisite for access. For communities wherein media are relatively unavailable, access to communication media is hampered to a considerable degree.
Information and Communication Technologies for Development
In the Information Age, technological growth is a crucial driving force behind economic progress, citizen engagement and job creation. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are shaping many aspects of the world’s economies, governments and societies. Developing countries, too, recognize the importance of engaging various stakeholders to harness the transformative power of ICTs to provide more efficient services, catalyze economic development and strengthen social networks. When done properly and implemented effectively, ICT infrastructure investment and policy reform can empower poverty reduction and shared prosperity.
The World Bank Group’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector strategy, which was adopted in 2012, intends to help developing countries make use of the potential of ICTs to improve the delivery of public services; drive innovations and productivity gains; and improve competitiveness. Under the strategy, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) focus on three priorities: (1) Transformation, by making developments more open and accountable and improving service delivery; (2) Connectivity, by scaling up affordable access to broadband including for women, disabled citizens, disadvantaged communities and people living in remote and rural areas; and (3) Innovation, by developing competitive IT-based industries and fostering ICT innovation with a focus on job creation.
Nascent technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, are also set to reshape the development landscape. The United Nations, through its Virtual Reality Series Project, has tapped virtual reality to build platforms for advocacy, awareness, and fundraising. Its VR production titled Clouds over Sidra earned accolades for shedding light on the conditions of some 84,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan's Za’atari camp. HTC, developer of the Vive VR system, also supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals through its "VR for Impact" program, which seeks to "create a pathway to global peace and prosperity together". In terms of policy implication, the immersive experience brought about by VR is expected "to elevate the voices of those who often do not have a say, bringing peoples’ voices directly into the decision making process".
Development Communication and Gender Equality
Information and communication, food security and nutrition, and gender equality are closely linked dimensions of rural development, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-Dimitra Project, 2011. The vital contribution of women to the agricultural sphere in developing societies cannot be overemphasized. It’s critical to give rural women access to the same resources and opportunities as men in order to be more productive. To achieve enhanced productivity and better performance, women have to be provided access to information, knowledge and decision-making.
Communicating from a gender perspective is important for fighting poverty and for supporting the economic empowerment of women. Women who are frequently the most disadvantaged gender in society are central to development, yet they have very little voice in the process of development planning. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment reports that “while women make up more than 40 percent of the agriculture labor force, only 3 to 20 percent are landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10 percent of all businesses. In South Asia, that number is only 3 percent. And despite representing half the global population, women comprise less than 20 percent of the world's legislators.”
Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment is a vital key in utilizing human resources and capital on an enormous scale. According to the World Bank, “countries with greater gender equality are more prosperous and competitive.” For communities to grow, gender equality policy and strategies have to be developed and implemented. Women must be provided access to information, technology, and education. They must have equal rights and equal opportunities as entrepreneurs, wage earners, and leaders of our society. Promoting gender equality is a profitable investment we can make to advance women development.
Development Communication: Policy Analysis in an Organizational Communication
Development in the community has been observed critically not only the stakeholders but also the public themselves. Being one the recipients of the community projects, the public has been eyeing the government on the implementation of the development projects they are implementing. Part of the analysis in the organization is by analyzing how the communication in an organization works. The two are related as discussed as follows:
Communication and Its Roles in Development'
In the Philippines, Medium Terms Development Plan for 2004-2010 of the National Economic Development Authority states, “the successful implementation of the plan rests on the support of all sectors of society—the legislature, the judiciary, the local government units, the media and all sectors of society” (NEDA, 2004).
In the context of Carnoy and Samoff (1990), they believed that education has great importance as part of the means of achieving social transformation. They emphasized that “appropriate ideas, values, and worldviews will be developed so that from the process of scholarship there emerges a new person—not simply with skills, but also someone with an understanding of his or her own role in the world”.
More than analyzing how the process of the implementation will run through, it is also relative to note who will deliver the message pertaining to the development project. This is where the role of communication takes place. As mentioned by NEDA, media played an important role in the process of the delivery of development projects. With the wide range of power of media to influence and to transmit information, it has the capability to reach the public connecting to the government and vice versa.
Communication is pervasive in the process of development. Communication includes mass media, telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICTs), organized interpersonal communication, and all resources used by a society to enable information to flow within it. It has for its aims to inform, educate, persuade, entertain, motivate people and induce behavior change that contributes toward national development
According to Fraser and Restrepo-Estrada (2001): Communication succeeds when it is an integral part, from the very beginning, of a development programme, playing a full role during the identification of the problems and priorities, as well as during the detailed planning, implementation, and evaluation… communication needs clear objectives, identification of different audience groups… careful message design… and monitoring and feedback.”
Communication and Organizational Theory
As mentioned, delivery of development project can be achieved should proper communication will be used. In attaining such, an organization implementing the development project should consider the system to be used. An organization is where a system is being implemented. Its structure varied depending on the goals of the company, the image it portrays, and the quality it aims to achieve. Being a member of an organization, one has to know how the organization works.
This aim in knowing the technical-know-how within the organization leads to the concept of ‘Organization Theory’. Later it becomes a ‘social science discipline’ which refers to “a body of thinking and writing that describes, explains and influences what goes on in organization”. This leads to making this discipline as basis for exploring ‘management and leadership theory’ that enables the scholars to understand how an ‘Organization Theory’ works in the application of a certain system
Further, Organizational Theory (OT), according to Barzilai(2016), is the “study of organizations for the benefit of identifying common themes for the purpose of solving problems, maximizing efficiency and productivity, and meeting he needs of stakeholders”.
Thus, Development Communication interweaves with Policy Science and Organizational Theory for one reason: Development projects require an organization as deciding body in crafting policy leading to the attainment of the project and as implementor of the projects.
Interface Revisited and Reinforced: Development Communication and Policy Sciences
To affirm the interface, I reviewed the notions of development communication and policy sciences. Development education, a related and a younger discipline is shortly discussed. I also highlight the similarities of these fields.
Quebral (2012) redefines development communication as “the science of human communication linked to the transition of communities from poverty in all its forms to a dynamic overall growth that fosters equity and the unfolding of individual potential” (p. 9).
Meanwhile, Guru (2016) explains that development communication “(1) provides a conceptual and practical framework in accelerating development in all spheres of life; (2) includes the integration of planned, organized, and specific communication package into planning, programming, and implementation; (3)facilitates the flow of development education among various stakeholders; and (4) empowers marginalized individuals, groups, and organizations” (p. 101).
I though that development education is just a function or a subset of development communication just like information, motivation, persuasion, among others. In fact, it is discipline in its own right that started in the 1990s. Bourn (2015) describes it as “an education approach that (1) responds to issues of development, human rights, justice, and world citizenship; (2) presents an international development and human rights perspective within education in various parts of the world; (3) promotes voices and viewpoints of those who are excluded from an equal share in the benefits of international human development; (4) connects and compares development issues and challenges all over the world; (5) provides opportunities for people to reflect on their international roles and responsibilities with regard to issues of equality and justice in human development; and (6) narrates a new story of human development” (p. 47).
On the other hand, policy sciences or policy studies basically refer to the policy cycle, which involves “policy making, policy implementation, policy evaluation, and policy feedback” (Flynn and Asquer, 2017, p. 40). Originally, it is a function of governance and, therefore the domain of government officials. However, with democracy as a form of government in many nations, it has also become the domain of the governed, hence, the term public policy. Most available literature on policy studies quote the definition developed by Hence Thomas Dye as “whatever governments choose to do or not to do.”
However, Chakrabarty and Chand (2016) argue that “[t]here cannot be a universal definition of policy although one can endure a near universal definition by highlighting its technical character” (p. 3). With these, they characterize Dye’s definition as “functional in character” and contend that “governments are not at all free to choose because their choice is context-dependent and governed by the ideology they adhere to” (p. 4).
They raise the limitations Dye’s definition: (1) does not reflect or represent the ideological goals of the government; (2) does not reflect the critical role of institutions; and (3) does not provide enough inputs to conceptualize public policy as an executive device and as a marker of ideology.
After presenting the etymology of “public” and “policy”, they propose a layman’s definition through an acronym: POLICY. PO stands for periodically organized, which suggests that polices are “constantly reinvented and transformed in accordance with changing social, economic, and political realities”. To add, LI means legally induced, which suggests it cannot dispense “constitutions and other legal instruments in shaping policy.” Lastly, CY means calculated yields, which implies that policies must be beneficial and profitable (p. 6).
With this, they propose a definition, that is, “[p]olicy being a functional design seeking to fulfill certain objectives on the basis of specific calculations of the pros and the cons, and this is naturally context-dependent” (p. 7). Hence, it has a dynamic character: (1) it considers the changing environment, and (2) it prioritizes public good.
They also enumerate the features of a policy: (1) intentional or deliberately designed to address societal issues; (2) a course of action with specific goals and objectives; (3) devised in response to a perceived need or demand or problem; (4)creates an environment in which various actors converge to develop policy designs; (5) an authoritative decision by the government (Chakbarty and Chand, 2016, p. 8).
Three broad and dynamic disciplines are presented. It is then instructive to highlight their commonalities or similarities to affirm their interface: (1) systematic (planned, organized, designed, or an approach); (2) change-oriented, preferably for the better if not the best (public good); (3) holistic and multidimensional; (4) pro-people or advocates of equity or social justice, and (5) largely participatory.
Development education, being the youngest field or discipline, has two distinct emphases: sustainable development and global citizenship (Bourn, 2015). A number of modifiers have come before the term development over time, but the most recent is sustainable, hence, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guru (2016) defines it as “a vision of the future that provides necessary blueprint through which the developmental activities of individuals and institutions can be streamlined on the basis of ethical, humanitarian, and professional considerations” (p. 85). It has three dimensions: social, economic, and environmental (World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002 in Guru, 2016). In fact, it is imperative for both development practitioners and policy makers to understand these dimensions.
Development Communication and Culture
In the context of globalization, the need for communication is increasing. Many countries has invested in developing their technology which in turns speed up the exchange of information across different countries. This has led to a more complex work context in different institutions especially in business, education, and non-profit organizations. Employees not only has to deal with a lot of things that are not present in a very homogenous environment like observing other religious holidays, communicating in different languages, and also understanding different preferences on certain things. In a multi-cultural environment, organizational culture becomes more complex.
There were countless of research that show how poor communication can lead to poor organizational performance. It is important for every organisation to develop an effective means to communicate internally and externally in the organization and find ways to develop a health knowledge sharing culture. Understanding the impact of globalisation is crucial for any organisation to be competitive in the global market. In this context, effective communication is expected to create a healthy organizational culture by providing necessary information that will bridge many gaps in the organization.
Flor (2007) noted that “communication and culture are inextricably linked” (p. 112). Seemingly, communication constitutes culture and vice versa in any organizational engagement internally and externally. From time immemorial, effective internal organizational communication which reduces uncertainties and increases productivity in the workplace has been the common goal of many organizations worldwide. Consequently, effective communication processes could mean effective communication policies are in place explicitly or have been legitimized in practice. Making this complicated is perceived in how decision-makers, policy experts and organizational members interact in furthering organizational communication processes. Flor (2007) describes potential complexities at work that could burden more than could help the organization’s communication culture.
The really difficult part of communication work (and perhaps the most time consuming) is pleasing everybody from your superior, to the subject matter specialist and, finally, to the user whose opinions (and tastes) may altogether vary from those of the decision-maker. This potentially is the most time consuming particularly since, right or wrong, everyone believes that he is a communication expert (p.167-168).
Participatory Approach, Community Radio and Policy Development
The roots of participatory approaches in development communication according to Yoon (1996) can be found in the early years of the 1970s when many people in the development community began to question the top-down approach of development dominant in the 1950s and 60s which targeted the economic growth of countries as its main goal. Development according to Yoon (1996) was "thought to be triggered by the wide-scale diffusion and adoption of modern technologies". Such modernization Yoon (1996) further expounds, was planned in the national capitals under the guidance and direction of experts brought-in from developed countries. Often, the people in the villages who are the "objects" of these plans were the last to know when "strangers from the city turned-up, frequently unannounced, to survey land or look at project sites". However, the demarcation of the First, Second and Third Worlds by late 1960s to early 1980s has broken down and the cross-over centre-periphery can be found in every region, a need for a new concept of development which emphasizes cultural identity and multidimensionality is raised (Servaes and Malikhao, 2005). Servaes and Malikhao (2005) posit that the‘global’ world, in general as well as in its distinct regional and national entities, is confronted with multifaceted crises. Apart from the obvious economic and financial crisis, they elaborate that one could also refer to social, ideological, moral, political, ethnic, ecological and security crises thus the previously held dependency perspective has become more difficult to support because of the growing interdependency of regions, nations and communities in the globalized world. A new viewpoint on development and social change has come to the forefront according to them which "the common starting point is the examination of the changes from ‘bottom-up’, from the self-development of the local community".
At first, speech, traditional and folk media, and group activities were considered the most appropriate instruments for supporting participatory communication hence, the practitioners in the mass media responded by innovating their own approach towards participatory communication (Yoon, 1996) which brought the emergence of community radios. The historical philosophy of community radio is to use this medium as the voice of the voiceless, the mouthpiece of the oppressed people and generally as a tool for development. Yoon (1996) articulates that in community radios, the people "produced and voiced the programs which were focused on local issues which were the most current and important making way for participatory communication to be practiced at both the community or village level and at the broader regional or sub-regional level". Most of the successes of community broadcasting are to be found in the non-formal education sector (Beltran,1993 in Yoon, 1996). Literacy programs have been effectively conducted via community radio and television stations. Other subjects covered by these stations include gender issues, farming, health, income-generation, workers' safety and occupational health, land tenure, and religious matters (Yoon, 1996).
Mhagama (2015) posits that participatory development projects such as community radio employ a participatory approach to decision making processes and enable marginalized people to "define their own development path through the identification and implementation of projects that are initiated by them". He stresses that "participatory communication gives the local community a right to freely share or exchange information and to reach a consensus on what they want to do or to be done and how to do it". Tamminga (1997) in Mhagama (2015) addresses that in community radio the dichotomy between the rich and the marginalized sectors like women, indigenous peoples and the poor is broken by "allowing listeners an opportunity to shape the medium to meet their own specific needs and breakdown the monopolies of knowledge and power that marginalize them politically, economically and socially". In one project of UNESCO in partnership with the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Philippine government a participatory communication project using community radio dubbed as “Tambuli” (Tambuli is a Filipino term referring to a traditional way of calling villagers to an important meeting)(Jayaweera and Tabing, 1997) was launched in 1991. According to Howley (2005) the project was able to make the community residents come to appreciate radio's potential as a forum to discuss issues of mutual concern allowing the local populations to give immediate and sustained feedback to local, regional and even national political leaders and authorities which afforded them greater opportunity to chart their own destiny.
Howley (2010) as cited in Mhagama (2015) stressed that “community radio highlights people’s ability to alter and rearrange existing media structures to better suit their needs”. This is made possible Servaes (1996) in Mhagama (2015) concludes because community radio allows non-professionals to participate in media production, management, and planning of the communication systems.
Development Communication and the Policy Sciences Work Together Towards Social Change
Flor (n. d., as cited in Academia, 2015) states that policy sciences and development communication have seemingly identical underlying function in society: to solve societal issues and make social change possible for the benefit of the greater majority. Development communication and policy sciences share key characteristics. First, both policy sciences and development communication are purposive. They serve specific and systematic functions to achieve a common goal which is to solve issues and problems in society in order to achieve change. Second, both policy sciences and development communication believe that, at times, power and corrupt practices in the government have the potential to undermine reasoned logic. This is evident in the commercialisation of mass media that advances profit over social responsibility. Thus, development communication and policy sciences have the role to combat such corrupt practices. The third characteristic that policy sciences and development communication share is to heed action for policies to take effect. Policies that remain in print/word without action is a futile enterprise. A policy to be effective needs to be implemented, monitored, assessed and sustained. For development communication and policy sciences to make great impact to the world, participation or engagement of stakeholders is necessary. Below is an analysis of a few studies that deal with how development communication relates with policy sciences, and how they fuse in order to effect change in the larger society. In a discussion on the policy sciences, Allen (1978, as cited in Flor, n. d.) states:
Since communication permeates every facet of a person's behaviour, the study of communication is no less than one way to study policy making. Communication is a useful concept precisely because it is one more handle whereby we can effectively study policy making. Communication is one of those few variables through which any policy decision is dependent (p.69).
On Risk and Disaster Communication Amongst the Youths
The youths hold a pivotal role in making a difference in society. Being digital natives, they communicate efficiently, develop networks pervasively, and create, influence and change social norms and practices. In short, being communication natives who can create a collective voice, they have the power to influence policies and change perspectives deeply rooted in society. For instance, during disasters, the youths are viewed as passive victims with no role in communicating risks or preventing and responding to disasters. Since disaster management seems to be predominated by top-down strategies, not bottom-up, the youths are seen as weaklings who are at the receiving end of calamity relief operations. However, Mitchell, Haynes, Hall, Wei and Oven (2008) seem to have refuted this perception based on the findings of their case studies in El Salvador and New Orleans. Mitchell et al. (2008) concluded that children and youths can be potential informants within informal and formal risk communication networks. Their case studies have shown that:
children and youth can become effective conduits, vehicles and bridges as they are embedded within the household and community and can act as trusted two-way “translators” and communicators. Overall, children and youth were found to be effective communicators of risk when language barriers exist increasing the agency of young people, an outside agent has helped support the organization of youth groups, the community has strong social cohesion, and there is a level of distrust in political sources (such as police impunity) (p. 269).
In the Philippines, a study by Fernandez and Shaw (2013) found that even until today, “young people are not given an active role in (or worse, are excluded from) the action toward disaster risk reduction” (p. 135). Fernandez and Shaw’s (2013) review of national policies of the Philippines related to youth council participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR) shows discrepancies between ideal scenarios and actual youth participation in DRR in practice. So much more needs to be done in engaging young people in helping build disaster resilient communities. However, although these discrepancies exist, there are many success stories of Filipino youths involved in development programs with the aim to prepare communities for disasters. The National Youth Commission (NYC, 2013) believed that children and youth are not just a vulnerable group, but can play vital roles in their communities to prepare for future disasters. For instance, the Tanay Mountaineers Youth Arm, a Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO) 2013 winner, has been responding to victims of disasters not only in Tanay, Rizal but even in Quezon Province since Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit their town in 2009 (Rappler.com, 2014). The local government of Tanay has tapped the Tanay Mountaineers as the official disaster response team of the municipality. Another TAYO 2013 winner, the Hayag Youth Organization, carried out the “Langoy para sa Kaluwasan,” a Swim Camp Disaster Preparedness and Open Water Safety Training for children and youth from impoverished communities in Ormoc City, Leyte. This is in response to the fact that many youths in Ormoc still do not know how to swim apart from the fact that water safety skills are not taught to them in school (Rappler.com, 2014). Despite scepticism, there still exists a growing optimism that policy scientists and communication policy developers can help review and reaffirm existing youth policies in the Philippines in engaging youth groups themselves for DRR projects, among others. Fernandez and Shaw (2013) posited that open and engaging communication is necessary so that the youths become more involved in disaster management and risk reduction efforts in their communities.
On Urban Farming in Cities and Countries
Globalisation has been shaping this world into a small village. With this phenomenon comes urbanisation or massive urban planning that governments and private industries are advancing. With policies being created and governance being mandated, remote heartlands of countries are now slowly being transformed into urbanised places and spaces which in turn produce setbacks such as pollution, health issues and other social problems. However, one trend that is becoming popular in some countries is urban forestry which somehow demands for sound scientific information and public participation. According to Janse and Konijnendijk (2007), urban society's manifold perceptions, preferences and demands for urban forest goods and services indicate the necessity for socially inclusive policy planning processes. They said that successful policies can only be formulated by establishing close links with, for example, urban planning and municipal policies. Inherently, this means that close ties between research and policy are required. They discussed the outcomes of the NeighbourWoods research and development project in which a wide range of tools for public participation were tested in six urban woodland case-studies across Europe. Findings confirmed that a set of tools comprising a step-wise process from informing the public in an attractive way, collecting information on public opinion, towards fully participatory approaches such as direct involvement in decision-making is most likely to ensure socially inclusive planning. Communication with policy-makers requires a high degree of openness, clearly explaining every phase of the process, being open about each other's expectations, and developing relationships based on mutual trust (Janse & Konijnendijk, 2007).
Despite power issues that lurk in most organisations and governments, development communication and policy sciences seem to advance specific and systematic functions to achieve a common goal for the benefit of the majority. This is shown in an increasingly global India, whereby an agricultural community in Pune, Maharashtra was faced with losing farmland to urbanisation and devised an unusual solution (Sami, 2013). Pooling their land together, the farmers in this community leveraged their social and political networks to take advantage of the changing economic climate in Pune and built a mixed-use township on their 400 acres of farmland (Sami, 2013). They formed alliances with other stakeholders, both internally within the agricultural community and externally at the city and state levels. Sami (2013) concluded that “ad-hoc coalitions in the power and politics of urban processes in an Indian city have emerged as a result of a political will and leadership vacuum in Indian cities in the face of the changing focus and priorities of national and regional governments as well as a growing gap in urban service provision” (p. 151).
On Communication for Development (C4D) and e-Agriculture
If highly urbanised and wealthy cities or countries are advancing urban agriculture, it cannot be denied that many of the Third World countries are also at par when it comes to improving agricultural processes and policies and in the informatisation of agriculture. In Malawi, one of the poorest regions in Africa, Agunga (2012) emphasised that the success rate of poverty-reduction programming could be greater if C4D education was provided for development decision-makers and field staff, especially agricultural extension workers. Agunga (2012) further stated that agricultural extension education can impact development by focusing on how C4D can strengthen agricultural extension performance. He implied that educating policymakers about C4D will increase donor investments in pilot C4D projects, a strengthening of agricultural extension systems, and success of poverty-reduction programs (Agunga, 2012).
In the Philippines, a book by Flor (2007) entitled Development Communication Praxis discussed a rice scandal such that in the last quarter of 1990, the Philippines groaned as the price of rice and other commodities went up. Flor (2007) said:
Rice farmers who were expected to gain from the situation were likewise disadvantaged. They were not able to sell their produce at reasonable prices. On one hand, their bumper crop entailed expensive inputs – certified high yielding varieties, irrigation, pesticides and fertilizer. On the other, middle men bought their harvest at cutthroat prices leaving them penniless and in debt… the nature of the rice industry is such that information, particularly market information, means money and power. For all practical purposes, the Philippine rice industry is controlled by a group of obscure Filipino-Chinese businessmen called the Binondo Rice Cartel… Employing a nationwide marketing network composed mainly of fellow Filipino-Chinese traders, the cartel has held a viselike grip over rice trading since the post World War II years that enable them to virtually dictate the buying price of dried paddy all over the country (pp. 114-115).
What was done when this happened? Did development communication come into the picture? Was change sought? There were a few discussions on alternatives such as proper use of funds since it was observed that international donations for the agricultural farmers were spent more on the informatisation of agriculture (increasing need for computers, logistical aids, etc.) instead of investing into more practical and realistic methods to empower the farmers and improve their farming methods. Attention was also given to the rise of white-collar jobs which was cutting down the numbers of agricultural farmers tilling the land (Flor, 2007). The youths became more attracted to the life in the city and to seek for office or desk jobs than remain in the province and till the farm. With this, Flor (2007) suggested policy rationalisation:
Rationalisation need not mean a reduction of monies awarded to the information sector. It primarily means the rearrangement of priorities and the increase of allotment to actual farming activities in the case of agriculture or to direct social services in the case of rural development. (p. 123).
However, with the seemingly hegemonic influence of the internet and the impact of globalisation, the field of agriculture needs to adapt to radical changes in society for it to become sustainable. As policy sciences and development communication suggest, the goal of communication and policies is to empower individuals or groups, and this empowerment necessitates crucial adaptation to an ever changing world. This brought agriculture into another layer: e-agriculture. What is e-agriculture? The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2013) defined this as: <block quote>An emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture (p. 1).
In a post on e-Agriculture webpage, Walter (2009), indicates that the Philippines has launched a Knowledge Working Towards Enhancing Agricultural Communities Program or K-Agrinet project with the aim to promoting the use of ICT to attain agricultural sustainability and competitiveness for the country's farmers. The project is a collaborative effort amongst the country's diverse agencies to utilize information technology (IT) as a tool to fast-track the dissemination of agriculture and natural resources information and technologies to farmers, upland dwellers, and rural entrepreneurs in the Philippines. The institutional key players in the agricultural and natural resource sectors are: (1) the e-Learning led by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) which focuses on e-extension and distance learning for agriculture extension workers; (2) the e-Consortia led by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD) which intensifies technology and knowledge generation and exchange amongst existing partner R&D Institutions through improved ICT tools and applications; (3) the e-Farm also led by DOST-PCARRD that promotes e-commerce by initiating e- based farm to market opportunities through the FITS centers and their respective farmer-scientists; and lastly, (4) the e-Agrikultura led by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) tasked at mobilising and generating the participation of agrarian reform communities into the program (Walter, 2009, p. 1).
Indeed, the goal of C4D and e-agriculture is clear: to improve the lives of people especially the poor and the marginalised. This entails educating and empowering them for the impact of change to be sustainable.
On Women’s Roles on Development Through Advancing Policies
Reports and studies show that women are mostly victims of many kinds of abuse. For instance, Kaunda (1990) described that a smallholder development strategy in Malawi, Africa puts emphasis on commercialization of agriculture, combined with decision making processes which are centralized in the bureaucracy, serving only to reproduce and perpetuate historical forms of social differentiation which are the basis of the women's subordination and/or subjugation.
However, it can be seen in the past few decades that women have been successful in championing a cause and in letting their voices be heard in society. Women from all walks of life have been engaging themselves into development projects. For Instance, in the Philippines, the World Food Programme (WFP, 2012) launched a project in the Philippine island of Mindanao to helping women kickstart agriculture in the region by providing them with the training they need to become successful farmers. This shows that women can be empowered and independent – two qualities that development communication and policy sciences are championing. HumanaPeopletoPeople (2012) is also promoting gender equality in India, whereby, to realise empowerment of women, the women in their communities have formed coalitions such as women self-help groups focusing on community projects. The women are empowered to bargain, to have economic influence, to earn money for improvement of health and education of the family and to gain a stronger social standing.
Either in First World or in Third World nations, a huge number of women are making a difference in a lot of fields with the goal to contribute to character and nation-building. In the field of developing women's capacities to run and manage their small-medium enterprises (SMEs), Gail Romero, the founder and CEO for Collective Changes, has been providing effective technology platforms to business mentors for women's SMEs in developing nations.
Gail continues to drive support for empowering women in business and global recognition of the economic engine that women can provide to their nations. Gail is also Senior Advisor for MacKenzie-Romero Consulting, Executive Producer for Rainmakers TV and carried the title of Ambassador for Global Health for the American Cancer Society until August 2011. Gail has spent the last two decades creating and directing the development and integration of innovative economic ideas and campaigns and strategic alliances with policy makers to advance women in leadership throughout the world… She has held numerous corporate board positions for start-up companies and guided new social venture partnerships. She has served as a visiting professor and international speaker and presenter on social justice, women's issues and education. Gail is a recent TED Prize nominee for her work to leverage technology to grow women's business skills (“Advancing Women in Leadership”, 2014).
Development communication and policy sciences have gone a long way to advancing the rights and freedom of people – children and youths, women, farmers, labourers, etc., with the goal that they become more informed and empowered to make decisions for themselves and their communities, to realise their full potential and to become a catalyst for change as Flor (2007) postulated.
Development Communication and Agenda Setting
Agenda Setting is an important topic in development communication and policy sciences because it sets problems and issues into policies. It sets the tone of how policies are crafted, based on the needs of the public. Equally important in this discussion is understanding the Agenda Setting Process by which problems and alternative solutions gain or lose public and elite attention (Birkland, 2011). It is in this area where individuals take collective action and vie for attention. According to Schattschneider (1960), groups that successfully describe a problem will also be the one to define the solutions to it, thereby prevailing in public debate.
Another idea offered by Schattschneider is the Theory of Group Mobilization & Participation in Agenda Setting wherein the issues are more likely to be elevated to agenda status if the scope of conflict is broadened. There are 2 ways to broaden an issue:
- Groups go public by using symbols and images or;
- Groups to lose the first level of public interest appeal to a higher decision-making level.
When powerful groups lose control of the agenda, they are said to enter into policy debates to gain attention (Baumgartner & Jones), while other groups do venue shopping and ally with those who are able to advance their issues.
Levels of Agenda
From the vast field of issues (Agenda Universe), groups push issues meriting public attention “within the legitimate jurisdiction of existing governmental authority” (Birkland, quoting Cobb and Elder), moving to the next level (Systemic Agenda). Ideas that gain active and serious consideration of decision/policy makers go the next level (Institutional Agenda). If acted upon, it reaches Decision Agenda—the last level in the policy making process. Within these levels there are push and pull actions that happen between and among interest groups in order to pursue or challenge such initiatives.
Process of Policy Development (also Stages of the Policy Cycle)
It includes the following activities that sets off creation of policies:
- Issue Framing – which is a technique of getting the issues on the policy maker’s agenda so that a problem is recognized and debated.
- Agenda setting as already discussed in previous paragraphs.
- Policy Formulation wherein proposed actions are articulated, debated and drafter into language.
- Advocacy & policy dialogue which will involve and mobilize stakeholders and the public, and
- Data analysis which focuses on political costs and benefits.
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