Communication has untapped potential as a catalyst for community power in developing countries. Greater clarity is needed, however, on the channels of communication that will best integrate the contributions of diverse private and public agencies to meeting development needs. Also needed is a greater emphasis on strategic rather than technical aspects of communication. Most studies of communication have focused on the individual radio listener or television viewer, thereby ignoring the influence of broader forces. A concern for psychological determinants of decision making has led to a neglect of systemic factors. Another major error has been the failure to design longitudinal studies, or at least to collect information at 2 points in time. All of these observations point to a need to study power (economic, political, and social) as a crucial variable in understanding development. Moreover, there is a need for more attention to the role and impact of broadcasting on conflict management--an approach that requires abandoning traditional consensus models of communication. Yet another problem has been blind acceptance of the assumption that development communication and development support communication are unitary concepts that are universally applicable in all countries, all social and cultural contexts, and all development conditions. This unitary approach leads to the false conclusion that there is a grand model of development, and all communication personnel have to do is to see how radio and television fit into this conceptual framework. Finally, there has been a failure to appreciate fully the magnitude of poverty. If true development (defined as the capability of a people to go from where they are to where they want to be) is to occur, these strategic issues must be given serious attention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine