Daniel Lak is right that foreign aid and development are legitimate subjects for journalists (Here and there, #40). Development should be a publicly-owned endeavour and aid issues are major issues everywhere in a rapidly globalising world. It is both sad and surprising that there is so little independent journalistic involvement in them. Everywhere in the world, it seems, the most common coverage of aid issues is obedient and uncritical. Next-but still a long way behind-comes cheap swipes at aid agencies. We need to move beyond both to a situation where journalists are competent and free to raise and analyse critical issues in the behaviour and practice of development agencies. Graham Hancock's "seminal" work is indeed old and partly out of date now. But even at the time it seemed like a missed opportunity to really get to the heart of the crucial issues that it at least raised. Since its publication, informed development and aid journalism has virtually disappeared and has certainly not progressed. I, for one, would trust Daniel Lak to make a good start in filling this void and, so, urge him to write more!
Save the Children (UK)