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.
- 1 Definitions
- 2 History
- 3 Academic schools
- 4 Examples
- 5 Policy
- 6 Risk communication
- 7 Development communication policy science
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 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 probleexms, 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.
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.
Development support communication
Development support communication (DSC) is development planning and implementation that accounts for human behavioral factors in the design of development projects. DSC links stakeholders involved in development such as politicians, administrators, consumers and others. Communication channels include vertical (flowing from government to individuals and the reverse) and horizontal between the institutions and personnel connected with the development process.
DSC attempts to communicate the latest skills, knowledge and innovation to agriculturists to increase their output. Target groups include innovation or knowledge producers, political/government leaders and agriculturists.
Collaboration is necessary among the three groups. (Phazcom 26.02.09.)
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 widepspread 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.
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.
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 s uccess 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 is a thriving and a contemporary field in social sciences. According to Alexander G. Flor, Ph.D., "development communication and policy sciences are generally regarded as distinct and mutually exclusive areas of study." In his work, Development Communication and the Policy Sciences," Flor states that development communication and the policy sciences stem from the same rationale although they are different in scope. Both of them, he says, endorse a normative or prescriptive role for the social sciences.
Flor thus proposes the creation of a nationwide media consumers' organization where policy analysts play a significant role in order to enhance the participation of information users in policy making. This organization, Flor believes, could initiate media education in the formal and nonformal modes, and conduct its own audience studies and policy research.
The notion of "policy sciences" is construed in various shades. In fact, its concept was crystallized by Harold D. Lasswell in 1943. Over several decades Lasswell and his collaborators refined through practice and peer review the intellectual tools needed to support problem-oriented, contextual, and multi-method inquiry in the service of human dignity for all. Harold Laswell (1971), for instance, explicated that policy sciences are concerned with the knowledge and 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.
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 in helping people make better decisions toward fostering human dignity for all.
The term “policy sciences,” in its plural form, emphasizes an interdisciplinary nature. It recognizes the multiplicity of factors affecting certain problems and multidimensions 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.
In the context of communication policy development, therefore, policy sciences are necessary to make more responsive communication policies. 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.
- Global South Development Magazine
- Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D)
- Global digital divide
- Development Communication Policy Science
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- World Summit on the Information Society
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