What’s New May 2007

This page lists changes to this site for May 2007.

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2006’s overseas development assistance (ODA) aid volume was lower than 2005’s, but this was predicted because the previous year included massive items such as debt relief for Iraq and Nigeria. Nonetheless, despite the lower volume, it was still one of the highest amounts ever. Unfortunately, the updated figures from the OECD show that aid is still far less than what countries have promised. In 1970, rich countries had promised to give 0.7% of GNI each year in aid, but most fail to do so. Furthermore, when aid is given it has typically been short on volume, quality, and effectiveness. New and updated graphs, images, and data were added to this section.

Since 1970, when rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of gross national income in aid to poorer countries to assist their development, hardly any have ever done so. The last two years are regarded as some of the highest levels of aid since, but only amount to approximately 0.3% of GNI. Calculating the accumulated shortfall since 1970 reveals a huge aid shortfall of $3.1 trillion, while $2.3 trillion has been given. Even though it is a large amount, most of it does not go to the poorest countries. For example, since 1970, on average, Sub-Saharan Africa has received about 25% of actual ODA. Even the aid that is given now includes fancy accounting and inclusion of items not originally intended to be counted as development aid, such as debt relief and emergency aid.

Over the last few decades, the number of media companies dominating mainstream media has dwindled. This concentration in ownership has reduced the diversity of information and range of mainstream discourse. In some countries even though the number of media outlets may be high and varied, that ownership is still small. The internet shows signs of shaking up traditional media, but for the moment most people still get a lot of their news from television and other sources. Added some additional information about global media companies, and about Italy’s former leader, Silvio Berlusconi and his use of media power.

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