Essay on Role of Media in Good Governance

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100 Words Essay on Role of Media in Good Governance


Media plays a crucial role in good governance. It’s like a mirror reflecting the actions of the government. It keeps the public informed, ensuring transparency and accountability in the government’s work.

Information Dissemination

Media spreads information about the government’s plans and policies. It helps people understand what the government is doing for them. This way, media aids in bridging the gap between the government and the public.


Media acts as a watchdog. It keeps an eye on the government’s actions. If the government does something wrong, the media reports it. This makes the government accountable for its actions.

Public Opinion

Media plays a big role in shaping public opinion. It highlights the issues that matter to the people. This helps the government understand what the public needs and wants.


Media ensures transparency in the government’s work. It reports on the government’s actions, making sure the public knows what’s happening. This helps build trust between the government and the people.

In conclusion, media plays a vital role in good governance. It ensures transparency, accountability, and helps shape public opinion. Without the media, good governance would be hard to achieve.

250 Words Essay on Role of Media in Good Governance

Media plays a significant role in promoting good governance. It is a tool that ensures transparency, accountability, and fairness in the functioning of the government.

Media as a Watchdog

One of the main roles of the media in governance is acting as a watchdog. It keeps a close eye on the actions of the government. If any unfair practices are happening, the media reports them to the public. This way, it helps in controlling corruption and misuse of power.

Media as a Bridge

Media also acts as a bridge between the government and the public. It conveys the plans and policies of the government to the people. At the same time, it brings the issues and concerns of the public to the attention of the government.

Media as a Platform for Debate

Media provides a platform for public debate and discussion. It allows people to express their views on government policies. These debates can lead to better decision-making by the government.

Media as an Educator

Media educates people about their rights and duties. It makes them aware of the functioning of the government. An informed public can make better choices and contribute positively to good governance.

In conclusion, media plays a crucial role in ensuring good governance. It acts as a watchdog, a bridge, a platform for debate, and an educator. It helps in making the government transparent, accountable, and fair. Thus, a free and responsible media is vital for the functioning of a democratic society.

500 Words Essay on Role of Media in Good Governance

Media plays a crucial role in our lives. It is like a mirror that reflects the truth and reality of our society. It is not just about sharing news or information, but also about being a platform for the public to express their views and ideas. In the context of good governance, media’s role is very significant.

Media as a Source of Information

One of the primary roles of media is to provide information. It is through the media that people learn about the actions and decisions of their government. This information helps people to understand the work of the government, its policies and plans. With this knowledge, people can make informed decisions and participate in the governance of their country.

Media also acts as a watchdog, keeping an eye on the actions of the government. It exposes any wrongdoings or corruption in the government. This helps to keep the government accountable and ensure that it is working for the welfare of the people. Without the media, it would be easy for those in power to misuse their authority without being noticed.

Media as a Platform for Dialogue

Media provides a platform for dialogue and discussion. It allows people to express their views and opinions on various issues. This encourages public participation in governance. Through discussions and debates, people can contribute their ideas and solutions for the betterment of the society.

Media and Democracy

Media plays a vital role in promoting democracy. It ensures that the power of the government is not concentrated in a few hands. By giving voice to the people, it promotes democratic values such as freedom of speech and expression. It also ensures that the government respects the rights and freedoms of the people.

In conclusion, media plays a key role in good governance. It provides information, acts as a watchdog, provides a platform for dialogue, and promotes democracy. It helps to ensure that the government is accountable, transparent, and responsive to the needs of the people. It is important for us to support and protect the freedom of the media, as it is crucial for the health of our democracy.

Remember, a responsible and free media is not just a need, but a right of every citizen in a democratic country. So, let’s respect and cherish this right for the betterment of our society and nation.

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Role of Media in Good Governance – Essay for UPSC Preparation

October 11, 2019 by Sandeep

500+ Words Essay on Role of Media in Good Governance

As a citizen of the world’s largest democracy, we are entitled to rights and are bound by laws to maintain peace and stability in the nation. The essence of democracy was beautifully worded by Abraham Lincoln. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The populace of the Republic of India have the power to make as well as break the government, both in the state and the centre. But what is the basis on which they act? Information, as stated under Article 19, is a fundamental right that empowers us with knowledge to mould our opinion and take a decision.

But unless the information is being relayed to each and every person residing across the country, it will be worthless. Here is where media comes into the picture. The most efficient mode of delivering information to the common man and enable him to make an educated choice for the betterment of his own life, his family, his society and ultimately, his nation.

Media is the pluralised form of the term ‘medium’, which in this context, is defined as a tool of communication that is used to archive as well as deliver data or information. The industry which deals with this is known as mass media communication industry and it utilises a variety of platforms like printing and publishing, advertising, broadcasting, cinema and photography, to execute its operation.

An ideal media, be it private or government funded, functions independent of influence, providing the people with honest and impartial information. While non-influence and impartiality are two key factors that govern the quality of media, it itself has the power of influencing its consumers and forming a crowd mentality.

That is the authority that this industry has had a monopoly on ever since its conception. This capability definitely makes them a strong factor that can play multiple roles in upholding the standard of governance in our country.

Governance in India

On 26th of November 1949, India had adopted its constitution , and had emerged as a Democratic Republic on 26th January 1950 . Ever since then, our nation has grown into being the largest democracy. Our country follows the federal parliamentary system of government. Following the trias politica model, the government has divided its powers into three independent bodies.

Legislative power rests with the Parliament, executive power is vested upon the President and the judicial power is the responsibility of the Supreme Court. While imperatively, these three function in their own limits, they have special authorities to check each other to keep a balance in powers. Prime focus of the political scenario in India is always the legislative bodies.

After all, it is the politicians whom the people have chosen as their representatives and all the schemes, policies, laws and acts are being evaluated and passed under their supervision. The development of our nation as an economy is extensively dependent upon their decisions.

But ever since India has started out as an independent nation, its political timeline has been riddled with scams, corruptions and controversies. Our development has been hindered to such an extent, that contemporary nations like Israel and China which were formed in 1948 and 1949 respectively are well ahead of India in terms of development. Israel has even attained the tag of a developed country.

Corruption in India has been so deep-rooted that it had further worsened the situations that we faced as a young country in the previous century, that were and still are major obstacles in the growth of India namely- poverty, unemployment and lack of education.

While the parliament did roll out schemes and acts to improve upon these aspects, but had the government been more transparent with its governance, corruption would not have damaged the growth of our nation. There were established watchdogs to keep a vigilant eye upon the activity of the government.

The Directorate of Enforcement in 1956 and the Central Vigilance Commission in 1964 were formed for the sole purpose of curbing corruption in the country. But it is substantially evident that even these organisations have not been able to live up to their names.

But on the brighter side, we are developing. Our country is the 7th largest economy and the fastest growing one too, beating China. There do exist policies that encourage start-ups and empower the underprivileged. Inflation rates have gone down along with the fiscal deficit.

The amount of FDI that our country received, as per the budget estimates exceed US$200 billion. Tax reforms and Bankruptcy reforms are working in the favour of banks that have been scammed by corporate vultures. Military stands amongst the best in the world and the new budget allocates US$44 billion for its modernization and upgradation. Life expectancy has boosted up with decrease in IMR and MMR.

There are more dams, nuclear power plants, roads, bridges, railways, airports, etc. today than what there were seventy years ago. Our country is on the road to become a world power by 2030. Hence, even though corruption has slowed us down, development still has not stagnated. But it is an evil that needs to be eradicated.

Merits and Demerits of Media in India

With a population of 1.3 billion, it is not an easy task to make any piece of news or data available to each and every individual resident of our nation. But with the advancement of technology in journalism and digitalisation of the country has made it feasible for them to traverse the 3.28 million square kilometres of geographical area across which India is spread and scoop up information from even the most isolated of the regions.

The Indian media has built a well-connected system across the country. News channels, newspapers, radios, magazines, social media platforms, they have been able to present regional facts and figures in front of the entire nation to assess. This brings the whole country together in a sense of shared sentiment.

An Assamese citizen who has experienced floods will definitely relate to a resident of Kerala when he was exposed to the wrath of the nature earlier 2018, as long as the media is reporting it to him. More importantly, with the variation of culture and ethnicity from one state to another, mass media has helped in indulging tolerance and reducing culture shock.

This has promoted integrity amongst the people from different states living in the same city. Other than that, it usually acts as a platform to promote talent, advertise products and services, entertain and exchange of global ideas and information.

But no matter how positive is may sound, Indian media has a tendency to promote news and information that has generally radiates negative vibes. Our former president, late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had once poised a question that validates this observation: Why is the media here so negative? The industry focuses on three major aspects of news namely- Politics, sports and entertainment.

The first aspect, without any dissent, has crept into the other two facets. Hence, making majority of the information that is consumed feel politically motivated. In addition to that, an average Indian person has the capability to easily manipulate others as well as get manipulated himself.

Political leaders and famous personalities use this fact to their advantage and exploit the media. In the end, mass media is operated by human beings, who have time and again proven to be an inherently selfish species. With the greed of money and power, politicians are able to take over the mantle of media companies, virtually destroying its professionalism.

The platforms are used by the political factions to spread their propaganda and secure a greater vote bank for themselves. This is in fact, one of the most despondent news in itself, the other being the huge issue of lack of credibility, which has been plaguing the industry, especially social media, one of the most trending arms of the industry. Such issues lead to distrust of the people in the media, which in their eyes was supposed to be free and fair.

Media and Governance

It must be very clear by now that corruption is coursing through the veins of both the media industry as well as the government. Yet the two are in no possible way connected to each other. Media has no defined role in governance. It is not a part of any of the three branches of our democracy. Yet, it plays a vital role of empowering the voices of the citizens and gives them a platform from where they can be heard by their political representatives and lawmakers.

The first Press Commission in India had emphasized on the subject of freedom of press under which, it had clearly defined, that the Press can have its own opinions and receive and deliver information without any interference of the government.

This enables the media to be able to access any information they want, publish it in whatever format they desire to, and circulate in whatever manner they see fit. These rights liberate the industry from any kind of pressure from any individual or factions involved in governance of our country, and thus are collectively considered as Freedom of Press.

Freedom of press allows people to build their own opinions and decisions. It helps them make an educated choice based upon extensive knowledge about the topic rather than ignorant guesswork or misinformation. Our first Prime Minister had called the Indian Media ‘the watchdog of our democracy’, this gives the industry an important duty to perform- being a raconteur of our nation. But this communicator has been time and again suppressed by the political Goonda’s.

Yet, we still have hope in the form of the new generation. Digital India policy has exceptionally boosted journalism and outreach of media. The youth of our country is visibly agitated by the inconsistency of the law enforcement departments to curb corruption.

Many independent projects have surfaced using various platforms ranging from internet, newspapers and magazines have come up, fearlessly exposing the incompetence of the personalities in power. They go the distance to provide insightful information about the state of affairs in a citizen’s immediate society as well as the country in general.

They understand the importance of educating the masses, making the people think critically and arrive at a logical conclusion. Their efforts are working in favour of reshaping our democracy into what Lincoln had defined it as. By enlightening the average Indian, we will be able to returning the leash of power back in their hands, making India not just the largest, but also the most efficient democracy in the world.

Achieving a complete ideal governance is a very far-fetched idea. With mass poverty, unemployment and low living conditions still being a huge bother, we can say that our government can still do a better job. This implies that we can improve our governance as long as we can correct the wrong doings, and media plays a very important role in making it possible.

It is this entity which can throw light upon what really matters to the people of our country so that the policy makers realise which direction they have to work upon. At the same time it acts as the fourth, unofficial pillar of democracy, keeping in check the other three- legislation, judiciary and executive.

But its impact will only be felt if it distances itself from the influence of the government. The final aim that media is intended to achieve is to serve the public interest, by utilising multiple outlets and voicing the diverse views that range across the country. Hence if exercised in the proper way, the mass media industry has massive potential to accelerate the growth of India.

“If it were left on me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”  ~Thomas Jefferson.

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Media and Governance: Exploring the Role of News Media in Complex Systems of Governance

Media and Governance: Exploring the Role of News Media in Complex Systems of Governance

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First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this updated volume explores the intersections between governance and media in western democracies, which have undergone profound recent changes. Many governmental powers have been shifted toward a host of network parties such as NGOs, state enterprises, international organizations, autonomous agencies, and local governments. Governments have developed complex networks for service delivery and they have a strategic interest in the news media as an arena where their interests can be served and threatened. How do the media relate to and report on complex systems of government? How do the various governance actors respond to the media and what are the effects on their policies? This book considers the impact of media-related factors on governance, policy, public accountability and the attribution of blame for failures.

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Short Communication

Year: 2018 | Month: October | Volume: 5 | Issue: 10 | Pages: 451-456

Role of Media in Ensuring Good Governance: An Analysis

Dr. pallav mukhopadhyay.

Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism & Mass Communication, West Bengal State University, West Bengal, India

Development Journalists feel that greater stress on `development oriented politics' and greater media attention for such development are absolutely essential. The media should act as partners in various developmental programmes and should perform the role of watchdog on the governance. The media are not only a framework through which news about developmental initiatives is passed on to the larger field of the common man but also a filter through which the common man's perception of government policies and their implementation is brought to the attention of the government. One of its principal objectives may be to gather people's reactions to the programmes and policies of the government and their implementation and to report them back for appropriate and corrective action by the government. But the government, in the present set-up, lacks an organized and effective system to find out and disseminate the perceptions of the common man about various government programmes and initiatives. The media can be made the main channel for collecting and collating the feedback from the people. It is essential to have research wings in academic institutions developing media personnel in reporting news, event analysis and highlights that may help the Government to perform more transparently. This will enable our journalists to carry out original research on issues related with the functioning of the Government at Centre and at various States. Indian newspapers and news agencies should encourage research being carried out by journalists within India in academic research institutions, which will definitely improve the quality of reporting and enhance the participation of journalists in building good governance.

Key words: Role, Media, Ensuring, Good, Governance, Analysis.

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Role of Media in Promoting Good Governance

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2021, Precious Miracle kargbo

One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand the popular feeling and give expression to it, another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects"-Mahatma Gandhi.

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role of media in good governance essay

His Holiness Mokshatit (सर्वचेतनसर्वोच्चेतन)

Mass Media can be defined as the means, tools, techniques, etc., that are utilized to distribute or disseminate large volumes of information to the mass audience. Several types and categories of mass media have been developed till date. Media issues combine two broad areas: ‘media’ and ‘issues’ and these two sectors of knowledge contain very different field, approach, perspectives and philosophy to explore and analyze. ‘Media’ here means ‘mass media’ and ‘media issues’ means ‘mass media issues’. The best thing about the mass media is that it immediately provides us with the latest information about the things happening around us. Mass media reports news from all the fields such as politics, sports, international relations, wars, natural calamities, meetings, entertainment, etc. Because of the keen efforts and dedication of the people working in the media and the entertainment sector, our knowledge remains up to date and fresh. With the gained knowledge, we become more smart and outgoing. Many a times, we understand what is good and bad for us through the media programs. For example, the antitobacco and narcotic programs launched by the media have benefited many people to date. The information conveyed about various diseases and their possible treatments has saved the lives of many of us. The contribution of mass media in the fields of arts, education, technology and health care is laudable. We also get the correct information about various crimes and illegal activities happening in our surroundings quite easily. Media is a boon for youngsters in many ways. They get useful information related to their career and higher education mostly through the mass media. The mass media influence or the effects of mass media on the minds of the youth is significant. Media plays a very important role in shaping the personality of people. It has been observed that citizens become more sensible and capable to shoulder their responsibility towards the nation and the society because of the media. We get our role models by hearing about the appreciation of their great deeds from the media itself. Over the years, mass media has played an important role in making people understand the meaning of democracy. We also come to know about the strengths and weaknesses of the economy of our country, the population figures, the various problems faced by the nation, achievements of the nation in different sectors, through the prompt and precise reporting of different forms of media. Media plays an important role in building the sense of unity and pride among the people of the nation. In those countries where there are many castes, religions and languages spoken, media has even more tough responsibility of conveying the true news to the citizens. Media makes the citizens aware of their fundamental rights and their duties towards their families, state and the nation. Utility of the mass media in the areas of advertising and marketing is simply great. The effects of mass media are truly everlasting. Some of the changes in media practices make the frontier very different. Lack of interest by the western media in Asian issues is the case among Asian countries when it comes to western-oriented issues. 'The irony is, the more globalisation we have, the more localised the media are’. The concern now is very local and seldom does one see international news splashed on the front pages. Social network sites encourage widespread sharing of personal information among friends, who may update their pages to describe what they are doing multiple times a day. A consequence of this culture of sharing is that today's children do not feel the need to keep details of their lives private as have older generations. On many of these sites, only people youth accept as "friends" are allowed to see their pages, but many youth find pride in collecting as many "friends" as possible, often befriending 1,000 or more and rendering the distinction between friend and acquaintance non-existent. Some nations can influence and control their media greatly. In addition, powerful corporations also have enormous influence on mainstream media. In some places major multinational corporations own media stations and outlets. Often, many media institutions survive on advertising fees, which can lead to the media outlet being influenced by various corporate interests. Other times, the ownership interests may affect what is and is not covered. Stories can end up being biased or omitted so as not to offend advertisers or owners. The ability for citizens to make informed decisions is crucial for a free and functioning democracy but now becomes threatened by such concentration in ownership. Between television and the Internet, the next generation of news consumers has been raised from a young age on an environment of free information, and newspapers are feeling the effects more and more each year. More than ever before, the Internet has been systematically usurping traditional features of newspapers –classified advertising, job listings and movie reviews for instance- and newspapers are losing the additional revenue streams from these declining aspects alongside their declining circulations. Today, websites like have replaced newspaper classified ads and help wanted postings with free online services. Countless other features have found digital reincarnations in recent years. For example, where the previous generation looked for relationships in a newspaper's "Personals" section, the current generation posts their descriptions and searches for friends on MySpace and Facebook. These websites challenge some of the most important revenue sources for newspapers, and this is having serious effects on the business of newspapers, but what newspapers fear the most is not their readers selling possessions on eBay instead of in a classified ad –it is their readers getting their news from the cornucopia of online news sources that have emerged outside of the traditional newsroom hegemony and challenged their central authority. The real crisis of newspapers today is just that loss of authority. While radio and television news each challenged the newspaper in the past, those two institutions were each professional institutions themselves, complete with their own established professional authorities. With the rise of the Internet, however, the newspaper is being challenged with the very essence of an anti-professional authority -a truly postmodern culture. The previous battles between radio, television and newspapers were battles between similarly structured, vertically integrated hegemonies. Like the Cold War, with the superpowers of the US and the USSR competing for supremacy, the challenges faced by newspapers in the past were against enemies that the newsroom could understand and comprehend. In the past, the necessity of newspapers and professional reporters was seemingly inherent. If something happened in one part of the country, it was inconceivable that word of the event would naturally disseminate itself throughout a populace at any appreciable rate. Newspapers and reporters were therefore necessary to serve as the connecting tissue between the occurrences of the day and an interested audience. Information can only travel as fast as the available technology, and throughout the evolution of mass media, from the printed page, to the radio, to the television, there has been a consistent hegemony surrounding the disseminating forces. Radio and television airwaves are highly regulated, for example, and administrative, logistical and financial barriers prevent the general public from achieving anything greater than "viewer" status. As such, the news industry as a whole has been able to maintain their dominance over the public's access to information. So, the media issue here has been understood as “exploration and analysis of evolving and emerging issues in mass media, including economic, regulatory and technological developments and trends.” The media issues diligently encourage thinking critically about the thorny issues inherent in the newspaper, radio, television, and Internet industries. To evaluate the current ethical, political, and economic controversies upon mass media professions and even outside of the mass media should look media issues from the standpoint of media consumers and determine how to evaluate their coverage by the media. This has been done here in book. In this context this book starts a culture of discussion about Media issues in academic and intellectual fields. From which a new kind of concept, definition, understanding etc. can be outlined for recent change and pattern in mass media issues. At last this book itself has seen media issues from different lenses- Some important social issues created or sustained by the mass media, the motivations of media coverage, Media effects on social change and on popular attitudes, and the importance of a critical attitude while consuming media messages.etc. Now book is in your hand, enjoy. Moksha (Dr. Achyut Aryal) Mokshakuti May 2011 E-mail- [email protected] Blog- www.bmokshya.blogspot.com

jhalak subedi

Rajendra Subba

Gael Robertson

This paper is intended to inform policy makers and implementers – both within government and civil society – concerned with the Right to Information (RTI). The paper provides a narrative on how RTI has evolved in the country with some comparisons made with the international context. The paper stresses the importance of external support to RTI. This is followed by a discussion on the resistance and challenges to implementing RTI across a range of stakeholders – political parties, government and civil society. The report makes use of results and evidence coming out of key interventions funded by the Enabling State Programme (ESP). Lessons and Top Tips are drawn on the implementation of initiatives focusing on RTI which could be useful in the design and implementation of governance-related projects in the future.

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Foreign Aid and the making of Democracy in Nepal brings fresh insight and analytic rigor on the ambivalent contribution that international cooperation and the Nepalese polity has made to democracy and economic growth in Nepal. At a time when the Nepalese people are coping with unfinished institutions -- a democratic deficit --, alongside fiscal, social and economic deficits, and with the prevalent ineffectiveness of foreign aid, Nepal and its donors need now more than ever the kind of dispassionate, rigorous scholarship by Nepalese scholars found in this book. The contributions in this book show policymakers, researchers and the public why they need to question conventional wisdom about development and democracy, and demonstrate the value of undertaking systematic analysis before formulating policy and deciding development priorities.

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The Review of the legislative framework and jurisprudence concerning the right to adequate food in Nepal discusses overarching aspects of Nepalese law and jurisprudence dealing with the human right to food. Following a brief discussion of the international legal protection of the right to food in Nepal, the review, in particular provides a critical assessment of constitutional as well as legislative provisions and offers a thorough analysis of Supreme Court jurisprudence pertaining to the right to food. In addition to judicial remedy, the review also covers non-judicial means of remedy against the violation of food rights. This review comes at an opportune moment in the sense that Nepal's constitution-making process is yet to be completed and there are also a number of ongoing legislative and policy initiatives towards protection and promotion of the right to food. This review provides detailed knowledge to concerned stakeholders on normative and implementation gaps in relation to the right to adequate food. With the view of assisting Nepal in this process, the review also offers a set of concrete recommendations, touching upon a wide range of aspects of the human right to adequate food. This work was undertaken under the global project entitled"Integrating the Right to Adequate Food and Good Governance in National Policies, Legislation and Institutions” (GCP/GLO/324/NOR Right to Food at Country Level) run by the FAO Right to Food Team, in collaboration with the Development Law Service and the Office in Nepal of FAO. The project aims to address country challenges by promoting human rights-based approach in efforts to achieve food security at all levels, in legislation, policy and programme design and formulation, decision and implementation. By producing this analysis, FAO aims to assist the Government of Nepal, the Constituent Assembly, the Judiciary, the National Human Rights Institutions, and civil society organizations in their initiatives towards advancing the human right to adequate food.

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The nature of the state in Nepal can be categorized as a federal state. Nepal has moved unitary government to a federal government structure. The main causes for Nepal to shift to the federalism changed attitude and behaviour of central offices and provide adequate financial, human and physical resources at the local levels. During the king monarchy peoples of Nepal has not enjoyed at least their basic human rights. Many people live far from the capital city had no access to education, health or security. Every facility centralized to the elite and politicians. Therefor majority of people were suppressed by the king’s rule and his autocratic power and it leads to Nepal to start a civil war and federalization.

Challenges in political instability has introduced Federal System in Nepal overthrowing monopoly of Unitary System, but the corruption is Nepal had proved that the system seems to be short period experiments and the civilians are going to blame themselves for the destruction of the Rule of Law.


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Good Governance Paper No. 17: How to Use the Bureaucracy to Govern Well

by Rebecca Ingber

October 31, 2020

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Civil service , Good Governance Papers

[Editors’ note: This essay is one in a series—the  Good Governance Papers —organized by  Just Security . In these essays, leading experts explore actionable legislative and administrative proposals to promote non-partisan principles of good government, public integrity, and the rule of law. For more information, you can read the  Introduction  by the series’ editors.]

In every new presidential administration, the President and political appointees come to power with strong views about the policies they wish to enact and the substantive breaks they wish to make with the administration that came before – including views on where the U.S. government should change legal positions on key issues. But views on substantive positions alone are not enough preparation for a new administration seeking to impose its values on the government. And policy preparation on substance is especially insufficient when an incoming administration’s values include norms of process – such as adherence to the rule of law, policymaking based in expertise and information, and the neutral application of justice – that stand in contrast to those of an outgoing administration. At least as important for a new Administration is consideration of how to implement its positions and promote its values within what I call the “bureaucratic architecture” of the executive branch and how to organize that bureaucratic architecture to inform good decisionmaking when novel issues arise. I will call such affirmative consideration of process-based values and how to structure the bureaucracy to accomplish substantive goals “Intentional Bureaucratic Architecture.”

Below I offer four concrete recommendations for deploying Intentional Bureaucratic Architecture within the executive branch. But first, I will establish three key background considerations that provide context for these recommendations.  The focus of this piece is primarily executive branch legal decisionmaking, but many of these recommendations apply equally to other areas of policymaking.

First, make room for the views and expertise of career officials. As a political appointee entering a new office, ask those career officials: What are the big issues on the horizon on which we will need to take policy or legal views?  What are the problems with the positions I am inheriting?  What is and is not working?  Where are the points of conflict with our allies abroad or with Congress?  Career officials are the institutional memory of the government and often the only real experts in the specific work of their agency.  They will know about the skeletons in the closet and where the bodies are buried and all the other metaphors for knowing things that other people do not. Turn to them early. Value them. They will have views informed by experience rather than partisan politics. But all bureaucratic actors, including civil servants, also bring to the table their own biases, and they may overvalue the priorities of their own office over others. Valuing their role does not mean handing the reins over to the civil service—good governance requires exercising judgement and balancing the benefits of experience and expertise with fresh eyes and leadership. A savvy bureaucratic actor might know how to “get around” the bureaucratic roadblocks, but the wise bureaucratic player also knows how much the career bureaucracy has to offer and exercises judgment based in clear values about when to defer and when to overrule.

Second, get ahead of decisions: choose vehicles for action carefully and early. The reality of government life is that much of the big decisionmaking happens in the face of a fire drill. As I’ve written elsewhere, the trigger or “interpretation catalyst” that compels the government to consider and assert a position—in other words, the cause of that fire drill—shapes the whole process of decisionmaking and the resulting decision. When an issue arises in defensive litigation, a litigation-driven process controls.  That means that career line attorneys shape the government’s legal posture, drawing from longstanding positions and often using language from old briefs. DOJ calls the shots in a context biased toward zealous defense of past action. That looks very different from a decisionmaking process that results from the president issuing an executive order or presidential memorandum, a White House official deciding to make a speech, the State Department filing a report with a treaty body, or DOD considering whether to engage in an operation involving force. Each of these interpretation catalysts triggers a different process for decisionmaking that will shape the resulting outcome.  But because of the stickiness of government decisions—and the urgent need to move on to the next fire drill—these positions become entrenched once taken. That means that the process and outcome are driven by the hazards of external events, unless officials find ways to take the reins and get ahead of them.

And finally, an incoming administration must put real effort into Intentional Bureaucratic Architecture by deliberately and deliberatively creating and managing the bureaucratic processes in which decisionmaking happens. Novel issues arise and fire drills will inevitably happen in even the best prepared administrations.  The bureaucratic architecture will dictate how decisionmaking happens from the novel crises to the bread and butter of daily agency work. There are countless varieties of decisionmaking models inside the executive branch, which I have classified in other work. These include a unitary decider model, of which DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is a prime example, an agency decider model, and a group lawyering model. All of these models will continue to co-exist. Most modern national security decisionmaking engages the interests and operations of multiple agencies. Therefore, in a functional government, most of these decisions will involve group lawyering in some format—from agency lawyers picking up the phone to coordinate with counterparts in other agencies to ad hoc meetings to formal regularized working groups with clear hierarchies all the way up to the cabinet. Often these processes evolve organically, as issues arise. Some are created from the top down by presidential administrations that want to impose order on the process. But all of these group lawyering dynamics often lack a well-defined process for determining the outcome in cases of conflict or deciding how to establish a clear output. This requires rule setting and organizing the process from the top down.

How the Executive Branch Should Deploy Intentional Bureaucratic Architecture

What are the components of a bureaucratic architecture that yield good decisionmaking?

Considered conventions. Decisionmaking structures inside the government often develop organically over time and then become entrenched, not through clear intentionality but simply because what has been done before has worn a groove into a path. This can result in ill-considered patterns with respect to who controls the pen on a given decision, which decisionmakers are regularly part of the process, what role the White House or partisan politics can play in particular types decisionmaking, how conflicts are resolved, and who is the ultimate authority. Decisions about process may and should have different answers depending on the particular task at hand, as all of these factors will heavily influence the output, but this requires an intentional, considered approach to decisionmaking that is often lacking.

Recommendation 1: Senior policymakers in a new Administration, including legal advisors, should step back and assess the overarching conventions they intend to govern decisionmaking. These must include, at a minimum, re-instating buffers between partisan politics and law enforcement and intelligence decisions, and shielding experts from partisan meddling in their factual reports or legal analysis, as well as considerations about when politics can and should influence decisionmaking and promote change.

Criticality of expertise. One key element of good decision-making is the inclusion of decisionmakers with relevant expertise and information as well as a commitment to give those decisionmakers authority over decisions within their areas of expertise. Group decisionmaking is often hailed for bringing together all the relevant players with expertise and interest, and for allowing the full airing of views. But it can also stifle dissent, promote group think, and reduce a sense of accountability among the various decisionmakers. It can dilute the relevant expertise in the room, for example when the entire group is asked to weigh in on a matter on which only a small subset have expertise—such as a question of international law. Inclusion is not enough. There must be a strong connection between the relevant expertise in the room and authority over decisions deploying that expertise.

Recommendation 2: The State Department Legal Adviser’s office, which holds much of the government’s expertise in international law, should receive some deference on those matters, as should other offices when they have specific expertise that other agency actors do not. Executive branch lawyers who convene and oversee group legal processes, such as the National Security Council Legal Adviser, the White House Counsel, the Attorney General, or others, must ensure that dissenting views are heard, and that the relevant expertise is not merely in the room, but also given appropriate weight.

Clarity of output . Often, and particularly on matters of significant debate, as I have explored in the context of Obama era war powers lawyering , group decisionmaking results in an ambiguous output. This arises because actors seeking consensus will coalesce around the lowest common denominator, the most basic premise around which they can agree, and will inevitably have to stop at a level of generality when there is debate over anything more precise. When the question on the table is the legality of action, and there are differing views on the appropriate legal rationale, this may result in a decision to act but with no clear consensus on why it is lawful. In fact, this may mean that the government takes action even when a majority of the relevant officials are opposed to any one legal rationale for doing so. In addition, the fire drill phenomenon addressed above can result in the need to orally brief under time pressure a legal rationale that is then inadequately memorialized—or recognized to be insufficiently theorized—after the fact. Intentional bureaucratic architecture requires attention to output, including the legal analysis undergirding that output. At a minimum, the outcome should be clear and disseminated to the relevant government stakeholders. Moreover, making the output public (or as much of it as possible) incentivizes clarity of output and allows for broader debate and accountability when the legal rationale for government action is overly generalized or otherwise weak.

Recommendation 3: The National Security Council Legal Adviser, White House Counsel, Attorney General, the State Department Legal Adviser, as well as the other general counsels of departments and agencies, should establish guidelines for their offices as well as for their group processes to memorialize their legal rationale for government action, with a presumption that they will publish that view unless they provide a compelling reason that prevents it.

Re-considering Consistency. Consistency is an important value in governance, but it can at times be used instrumentally as a barrier to necessary change, especially when a president who values norms favoring consistency follows an administration that has flouted them. This can create a tension: an administration that seeks to restore the buffers around law enforcement decisions from a White House that has politicized it, for example, will first need to be able to clean up the decisions left over from that Justice Department. Even within a given administration, it is important to be able to reconsider certain decisions, given the often ad hoc and firedrill-driven nature of decisionmaking noted above.

Implementing intentional bureaucratic architecture must include consideration for  when consistency is a critical value. Has there been significant reliance on the position the government has espoused? Have other parties, such as treaty partners, organized themselves around the position? Will people or other parties be harmed as a result of a change? At times a stable system is more important than any particular substantive set of rules, but often the converse is true. And it is particularly dangerous to entrench decisions that are not reached through cautious, deliberative, forward-looking processes, that do not appropriately buffer law enforcement or intelligence decisions from partisan politics, that do not appropriately marry expertise to authority, and that do not reflect well-considered rules for addressing conflict and reaching a clear output—in short, decisions reached outside of a well-functioning Intentional Bureaucratic Architecture.

Recommendation 4: The president should request that the Attorney General as well as general counsels of cabinet-level departments and agencies conduct a review alongside career attorneys in their offices of the major, salient decisions made in recent years as well as ongoing decisions for both substance and process. This review should take into account the value of consistency alongside the conventions I discuss above, as well as the nature of the decisionmaking process. This is a modification of norms that historically entrench and favor the status quo without regard for how we ended up there. It is also a significant commitment of time, of which government actors have precious little. But it is necessary to ensure that the single norm of consistency, while often important, does not trump all others.

The structure of decision-making inside the executive branch is often overlooked in favor of the substantive policies Presidents and policymakers come into office seeking to establish.  This is a mistake and a missed opportunity.  Intentional bureaucratic architecture is not only essential to establishing those substantive policies.  It also means entrenching procedural norms of good government and creating an effective decisionmaking structure to make clear, fair, and informed decisions going forward.

About the Author(s)

Rebecca ingber.

Rebecca Ingber ( @becingber ) is a Professor of Law at Cardozo Law and a Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy and senior fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law. From 2021-23, she served as Counselor on International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. She is a Member of the Just Security Editorial Board.

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Example 1) An exemplary case of this collaboration is in the field of senior healthcare, where we are addressing Korea’s challenge of an aging population. Together with Microsoft, Professor Howard Lee from Seoul National University’s Center for Convergence Approaches in Drug Development is conducting research on algorithms aimed at enhancing drug repurposing, which involves discovering new therapeutic uses for drugs, as well as AI-driven improvements to clinical trial design. The outcomes of this research include valuable insights into maximizing cost-effectiveness and improving the accuracy of clinical trials.

Example 2) Microsoft is also supporting research on deep learning for structure-based drug design, led by Professor Choi Sun at Ewha Woman’s University’s Global AI Drug Discovery Research Center. This research has succeeded in rapidly screening molecules with targeted properties and compounds with high binding affinity by analyzing protein and compound data with AI. Microsoft’s domestic AI research collaborations are contributing to significantly reducing the time and cost of drug development in healthcare and improving drugs’ medical efficacy, thereby easing the financial burden of managing geriatric diseases on the national healthcare system.

Example 3) More recently in March 2024, the potential of AI in educational settings has been explored through the lens of a project at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Professor Alice Oh and her team embarked on a journey to harness the educational benefits of AI while mitigating the risk of it being used for shortcuts in academic work. Their solution came in the form of a chatbot developed with support from Microsoft Research’s Advancing Foundation Models Research (AFMR) initiative, launched in April 2023. This initiative aims to propel the development and application of foundation models across various disciplines by providing academic researchers with access to advanced AI models through Azure AI Services. The chatbot developed by Oh and her team is designed to assist English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students with their essay writing, offering guidance without writing the essays for them. Throughout a semester, 213 EFL students interacted with the chatbot, engaging with it as an intelligent peer and utilizing its feedback to refine their essays. The success of the project underscores the significant potential of generative AI in education, particularly in fostering a deeper understanding of problem-solving processes among students. The impact of AI extends beyond the healthcare sector, permeating major domestic industries such as semiconductors, education, batteries, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, and content. As AI continues to drive scientific innovation and socioeconomic transformation, Korea is gearing up to reap its benefits to the fullest. It is also important to note that the foundation of this transformation lies in the hyperscale cloud infrastructure. This infrastructure provides the scalability and flexibility required for rapid innovation and robust AI applications.

AI governance in Korea

In pace with the rapid technological advancements and transformation triggered by AI, Korea was one of the first countries in the world to release a set of widely applicable principles that highlight the importance of grounding and guiding the use and development of technology such as AI in the digital space. ‘The Digital Bill of Rights: Charter for the Values and Principles for a Digital Society of Mutual Prosperity’ lays out the guiding framework for Korea’s vision on AI and influences the country’s legislative, regulatory, and operational approaches to AI. Korea’s vision for AI, as articulated by its government, is rooted in three core principles: 1) Responsible AI, 2) Inclusive AI, and 3) Sustainable AI.

Microsoft’s own principles for AI closely align with the principles of the ‘Digital Bill of Rights.’ Our focus is on Responsible AI, which emphasizes transparency, fairness, ethics, and accountability, while considering societal impacts and privacy. We also aim for Inclusive AI, ensuring equitable access and benefits for everyone. Moreover, we are dedicated to Sustainable AI, utilizing it for the betterment of humanity and minimizing adverse effects.

Moreover, our commitment is also to empowering a vibrant and open market for AI to flourish. During the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in March this year, we unveiled our commitment to responsible AI through the announcement of our ‘AI Access Principles.’ The 11 principles fall under 3 major themes: 1) Providing access and support for AI developers who create models and applications, 2) Ensuring choice and fairness across the AI economy, and 3) Meeting our societal responsibilities.

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The ‘AI Access Principles’ serve as our compass, guiding Microsoft’s role and responsibility as an AI innovator and market leader. Our principles signal a profound shift, they pledge Microsoft to unprecedented investments, robust business partnerships, and expansive programs aimed at fostering innovation and competition. We recognize that AI’s transformative potential extends beyond corporate boundaries; it touches lives globally. By articulating these principles, we commit to providing broad technology access empowering organizations and individuals worldwide to wield AI for the greater good. Our initiatives around the world, including substantial AI datacenter investments and skilling programs, underscore our dedication to translating these principles into action.

Road to 2024 Seoul AI Safety Summit

As we approach the 2024 Seoul Safety Summit in May, we reflect on the strides made in the field of AI and the importance of ensuring its responsible development and deployment. The Summit serves as a platform for thought leaders, innovators, and policymakers to come together and discuss the guiding principles that will shape the future of AI. We applaud the Korean government’s efforts to work together with the global community to develop AI safety governance and policies that are globally coherent and foster a safe but collaborative approach to AI. Korea has a unique opportunity to take full advantage for global leadership in AI Safety governance in the upcoming 2024 Seoul AI Safety Summit by imploring and inspiring other nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, to come together and cooperate for international regulatory coherence, as the world seeks to ensure safer governance of AI. This would help to foster trust, collaboration, and innovation across borders and sectors, and enable Korea to become a hub in the Asia-Pacific region for AI safety governance.

Article 28 of the ‘Digital Bill of Rights,’ which implores nations and companies to come together and cooperate to create universal digital norms and mechanism, could be leveraged, and specified as guiding principles for AI safety governance of highly advanced AI, i.e., Frontier AI. For example, Governments, Companies, Civil Societies, and Academia should:

  • Work together in support of one another to develop universally coherent AI safety standards. These standards would provide guidance and benchmarks for ensuring the quality, reliability, and security of AI systems and their outcomes.
  • Increase investments in developing evaluations for highly capable AI and foster partnerships for sharing best practices around how to develop and conduct these evaluations. Evaluations are essential for assessing the performance, impact, and risks of AI systems and ensuring that they align with the intended goals and values. By sharing best practice, countries can learn from each other and improve their evaluation methods and frameworks.
  • Work to develop and implement policies for the identification, assessment, and management of risks related to highly capable AI models.
  • Work to enhance transparency concerning the capabilities and risks of AI models and systems, and the policies and practices to ensure safety.
  • Continue to evaluate and improve internal governance policies to make AI safer and more transparent. This would include compliance monitoring, and clear delegation of related roles and responsibilities for internal governance on AI safety.

In closing…

I would like to highlight that Microsoft is honored to be working with the National Information Society Agency (NIA) in developing this paper and hope it serves to demonstrate our commitment to the core principles embedded in Korea’s ‘Digital Bill of Rights’ as well as Microsoft’s ‘AI Access Principles’ which echo and resonate deeply with one another.

This partnership and our continuing activities in the global AI domain emphasize Korea’s position as a visionary leader in influencing global norms in AI governance.

We invite you to explore this whitepaper — a roadmap toward mutual prosperity through responsible AI governance. This whitepaper provides a comprehensive exploration of Korea’s strides in AI governance, reflecting our ongoing efforts to promote responsible, inclusive, and sustainable technological innovation on a global scale.

Together, let us navigate the digital frontier, ensuring AI serves humanity’s best interests.

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