Call for Journalists: Stories on Strengthening Compliance with the Law at the Local Level

Global Integrity and CIPE are seeking to commission local governance stories from journalists around the world. Stories should focus on efforts by governments and citizens to strengthen the enforcement and implementation of good governance laws that, for example, improve accountability and foster a better business environment at the local level. We are fundamentally interested in commissioning stories that detail the challenges in enforcing transparency, good governance, and ethics laws at the local level in countries.

Global Integrity is a non-governmental organization committed to generating cutting-edge information that can inform governance reform efforts, and CIPE (Center for International Private Enterprise) is dedicated to strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.

Over the past several decades, local governments in many countries have witnessed a proliferation of domestic and international rules and regulations under their jurisdiction. With greater decision-making power, both political and budgetary, local governments are responsible for enforcing the policies initiated at upper levels of government. For many reasons, these laws have failed to realize their stated objectives, including greater representation, stronger accountability, and efficient service delivery.

The reasons for the gap between legal frameworks and their enforcement are complex, especially at the local level. Some of the factors include (but are by no means limited to): weak or uneven citizen participation in governance to create pressure on local governments to better comply with the law; the role of informal relations in enforcing or circumventing laws; public apathy and cynicism; and power relations (the lack of discretionary power or its manipulation by key actors). 

As part of a broader local governance manual being published by Global Integrity and CIPE this year, Global Integrity is commissioning up to three (3) journalistic stories of no more than 1,000 words that tell a story around efforts at the local level to implement good governance laws and regulations on the books. We are interested in both success stories as well as failures, and in stories that focus on the role of both government and non-governmental actors (both private and civic) in promoting better enforcement of laws and regulations on the books.

Examples of potential story ideas include:

-The recent mandated increase in indigenous representation in Bolivia has resulted in "vigilance committees" that monitor elected local bodies. Has this initiative had a real impact in assuring that local expenditures are distributed more equitably?

-Administrative decentralization in Cambodia started in 2002. Despite elections of provincial and district councils, the effectiveness of these councils has yet to be determined. Even with laws to foster local governance, are ministries reluctant to relinquish positions of power?

-At the community level, Kenyans often have high expectations of accountability within their group, but these expectations vanish at higher levels of government. What leads to this poor translation of expectations? Are Kenyans truly cynical about broader civic engagement?

Please follow this link to CIPE’s Development Blog to find more about what CIPE wants these stories to cover.

Submission Details:

Pieces that provide a human perspective on how and why good governance legal frameworks are difficult to implement at the local level, including stories about successful efforts to comply with the law, are welcome. Please contact us at [email protected] with a one to three paragraph proposal of your idea and how it relates to the aforementioned themes. Upon selection of a story proposal, the final written pieces should be approximately 1,000 words in length. These pieces will be incorporated into a practical manual on closing the good governance “implementation gap” expected to be published before the end of the year. We anticipate being able to pay authors roughly US$1,000 for their piece.

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