Report offers comprehensive review of international media development

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The Center for International Media Assistance recently released the second edition of its Empowering Independent Media report.

The report is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the media development field, covering developments like digital media and citizen journalism as well as business assessment including funding levels and sustainability issues.

In essence, the report recommends the following on:

·      Funding: expand it, commit to longer-term projects and increase collaboration.

·      Training: embrace digital, teach business, modernize education and include citizen journalists.

·      Policy: support an enabling environment, specifically support investigative journalism, support anti-impunity efforts and build assessment into everything.

The summary of U.S. media development funding is particularly interesting:  U.S. government spending on international media development jumped 56% between 2006 and 2010 to $222 million – which is still just 0.4% of total U.S. foreign assistance.  Media development funding by private U.S. foundations increased 27% in the same period, to a total of $76 million in 2010.  The report provides a detailed analysis of all major donors to media development.

“Anything any foundation wants to do is going to be less effective in countries with disabled or stressed or repressed information systems and will be easier to accomplish in healthy news and information ecosystems,” said Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at Knight Foundation, in the report.

The report provides updates on digital media, citizen journalism, sustainability, legal issues, safety, investigative reporting, education, media literacy, community radio and assessment, with examples of work being done and the main organizations working in each field.

The report was researched and written by the staff team at the Center for International Media Assistance led by Marguerite Sullivan, with investigative journalist David Kaplan serving as the principal writer.

By Amy Starlight Lawrence, project specialist at Knight Foundation.