The GFMD improves the media development field by encouraging collaboration, thereby avoiding duplication, setting strategic priorities and highlighting important media development programs and technologies.
The GFMD is effectively coordinating efforts in regions such as Eurasia and since 2013 we are organising the coordination of media assistance in Syria. Recently we have been supporting coordination meetings on Yemen, Burundi and MENA.
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White Paper on Effective Support to Syrian Independent Media released
8 June 2015, Brussels. Drawing on the input of more than 50 Syrian professionals and international media development organizations, the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) releases a comprehensive set of recommendations for donors, implementers, and Syrian media, summarized in the paper: “A Call for Effective Support to Syrian Independent Media as a Key Component in Mitigating and Resolving the Syrian Conflict".
This paper calls for enhanced and improved support to the Syrian independent media sector, as a vital component of donors’ response to the conflict in Syria. The key recommendations are:
- Long-term, flexible, and adequately funded donor engagement supporting independent media must play a key role in the response to the Syrian conflict.
- The Syrian audience must be central to donor projects, including support for understanding the news and information needs of the Syrian public and improving the distribution of independent media to the Syrian public.
- A comprehensive approach to the Syrian media sector will be most effective.
- Syrian media professionals, media development implementers, and donors must coordinate their work.
“Lasting popular support for a democratically oriented and moderate future for Syria will not be obtained without a population well informed by an independent and professional media, ” says the report.
Experience in conflict zones over the past 20 years has shown that citizens with access to reliable, professional, and independent news and information services are a key element in supporting democratic transition and in conflict de-escalation. Donor support has been critical for the survival of a small but independent Syrian media sector, but as we hit the four year mark in this conflict, should donors, implementers, and Syrians perhaps re-evaluate their approach based on lessons learned from the previous support efforts?
Syria has been the world’s most dangerous country for journalists for the last three years as killings, kidnappings, and death threats have become commonplace. Extremist groups and the political opposition run effective propaganda campaigns; however, a group of media professionals remain committed to providing independent journalism to the population. Using television, radio, newspapers, the internet, and social media, they are nonetheless struggling hard to provide Syrians with the news and information they need to survive in a context also often described as a "war of information".
The GFMD (www.gfmd.info) is an international membership network of media assistance groups that highlights the importance of independent, pluralistic and sustainable media in social and economic development. Since 2013 it has helped lead a coordination effort between international media development organizations and Syrian media professionals that has resulted in enhanced cooperation between donor projects, provided greater voice to Syrians on their specific needs, and improved the dialogue between donors and the media development sector.
An Arabic translation will soon be available.