A vibrant news sector is fundamental to sustainable development and effective governance and is the last line of defence against democratic backsliding. Yet independent media—the kind that provides an essential public service—has been in decline for nearly a decade. A collapse of the traditional journalistic business model, growing political polarization, democratic backsliding, increasing media capture and the added burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a “media extinction event”.
Despite these threats, independent media are given low priority in international cooperation. Support to the media sector has stagnated at just 0.3 per cent of official development assistance. However, there is growing recognition of the need for established democracies to protect independent journalism globally.
To channel the renewed momentum and commitment among many states to protecting independent media as a cornerstone of democracy support, this webinar will discuss the common principles that need to be in place to strengthen international media assistance.
What? GFMD is partnering with the Centre for International Media Assistance (CIMA) to organise a webinar to discuss the key principles that need to be in place to guide donors and funders in their implementation of commitments made to protecting freedom of media and supporting independent journalism. (More details in the draft concept note)
Why now? The webinar will provide recommendations to the Summit for Democracy (9-10 Dec.) hosted by the Biden administration, preceding a “year of action”, as well as inputs to the Global Media Freedom Conference (9-10 Feb. Tallinn, Estonia).
Moderators: Nick Benequista, Senior Director, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) & Mira Milosevic, Executive Director, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
Discussion Panel: Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director, Skeyes (Lebanon), Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi, Chief, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, UNESCO, Justin Williams, Governance Adviser, Media Development and Digital at UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Marija Ristic, Regional Director, BIRN (Belgrade/Sarajevo), Sulemana Braimah, West African Media Foundation (Ghana), Zoe Titus, Director, Namibia Media Trust & chair of GFMD (Namibia).
Agenda: The draft concept note outlining the rationale for developing principles for effective media assistance will be presented by the moderators.
- Representatives from donors and intergovernmental organisations will be asked to talk about why this is needed and how developing these principles could be used and adopted by the international supporters of media development.
- Representatives from regional and national media development actors (as well as those attending the webinar) what principles for effective media development are most important to them.
Organisation: Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)