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Article by Daniel O’Maley published on www.cima.ned.org

Author: Olga Komarova | 1. May 2018

Tracking donor efforts to support media development is fundamental to assessing whether enough resources are being directed at these efforts, and whether those resources are being channeled to the areas of most pressing need. From 2015 to 2016, overall levels of donor support for global media development remained largely unchanged. This is according to the latest data published by CIMA as part of the Media Development Donor Profiles initiative, which aims to give the broader media development community a better understanding of the efforts of donors, both public and private, in supporting news media development worldwide. When the new data from 2016 is compared to previous reporting on media development funding levels in 2015, we see that support from individual donors has remained relatively constant.

A Rise in Media Development Funding Had Yet to Materialize in 2016

In many ways, 2016 was a watershed year in terms of popular recognition of the powerful role media plays in our societies. There was a general realization that the a weakened media ecosystem can be seriously detrimental to broader social cohesion as the spread of disinformation and media capture by political interests can distort the public sphere. In response, during 2016 and 2017 a number of donors announced increased financial support for media development. However, based on the responses provided to CIMA, these significant commitments have not yet been reflected in donor budgets.

Surprising Shifts in Donor Priorities

The top five funding priorities as reported by donors who responded to CIMA’s latest survey provide an interesting snapshot of how many donors are targeting their support. The importance of priorities is self-reported by donors and does not necessarily correlate to the amount of money they are spending on each programmatic theme. Nonetheless, these are useful in understanding how donors conceptualize their work, and what type of projects they consider to be most needed. Investigative journalism, access to information, and freedom of information remain in the top five when compared with CIMA’s 2015 survey of donor priorities. New additions to the list include journalist training and direct assistance to media outlets, while business sustainability and internet freedom no longer appear. Given that worldwide the subscription and advertising model that has traditionally supported independent media has worsened over the past few years, it is perhaps no surprise that donors now appear willing to provide more direct assistance to media outlets for basic operations in order to keep them afloat.

Read full article by Daniel O’Maley published on 30 March, 2018 here.


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