Publication Date: August 2015
Research and Editorial Team: Paul Rothman

The media development community must rethink its approaches to public sector engagement in more holistic efforts to improve the environment for media systems in emerging and fragile democracies. This paper outlines the key role of political support, the need for more nuanced understanding of political context, and how donors and implementers can more effectively engage drivers of change in the public sector to build support for media and thereby aid media development efforts. Media development approaches espoused in this paper apply to countries where there is at least nominal space for civil society and the media to operate and where some level of engagement of public institutions is possible. The ultimate goal of a political approach to media development is to help create an enabling political and legal environment for media that allows independent media outlets, journalists, and other actors to operate freely and with equitable access to finance and information. But beyond the laws and institutions that are required to safeguard such an environment, a political approach to media development is meant to help local actors build broad-based political support among public sector leaders. Instead of treating the public sector as a monolithic obstacle to progress in the media space, it is time to engage potential drivers of change in the public sector and help build bridges between them and leaders in the private sector and civil society who demand a free and independent media.

Tags: Worldwide

The content of this article can be used according to the terms of Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) . To do so use the the wording "this article was originally published on the Resource Centre on Media Freedom in Europe" including a direct active link to the original article page.