CIMA's Mission Statement

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is dedicated to improving U.S. efforts to promote independent media in developing countries around the world.

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About CIMA

Our Approach:

We strive to build a foundation of knowledge for media development donors, implementers, and civil society actors on best practices and solutions for improving media systems. We do this because we believe media plays an indispensable role in the creation and development of sustainable democracies.

CIMA focuses on four cross-cutting issue areas in media development: effectiveness, sustainability, innovation, and funding. Together, they encompass efforts to improve the capacity and quality of the media sector.

What we do:

  • Conduct Research
  • Produce Written Analysis
  • Convene Experts
  • Develop Networks of Thought Leaders

What is Media Development?

The term media development refers to evolution and change in the fields of news media and communications. Such change relates to a range of institutions, practices, and behaviors including the rule of law, freedoms of expression and press, education systems for journalists, business environments, capacities of journalists and managers, as well as support for a diversity of views in society. This evolution can be stimulated by donor support, private investment, or local processes of change led by media owners, managers, journalists, media industry associations, and other collective efforts. Read more!

A Slowly Shifting Field: Understanding Donor Priorities in Media Development

Funding to support independent media remains a small, but vital part of international assistance. But while the share of aid directed at this issue remains steady, there are signs that priorities within this field of international support may be shifting. This report looks at the trends identified by CIMA in its efforts to profile the major donors in the field of media development assistance, situating the emerging priorities within a brief history of the field. Assistance to media development, the report suggests, is beginning to acknowledge the importance of supporting media ecosystems more broadly, though perhaps not as quickly as some observers would like.

Media Development in the Digital Age: Five Ways to Engage in Internet Governance

The digital convergence means that how the Internet develops going forward — both in terms of policy and technology — will shape the very environment in which all other media operate. This report makes the case to this community that they can, and must, engage in the decision-making bodies that are shaping Internet governance (IG) to ensure that the Internet — and the growing media sphere it sustains — remains open, pluralistic, and democratic.

The Power of Airwaves: The Role of Spectrum Management in Media Development

Electromagnetic spectrum—the frequencies on which all voice and data signals are transmitted—has been viewed for decades as a scarce resource and leased to the highest bidder like a piece of valuable real estate. This approach to regulating the use of spectrum, however, is no longer appropriate in a digital age that demands that all citizens have access to means of mass communication. This report makes some suggestions for how those interested in media development can better engage in the current debates that will shape the future of spectrum policy and regulation.

Beyond the Great Firewall: How China Became a Global Information Power

For their unprecedented scale and effectiveness, China’s efforts at censorship have been dubbed the “Great Firewall.” China, however, now has grander ambitions. Without much fanfare, the Chinese government has turned its focus outward, seeking to take its influence over the information environment global.

A Lesson from Latin America: Media Reform Needs People Power

Policy reform in favor of more plural and independent media is possible when global networks collaborate with national activists.

State of Emergency in Ethiopia curtails Media Freedom and Threatens Long-term Stability

A year after the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), together with its allies, claimed a 100 percent of the seats in the May 2015 parliamentary elections, the country declared a state of emergency for the first time in 25 years. The government that President Obama called “democratically elected” during his visit just last year took a measure that will suspend citizen’s political and democratic rights and give extra power to security forces. This by no standards reflects a democratically elected government, but rather a military state.

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