Supporting Media at a Time of Crisis: Donors Explore New Strategies

This report, the last in a series that has explored entry points for strengthening international cooperation in the media sector, sheds some light on these questions. Based on 27 interviews with representatives of both private and official donor agencies, it examines the major obstacles and stumbling blocks that will have to be avoided if global support to the media sector is increased. The institutional impediments to effective aid, the report finds, are frequently related to limited human capacity and expertise in media at the donor organizations and a misalignment of support and needs. The cross-donor collaborations currently being considered can help to address these shortcomings, though not without risks.

Strengthening the United Nations’ Role in Media Development

The United Nations made a promise in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human to promote free and independent media around the world. Citizens cannot “seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any medium, regardless of frontiers” without access to a vibrant media sphere, including a free and open internet. But how does the UN interpret and act upon this obligation? How is that changing? And how can the UN help create a more effective response to the profound challenges confronting independent media?

China's New Media Dilemma: The Profit in Online Dissent

Studies on the development of Chinese media often diverge greatly in answering the question of which force will prevail: the government, with its unparalleled capacity to curb free expression, or liberal voices, aided by new media. In CIMA's latest report, author Louisa Chiang makes the case that the outcome may be contingent on technological and commercial factors that are now in flux.

Big Data, Not Big Brother: New Data Protection Laws and the Implications for Independent Media Around the World

For years, the road to news media financial sustainability was said to be paved with data—digital news outlets were counseled to collect as many details about their readers as possible in order to deliver more relevant content as well as to support more lucrative, targeted advertising. Yet, more recently, citizens and policymakers alike have grown concerned about the pervasive tracking of web users. This has led to a new wave of data protection laws and regulations worldwide that seek to empower people and curtail the excessive collection of personal data.

How Social Media Taxes Can Burden News Outlets: The Case of Uganda

In July 2018, the government of Uganda implemented a tax on individual users of social media platforms. In the first three months following the introduction of the tax in the country, internet penetration dropped from 47 percent to 35 percent. Given that a significant amount of news circulation now happens via social media and messaging apps, how might this new tax impact the news media ecosystem? The negative effects on news media are less direct and arguably more pernicious than might be expected.

Media Development and the Open Government Partnership: Can Improved Policy Dialogue Spur Media Reforms?

The global effort to promote open and transparent government creates new opportunities to put media development on the political agenda of countries around the world. This report looks in particular at the structures of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which in its 2016 Paris Declaration characterized the media as a “crucial force for transparency and accountability.” In an era of democratic backsliding and declining public trust in institutions of all kinds, the need for pluralistic, independent, and high-quality news media has never been more important.

Confronting the Crisis in Independent Media: A Role for International Assistance

With independent media around the world in crisis, what is the role of international donors and private foundations? And how can these international actors provide effective support when the driving forces behind independent media’s decline—simultaneously technological, financial, social, political, and institutional—are so complex and difficult to disentangle?

“Free Internet” and the Costs to Media Pluralism: The Hazards of Zero-Rating the News

In many countries, mobile operators have teamed up with social media platforms to offer free access to specific websites or internet services—including news websites. The most well-known of these offerings, Facebook’s Free Basics, has been explicitly pitched as a way to give citizens in developing countries greater access to news, but Facebook is not the only company touting these so-called “zero-rated” arrangements as a bridge across the digital divide. This report examines whether these arrangements are broadening access to diverse sources of news, as promised, and whether they might have broader consequences for the news market.

Tracking Media Development Donor Funding

International donors, both public and private, play an essential role in media development worldwide. Visit our Media Development Donor Profiles page for all of CIMA’s research on donor funding levels and strategic priorities.

What is Media Development?

The term “media development” refers to evolution and change in the fields of news media and communications. This evolution can be stimulated by donor support, private investment, or indigenous processes of change led by media owners, managers, journalists, or other players such as media industry associations, or other collective efforts.


Press Freedom Scores


In Montenegro, business leaders and government pressure independent media. The government tends to play favorites towards certain public media outlets. In addition, right to access is not always respected, especially with regards to government corruption incidents. Check out what the major media freedom indices have to say. (All scores are adjusted to a 0-100 scale).

  • IREX
  • FH
  • RSF