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

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!

The Untapped Potential of Regional Cooperation for Media Reform in Southern Africa

The 1991 adoption of the Windhoek Declaration in Namibia ushered in a continent-wide commitment to supporting independent media in Africa. Despite initial progress, including the establishment of the regional Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), independent media in the region continues to suffer. However, there remains strong enthusiasm among media actors in Southern Africa to reignite a regional network to promote solidarity, address the myriad challenges independent media in the region face, and articulate an African vision and agenda for media development.

Youth and the News in Five Charts

As youth populations continue to grow in low-and-middle income countries, it is critical for independent media organizations to understand and respond to the changing news habits of younger generations. A snapshot of youth news consumption habits in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Thailand highlights that the predominance of smartphones, and increasing access to the internet and social media, is fundamentally altering how youth access, interact with, and value independent news.

Are Punchlines the New Front Lines of Media Development?

Satirical comedy is uniquely effective in its ability to bolster media development objectives. Through its ability to attract audiences and provide news commentary in an entertaining way, it can be used as an important tool to promote freedom of expression, foster accountability and transparency, counter disinformation, strengthen media literacy, and support more sustainable business models for media outlets. Donor funded satire news and current affairs programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kenya, North Macedonia, Nigeria, Serbia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe demonstrate the format’s ability to advance these objectives, and make the case for greater integration of satire in international media assistance programs.

Local Radio Stations in Africa: Sustainability or Pragmatic Viability?

Despite the explosion of digital news outlets globally, millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa continue to rely on radio as the most accessible independent news source. However, radio stations across continent are facing unprecedented threats to their sustainability due to weak media markets, limited advertising revenue and intense competition. A more pragmatic understanding of viability and more flexible donor strategies can help these outlets stay on air and maintain their independence.

The Rise of Internet Throttling: A Hidden Threat to Media Development

An increasing number of governments around the world are forcing internet service providers to slow their services during critical sociopolitical junctures—a practice known as throttling—infringing on citizens’ right to information and freedom of expression. Despite its deleterious impact on media development and foundational rights, throttling remains an often-neglected topic and risks becoming a pervasive, yet hidden, threat to press freedoms, democracy, and human rights.

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