Politics and Rethinking Media Development

Understanding the politics of media development is required to better support enabling environments for free and independent media in emerging democracies.

Media development has not produced the results that many had hoped for in the early promising years of the post-Soviet period. quote

Too little funding, a lack of coordination among media development actors, and a dearth of data continue to undermine the effectiveness of media development efforts worldwide.

From a strategic standpoint, however, the failure of the media development community to fully understand the inherently political nature of media systems, and any external effort to stimulate them, has been a key problem. Other areas of development have begun tackling the politics of their work, and now it is time for the media development community to follow suit.

In CIMA’s latest paper, we deal with the prickly issue of The Politics of Media Development. The aim of the paper is to start a conversation about the political nature of media systems and how the media development community should think and act more politically in its approaches to improving the enabling environment for free and independent media. With better understanding of the external forces that drive and shape media systems in developing countries, donors and implementers could develop more sustainable and locally-driven interventions to strengthen the enabling environment for independent media.

Much more work must be done to figure out how the media development community should manage the politics of media development. We hope this paper helps start a conversation around this issue. In addition, please join us on September 30th for our event on the politics of media development where we hope to delve further into this topic.

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