An Analysis of the Media Environment in Europe and Eurasia: The Launch of IREX’s 2009 Media Sustainability Index Europe and Eurasia

msi-launch_7-16-09IREX’s 2009 Media Sustainability Index for Europe and Eurasia provides an in-depth analysis of the strength and viability of the independent media sector in 21 countries of Europe and Eurasia during 2008 and shows trends in the media sector since 2001. To arrive at its rankings, the MSI considered a number of factors, such as journalists’ professionalism, management capabilities, and the legal environment supporting freedom of the press, among others. Its scores represent the strength of media sector components and can be analyzed over time to chart progress or regression in a country. The MSI was first conceived in 2000 and launched in 2001, in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Leon Morse, IREX’s project manager for the MSI Europe and Eurasia, gave a brief overview of the MSI methodology and discuss some of its findings, including: trends in professionalism and the impact of small markets on journalism quality; threats to the media sector in both the new democracies and reform holdouts, and; and analysis of MSI results since 2001. Panelists Meg Gaydosik and Elez Biberaj discussed the challenges to press freedom that journalists experience in the region. Nadia Diuk moderated the event.


Leon Morse

With Comments from

Meg Gaydosik
U.S. Agency for International Development*

Elez Biberaj
Voice of America

Moderated by

Nadia Diuk
National Endowment for Democracy

About the Speakers

Leon Morse is an international media development specialist with more than ten years of experience working and living in developing countries. At IREX, he is the managing editor of the Media Sustainability Index. In this role he is responsible for overseeing the individual country studies and ensuring the quality of the final editions, both in terms of scoring and content. His work with the Media Sustainability Index provides regional and global perspectives on press freedom issues and the state of media development, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. His past work with IREX includes serving on the team responsible for developing the Media Sustainability Index’s underlying methodology and managing USAID-funded media development projects in several southeast European countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

Meg Gaydosik is the senior media development/rights and tolerance advisor in the Democracy & Governance Office of the Europe and Eurasia Bureau at USAID in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, Gaydosik provides advice and assistance to the USAID missions on independent media development issues including journalism training, business/financial management for media outlets, access to information, and legal protections. Prior to joining USAID, Gaydosik worked for 11 years as an on-site media development consultant and/or project manager in most of the Europe and Eurasia Bureau countries. In 2003, she was awarded a Knight International Fellowship to work with local media NGOs in Central/Eastern Europe. Gaydosik is a former commercial television station manager from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Elez Biberaj is the director of the Eurasia division of the Voice of America (VOA). He is responsible for VOA’s multimedia programming in Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Greek, Macedonian, and Serbian. Biberaj has helped to develop new programming strategies that enable language services to take advantage of new technologies, improve existing programming formats, and better meet audience demands in a highly competitive media environment. Biberaj has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and has authored three books on Albanian affairs.

Nadia Diuk serves as senior director for Europe and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). She has supervised NED programs in this complex region for over twenty years.  Diuk gained her D.Phil. at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

*Note: Meg Gaydosik’s comments will reflect purely her own opinions and experiences. They will not represent the opinions or policies of USAID.