Media Reform amid Political Upheaval: Lessons from Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Ukraine

Countries experiencing political upheaval often embark on media sector reform, but many efforts fall short in their implentation. By analyzing historical and ongoing case studies of countries in transition—Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Ukraine—key lessons emerge about catalyzing momentum for a grassroots, demand-driven media reform vision even in the most volatile countries.

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.

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

Some would argue that the Chinese Communist Party has successfully reinvented authoritarian communication for the 21st century, combining both Orwellian and Huxleyean features of surveillance and thought control. Yet, a closer look reveals some cracks in what otherwise appears to be an unassailable system of control.

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.

Internet Governance and Media Development

While at first blush discussions about digital regulation, technical protocols, and infrastructure may seem distant from the concerns of news media, in fact, they ultimately have a direct impact on who is able to access the internet and how that information flows on the global network.

This series of videos introduces viewers to key issues in internet governance and explains how they impact broader media development efforts. Internet governance refers to all of the policies, processes, and technologies that structure of the Internet.

These videos present concrete examples of how different aspects of internet governance affect news producers and consumers. Together, these episodes point to the urgent need for a conversation among journalists, civil society activists, policymakers, engineers, and digital media companies about how the internet should be governed to safeguard the health of the public sphere in countries around the world.

Episode 1: The “Right to be Forgotten”

Episode One shows how the “right to be forgotten” that various countries are beginning to enforce can protect people from the stigma of an embarrassing past but might also limit access to important information of public interest.

Episode 2: Encryption

Episode Two illustrates the importance of digital security for journalists and activists in an era of increasing online surveillance and how improvements in technical encryption standards can help create the conditions for free speech to thrive.

Episode 3. Zero-rating

Episode Three introduces the concept of “zero-rating,” the policy of providing free but limited internet that is becoming popular in the developing world, and warns of the danger that zero-rating creates an uneven playing field in the online market for news.

Episode 4. Sustainability

Episode Four demonstrates how social media platforms’ decisions about how to display and rank content can have dramatic effects on news producers’ abilities to reach audiences.

CIMA welcomes you to use and reproduce the series as an educational and awareness-raising tool. Small-file versions of each episode that you can download and share via email or messaging app are available here: Part 1: The Right to Be Forgotten”, Part 2: Encryption, Part 3: Zero-rating, and Part 4: Sustainability.


Read more of CIMA’s work on Internet Governance