Media Development


What are the best methodologies for helping countries to produce a high-quality, sustainable, and independent media? How do we design these programs and measure results? Those are the questions we are trying to answer by looking at the concept of effectiveness. Ensuring the effectiveness and improving outcomes from media development interventions is one of the biggest challenges facing not only donors and program implementers but also country-level activists. Among the tools for measuring longer-term evolution of media systems are indicators such as the Media Sustainability Index and Freedom House’s press freedom indicators.

How are media development programs designed and implemented? What are the tools used for diagnostics and evaluation? What is the impact of media development interventions?

Effectiveness in Media Development

Media development effectiveness grew out of the overall concept of aid effectiveness and the need for donors to show that money is being well spent and used for measurable outcomes. This led to practices such as conditionality and technical assistance, where foreign donors used their development assistance to push for outcomes that were often goals of the foreign donors but not of the country in question. A growing group of experts has pointed out that outside support is more effective when the process is owned and led, not by outsiders, but by the local people concerned.

Many media development practitioners have greatly increased the effectiveness of their work and are constantly learning from their experiences and from each other. Capturing these lessons, facilitating South-South learning and documenting new approaches is critical to improving effectiveness. Also important to effectiveness is developing and improving sector diagnostic tools and indicators that can help monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

Media development can profit from the lessons of overall aid effectiveness and integration into country-led processes of reform. Many of these lessons have been captured and codified by organizations such as the Learning Network on Capacity Development and the Effective Institutions Platform.

CIMA has contributed to the debate about effectiveness with a variety of reports and events, including Making Media Development More Effective; By the Numbers: Tracing the Statistical Correlation between Press Freedom and Democracy; and Good, But How Good? Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects.


What is the legal and political enabling environment for media? How do media organizations achieve financial independence? How do media development programs create a standard of professionalism?


What are the new practices for media in the twenty-first century? How is the media landscape changing? How can media development donors and implementers embrace new trends?


What are the funding models for media development? Who funds media development and how much do they provide? How can we better track funding for media development programs?