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Bring back the Audience: A Discussion of the Lack of Audience Research in the Field of Media Development
Martin Scott & Christoph Dietz | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: This paper strives to highlight the significant lack of audience research in the field of media development and the consequences of this gap – both for project design and policy making – but also for broader efforts to integrate media into governance debates. Whilst this lack of evidence has been noted before, a number of recently published scoping reviews of the relevant literature now enable us to discuss, in detail, the extent and nature of this gap in our knowledge.
Sanne van den Berg | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: The Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) supports individual journalists and media institutions to produce quality public interest and investigative journalism content that better informs the public, contributes to debate and thereby increases public demand for greater accountability in Tanzania. TMF has used lessons learned from its first phase (2008- 2012) to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that captures TMF’s achievements in phase 2 (2012-2015) and beyond. This article provides an overview of the practical implementation of the M&E framework, and challenges encountered during implementation.
Daire Higgins | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: International media assistance took off during a time where the ideological extremes of USA vs. USSR were set to disappear. Following the Cold War, international relations focused on democracy building, and nurturing independent media was embraced as a key part of this strategy. Fukayama called it the ‘End of History’, the fact that all other ideologies had fallen and Western style democracy was set to become the one common ideology. The US and UK led the way in media assistance, with their liberal ideas of a free press, bolstered by free market capitalism. America was the superpower, and forged the way around the globe with its beacon of democracy. Under that guiding light they would bring truth, accuracy, freedom of expression and independent reporting to the countries which had so long lived under the shadow of communism, or authoritarian media systems. This is what propelled and justified American foreign policy, and their media assistance, for many years. Much work was thus carried out in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet satellites, but many now question the impact and legacy of these projects. When the US and UK spoke of media assistance they seemed to mean ‘free market’. These days, the ‘democracy promoters’ focus has turned more to Africa and the Middle East. The ideology is apparently the same: to help establish and support democracy with a stronger and more independent media. But with western economies, and their media systems, in crisis, the relevance of this media assistance model is questioned. This essay looks at the history of media assistance and the ongoing debate on the impact of media assistance over the long term, its motives and the new balance of power appearing in international media development.
Benjamin A. J. Pearson | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: This paper discusses audiovisual assistance, a form of development aid that focuses on the production and distribution of cultural and entertainment media such as fictional films and TV shows. While the first audiovisual assistance program date back to UNESCO’s International Fund for the Promotion of Culture in the 1970s, the past two decades have seen a proliferation of audiovisual assistance that, I argue, is related to a growing concern for culture in post-2015 global development agendas. In this paper, I examine the aims and motivations behind the E.U.’s audiovisual assistance programs to countries in the Global South, using data from policy documents and semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Program Managers and administrative staff in Brussels. These programs prioritize forms of audiovisual content that are locally specific, yet globally tradable. Furthermore, I argue that they have an ambivalent relationship with traditional notions of international development, one that conceptualizes media not only as a means to achieve economic development and human rights aims, but as a form of development itself.
Jessica Noske-Turner | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: While some form of evaluation has always been a requirement of development projects, in the media assistance field this has predominantly been limited to very basic modes of counting outputs, such as the number of journalists trained or the number of articles produced on a topic. Few media assistance evaluations manage to provide sound evidence of impacts on governance and social change. So far, most responses to the problem of media assistance impact evaluation collate evaluation methodologies and methods into toolkits. This paper suggests that the problem of impact evaluation of media assistance is understood to be more than a simple issue of methods, and outlines three underlying tensions and challenges that stifle implementation of effective practices in media assistance evaluation. First, there are serious conceptual ambiguities that affect evaluation design. Second, bureaucratic systems and imperatives often drive evaluation practices, which reduces their utility and richness. Third, the search for the ultimate method or toolkit of methods for media assistance evaluation tends to overlook the complex epistemological and political undercurrents in the evaluation discipline, which can lead to methods being used without consideration of the ontological implications. Only if these contextual factors are known and understood can effective evaluations be designed that meets all stakeholders’ needs.
Mary Myers, Christoph Dietz & Marie-Soleil Frère | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: As an introduction to this special issue this article deals firstly with defining and clarifying terms and concepts which are used in the context of international media assistance. Secondly, the themes of the different articles in this collection are enumerated: these are broadly the how to of media assistance, evaluation and the ongoing debate about proving impact of media assistance project; negotiating the tensions between the state and the media and finally, the fundamental question of why and to what purpose is assistance to the media sector given in the first place. The first two of these themes are developed in slightly more depth. The piece is rounded off with some further reflections on the history both of the idea of media assistance and of the way it has been practiced in recent decades. It finally looks at the ways research in this field may develop in the future.
Researching Media Assistance as a Tool of Democratisation and State building in Post Conflict Societies– Lessons from the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nidzara Ahmetasevic | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: This paper aims to give insights into my research on media assistance and its effects on democratisation and state building processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia). I try to analyse a process which lasts more than 15 years, and includes different aspects, from law making to establishing new media. I argue that most of the measures have been carried out in a state of imposition, in a semi-protectorate, that is Bosnia after the war. This period of post-war reconstruction in Bosnia is difficult to research for many reasons, starting from the obvious fact that processes are still going on, to the fact that different international players who were involved in the process over the years, hardly left archives available to the public to be analyzed, or what is left sometimes does not give a complete picture. I will present different methods I have applied in order to overcome these difficulties, and try to give some recommendations for other researchers working under on similar topics.