Windows of Opportunity – The Transformation of State Media to Public Service Media in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia


  • Erik Albrecht
  • Petra Berner
  • Jan Lublinski
  • Laura Schneider
  • Merjam Wakili
  • Jackie Wilson-Bakare


public service media, public service broadcasting, transformation, media development, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova, Serbia


The transformation of state media to public service media (PSM) is one of the most ambitious endeavors in the field of media development. Not many efforts to free the national media from government control have succeeded in the past decades. In this paper the comparatively promising cases of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia are discussed. The PSM in these countries all have a new legal basis, including a public service remit and a relatively independent governing body in which civil society is represented. The services delivered to the public by these media are analyzed according to a number of societal functions which are assembled under two general headings: “creating a public sphere” and “supporting integration”. Based on this analysis, a differentiation between “PSM in initial transformation” and “PSM in advanced transformation” is suggested. In all cases studied, different actors successfully used windows of opportunity: general political agendas to reform the media, a specific engagement from the management as well as support from the population and civil society. Media development actors here helped to advance the processes of change in different ways. Recommendations for future media development include strategic planning, inclusion of local actors, the pooling of legal expertise as well as structured processes of organizational development and capacity building.

Author Biographies

Erik Albrecht

Erik Albrecht works as a researcher and editor for DW Akademie. After completing his thesis that studied journalistic culture and its effect on press freedom in Russia he has specialized in post-Soviet countries. Mr. Albrecht has worked as a foreign correspondent for DW, the German press agency dpa, and other German media outlets from Moscow reporting mainly on Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. At DW Akademie, he has been working as country manager and regional coordinator for different parts of the former Soviet Union. Mr. Albrecht has completed his diploma degree in journalism at the TU Dortmund University. Today he works as a freelance journalist based in Berlin.

Petra Berner

Petra Berner is the head of the Strategy and Consulting Services Department at DW Akademie and oversees teams for strategy development, knowledge management, international relations, and evaluation. In the past two years she has led the redirection process of DW Akademie towards long-term projects, organizational capacity building, and new evaluation frameworks. Before this she was in charge of the Latin American team and ran numerous innovative media development projects in this region. Her master’s degree is in geography and history from the University of Cologne, and she has completed several advanced trainings in organizational management and organizational development, among them the certified course Systemic Organizational Development at Fritz-Simon-Berlin. Her areas of expertise are also in strategic consultancy, capacity building, human resources development, and development policy.

Jan Lublinski

Jan Lublinski is the head of the Research and Evaluation team at DW Akademie. He has trained and consulted in numerous media outlets in Africa and the Arab world, and he is an expert in monitoring and evaluation frameworks in media development projects. Jan Lublinski started his career as a journalist with the daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau and worked 20 years as a freelance reporter for various print media, including the magazine GEO, as well as for German Public Radio and Television (ARD). He has won several journalism awards for his work, among them the Holtzbrinck Prize for Science Journalism (2011) and the German Development Media Award (2010). For his PhD in journalism studies, he conducted newsroom research in a project at the TU Dortmund University.

Laura Schneider

Laura Schneider works as project manager for DW Akademie. Her area of expertise is media freedom measurement, particularly international press freedom indices. Her PhD thesis provides ideas for a new instrument for assessing media freedom globally. Ms. Schneider has been a consultant for UNESCO, an analyst for Freedom House, and project coordinator at the International Media Center in Hamburg. She has worked as a journalist for several German media outlets such as Spiegel Online and the German press agency dpa, and was a radio and newspaper reporter in Mexico. Laura Schneider completed her BA and MA degrees in journalism, media and communication science, and Latin American studies at the universities of Hamburg, Guadalajara (Mexico), and Sydney.

Merjam Wakili

Merjam Wakili works as a project manager and trainer for DW Akademie’s Media Training department. In her PhD thesis she examined the transformation process of the Afghan state-broadcaster RTA in the context of democratization. Her thesis provides an insight into the perspective of three groups of actors - RTA, media development actors, and civil society actors. Wakili studied journalism and philosophy at the TU Dortmund University. She has worked as a freelance journalist for several German newspapers and Deutsche Welle Radio and Television.

Jackie Wilson-Bakare

Jackie Wilson-Bakare has been a broadcaster and journalist for over 25 years, many of which were spent working – as freelance editor and producer, newscaster, and studio host – for Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster. She has worked in West Africa, in Southern Africa and in Central Asia, and has more recently brought her considerable experience and acquired skills to bear on the fields of training and research. Having worked with journalists from all over the world, Ms. Wilson knows from personal experience how vital a confident and skilled media community is at all stages of societal development.


How to Cite

Albrecht, E., Berner, P., Lublinski, J., Schneider, L., Wakili, M., & Wilson-Bakare, J. (2015). Windows of Opportunity – The Transformation of State Media to Public Service Media in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia. Global Media Journal - German Edition, 4(2). Retrieved from