The feeble response to the global media crisis by the world’s democracies reflects more a lack of political will than a lack of solutions, argues Mark M. Nelson, Senior Director of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance. In fact, despite its scope and complexity, the crisis in the news media is far from intractable. And because it is fueling growing threats to democracy worldwide, it represents a major strategic challenge that deserves urgent attention and action, he writes for Project Syndicate:
One powerful lever for addressing it is foreign and security policy. Democratic governments should recognize attacks on press freedom and use measures such as diplomatic isolation, denial of visas, and direct sanctions to pressure perpetrators to meet their obligations under international law to uphold freedom of expression..
- A second lever for addressing the problem is official development assistance (ODA). Between 2010 and 2015, only 0.3% of the $150 billion that the world’s richest countries spent on ODA went to addressing media freedom. That share could be increased meaningfully – say, to 1%, as a group of media-support organizations has advocated – without cutting significantly into spending in other areas.
After World War II, the world’s democracies came together to create an institutional framework that would underpin global peace and stability for decades to follow, Nelson adds. To address the current media crisis, a similar effort is needed, with governments, media organizations, and citizens working together to fortify an essential building block of democracy and human progress. RTWT