How can media sector advocates can advance a vision of progressive reform during democratic transitions and how can the international community best support them?
The latest report from the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Media Reform amid Political Upheaval: Lessons from Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Ukraine, written by Tarik Jusić and CIMA Deputy Director Heather Gilberds, demonstrates the importance of support for media during democratic transitions and highlights the key role of civil society as a driving force for a media reform agenda. Other key takeaways include:
- There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for supporting media in times of political opening. Local ownership of a media reform vision and cross-sectoral collaboration are key, and priorities need to be set based on the needs and capacities of local reform groups.
- Early gains are critical to the success of a media reform movement. Given the often volatile and frequently short-lived nature of these openings, seizing opportunities quickly is crucial. These early wins can have long-lasting effects, even in the face of authoritarian retrenchment.
- Political openings can be volatile. Sustained support is necessary even when reform windows close. Authoritarian legacies leave a lasting mark on institutions and political instability can lead to long periods of stagnation or regression. RTWT