MDT Profile


Media Development Trust Profile (Click here to download the full profile in pdf format)

The media can be a powerful force for change in both developed and developing countries. In developing countries, it can have an important role in advancing a pro-poor development agenda, as well as supporting economic growth by stimulating consumer markets. Where it is able to effectively fulfill the roles of watchdog, gatekeeper and agenda-setter, it can improve governance by raising citizen awareness of social issues, enabling citizens to hold their governments to account, curbing corruption, and creating a civic forum for debate. It can also amplify the voice of marginalized and excluded groups

Free, independent and pluralistic media empower citizens with information that enables them to make informed choices and actively participate in democratic processes. They can help enhance transparency and accountability, by facilitating dialogue between decision-makers and the rest of society and by exposing abuse of power. They also play a crucial role in improving the public’s understanding of current or emerging issues, events, priorities, and policy pronouncements and options.

For much of modern democratic history, media has been considered one of the most powerful agents of democratic accountability. It receives special protection within most democratic constitutions expressly because an informed citizenry and a fourth estate capable of acting as a check on executive power are considered to be critical to good governance. Extensive empirical research has demonstrated the connection between a free press and good governance.

It was long felt that a broader set of goals needed to be designed to promote political freedom, human rights and democracy. For most, a combination of objectives is apparent. Theoretical framing for support to the media also vary widely and cut across economic, political, sociological, anthropological and other disciplines.

Media assistance lacks integration into a broader policy agenda on governance and public sector reform. The role of the media in a country clearly situates it as an actor on the political stage. Nevertheless, many media interventions are localized and short-term, without being embedded in a broader governance framework. Media cannot fulfill their democratic roles if they are not embedded in an enabling regulatory environment and a culture of transparency.

The effective media development promotes voice, accountability and transparency through support to free and plural media. It is a broad field ranging from support to strengthen the political independence and economic sustainability of media to support to media interventions designed to enhance democratic practices. The former includes professional capacity building, support to enabling regulatory structures and protection of journalistic freedom. Assistance for media, social media and other communication related interventions designed to enhance democratic participation, political accountability and informed public include support to media around elections, public debate initiatives and the provision of public platforms for people living in poverty or other marginalized groups, including young people, to have their voices heard.

Support to media in this context also encompasses strategies designed to respond to both the opportunities and challenges presented by increased global access to digital technologies. Such strategies range from those rooted in recognition of the transformative democratic potential of new technologies through to those designed to counteract the causes and effects of increased incidences of the use of media and communication, including new communication technologies, to exacerbate tension and hate, especially in fragile settings.

No doubt media is a domestic accountability mechanism, but is clearly just one of many. Uniquely, it has the ability to dramatically enhance the visibility and effectiveness of other accountability mechanisms within society.

However, it is obligatory to find that what conditions are necessary to take full advantage of the democratic potential of the media and enhance their contribution to development. What measures should be expounded in this respect? It is with these questions in mind that MDT was formed as an initiative to develop appropriate measures for developing national media landscapes.

More concisely, the media’s contribution to the creation and sustaining of functioning democracies and their potential to serve as a catalyst for human development provide the justification for formation of MEDIA DEVELOPMENT TRUST (MDT). It is an effort to foster an enabling environment in which free and independent media can flourish ensuring the plurality and diversity of sources of information, the participation of all sectors of society in the media, a high level of professional standards among journalists, and adequate infrastructures and technical resources.

Common efforts at independent media development include; journalist training and education; improving the legal environment for media; efforts to improve the sustainability of existing outlets; media literacy training; digital media training and integration; infrastructure development; and monitoring and evaluation efforts for different media initiatives.

Overall Goals & Objectives

Key Objectives

Media Development Trust Values

 

 

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