That’s what the folks at Internews, the World Bank and the Brookings Institute believe, and what they hope to convince funders of as well. In fact, according to Tara Susman-Pena and Mark Nelson, who spoke at the UN Digital Media Lounge today, a healthy, well developed media results in government transparency, civic participation, healthier economies, and citizen empowerment.
NOTE to Internews: I’d be very interested in learn how cross cultural perspectives on civic participation, civil society, public sphere, etc play a role in the development of media in non-Western societies. and whether (and how) that will be taken into consideration in your research.
Need further evidence that a healthy media is important? Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen pointed out that in all the world’s history, there has never been a famine in a country/region which had a free press.
So these three orgs are working together on the Media Map Project – a research project examining media (as a system) throughout the world. It will examine:
- Journalism (safety of journalists, quality of reporting, professional development)
- Environment (freedom of the press, supportive policies, ownership structures)
- Information Culture (media literacy of the public, whether the public uses the information they get from media, how/if media can make their own voices heard)
Evidence for the report will be found through data analysis (access, audience research, market data, etc), donor research (who is giving what, where and why, and what are the results, impact assessments) and case studies (Mali, DRC, Ukraine, Peru and Indonesia).
They also hope to have an accompanying web based tool that will give the public access to the data, make is searchable and with custom visualizations. The website is scheduled to launch on World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2011.