Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development
PRIMED is a 3-year programme to support the provision of public interest media in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, which began in October 2020.
In this resource space, you will find meeting reports, learning briefings and other project documents and information related to our work.
Our research and evaluation across this project will build on the PRIMED consortium’s existing extensive knowledge, and further the media development sector’s understanding of what works in creating sustainable independent media.
This work has never been more urgent: the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have intensified pressure on public interest media outlets around the world, even as their critical public role becomes even more clear as the antidote to a raging ‘info-demic.’
Public interest media are vital to open, just societies. They provide citizens with reliable news and information, hold the powerful to account and provide a platform for debate.
Trusted, inclusive, free and pluralistic media are a critical part of healthy information ecosystems that support effective and inclusive governance.
They are essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Yet in many parts of the world, public interest media are in retreat, under threat at both the individual outlet level and at the media environment level.
At the individual outlet level, public interest media are subject to intense financial pressure. Globally, business models have been eroded by digital disruption, which has seen changing consumption patterns and advertising revenues migrate away from traditional print and broadcast media.
The economic impact of COVID-19 has intensified this pressure, particularly in the Global South.
Challenges at the environmental level include government pressure through restrictive legislation and regulation, violence against journalists and diminishing trust in media.
PRIMED will address the challenges to public interest media at both outlet and environment level.
- It seeks to build the resilience of media to political and economic pressures that are undermining viability.
- Gender equality and inclusion will be integrated across the programme.
We are supporting media partners to develop stronger audience insights and more professional and relevant content, more efficient production, and broader offerings across multiple, revenue-generating platforms. This approach makes the case for media in the public interest as key to economic viability, contributing to a future in which media outlets may be financially independent and less prone to co-option.
This will enable PRIMED to apply a wide range of interventions, both well-established and innovative, in different contexts.
Not all consortium partners’ approaches are relevant in all countries. Consequently, different combinations of partners will work in each country providing only the most relevant type of support.
The project will prioritise support to media outlets that are “independent” and already have a clear public interest remit. However, if few such media can be identified in a country, the programme will identify media organisations providing some public interest content and seek to strengthen and expand that element within the larger organisation.
Each country has developed its own targeted approach and programme implementation will be led by local teams.
In Bangladesh, where rapid economic progress toward lower-middle-income status has not been matched by growth in public-interest media, PRIMED is working with the sector overall to help improve ethical standards and support local coalitions to advocate for media freedom.
We are supporting media partners to develop stronger audience insights and more professional and relevant content, more efficient production, and broader offerings across multiple, revenue-generating platforms.
This approach makes the case for media in the public interest as key to economic viability, contributing to a future in which media outlets may be financially independent and less prone to co-option.
In Ethiopia, PRIMED supports efforts to establish a new public interest media tradition in a country that has been witnessing a democratic transition but remains fractured along political, economic and ethnic lines.
PRIMED is helping to build technical expertise, professional editorial standards, and stronger institutional and financial foundations to help develop existing media partners into public-interest models.
In Sierra Leone, where the lively and diverse media scene is in economic crisis, and rarely a source of trusted and impartial information, PRIMED provides intensive support to selected media outlets to improve professional standards, audience understanding and operating models and skills.
Amid attempts to introduce independent media regulation, PRIMED helps to inform, support and moderate dialogue among sector stakeholders to help shape legislative, regulatory and legal processes toward a more independent, and more trusted and impartial, media environment.
PRIMED is implemented by a consortium of media support organisations with expertise in different aspects of media and development.
Further support is being provided by: