Policy & learning updates

Policy & learning updates from the Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED).

South Asia Center for Media in Development (SACMID)

The full report is available here.

Introduction & Method Media reports cover current issues and events, provide information to the general people for interpretation, mobilize their idea and reshape the culture and the society. Media can play an important role in promotion of gender equality by breaking the patriarchal gender stereotypes. But most of the time they portray women as a sexual object or portray according to society's common gender norm. SACMID is monitoring different media contents of Bangladesh to investigate the representation of men and women in media. It will help to decrease gender discrimination and also contribute in bringing gender equality in media by revealing the gender situation of media in Bangladesh. This 'Inclusion report of South Asia Center for Media in Development (SACMID) has shown that women are portrayed as the victims of sexual or physical violence when they are the subjects of the news items.

A disproportion between male and female representation in all types (print, electronic, online) of media has been found. 'Inclusion' is a part of the PRIMED (Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development) global project in Bangladesh, where SACMID is the local partner of FPU in Bangladesh, working to improve gender sensitivity among Bangladeshi media outlets and to increase the gender diversity of their contents. Moreover, SACMID is also working on capacity building of the journalists and awareness raising of the concerned media-house authorities at a later stage of the project. PRIMED is a project under a global consortium of BBC Media Action, Free Press Unlimited, International Media Support and Media Development Investment Fund, supported by FCDO. SACMID, being the partner of FPU in Bangladesh has been engaged in PRIMED project from April 2021.

SACMID has developed a gender monitoring tool through month long consultation with FPU and on the basis of existing GMM (Gender Media monitoring) tools which constitutes 16-19 variables. For sampling, PRIMED committee has pre-selected three media houses through background research (media-outlet assessment), these are Bangla Tribune, Jamuna Television and Gramer Kagoj. Later SACMID has selected three outlets of the same category as non-PRIMED samples to see whether any changes happen after interventions of PRIMED project.

Gender learning brief (October, 2022)


The full report is available here.

This learning brief aims to summarise key issues, evidence and trends on media and gender and help PRIMED partners identify opportunities to empower women as both media consumers and content producers as well as to amplify the voices of women in the media. It explores the links between improved gender equality in the workplace and the sustainability and viability of the media (a business case of gender equality). The brief also considers content formats which can promote gender equality in the public sphere and examines the role of self-regulation in ensuring that women are more fairly represented in media outputs.

Main takeaways

Key Challenges:

  • Women are poorly represented in media content

  • Media perpetuate stereotypes

  • Women lack access to information : the digital gender divide

  • Women are under-represented in the media sector


  • "There should be enough women at the entry and middle levels of a company to select from and promote in order for there to be parity at the most senior, decision-making levels."

  • The role of media in changing gender norms: "Media can share a wider variety of roles and behaviours pertaining to different sexes."

  • Business and management models can change gender equality: "Increased gender diversity appears to have a positive effect on financial performance, talent retention, innovation, reputation, team performance and motivation."

  • Successful strategies to increase gender equality in the workplace: "a better diversity climate and an inclusive leadership style can reduce turnover, increase employee satisfaction and engagements, and improve the performance of diverse teams."

Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF)

The full report is available here.

The aim of the short report: "But the transformative power of media goes beyond our experience. Evidence of the media’s impact is well-documented and has been studied by scholars in communication, political science, sociology, anthropology and psychology, among other fields, from research on media effects and influence to work on the role of the media in development and democracy. In the following brief, we encapsulate those findings and present the relationship between media and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the struggle to achieve Agenda 2030 takes on ever greater urgency, the role of independent media in achieving the SDGs is crucial. Not only are independent media specifically included in SDG 16 (public access to information is included in Target 16.10), but they also support the attainment of other SDGs, acting as a precondition for progress and a multiplier that amplifies the change"

BBC Media Action, PRIMED- Sarah Zaarour

The full report is available here.

This research paper is "aimed at fostering an enabling environment for media investment and at exploring new ways of supporting independent media. Combining desk research and interviews, it examines national funding mechanisms for private media in the five selected countries, and gives a general assessment of their role in promoting viable, independent, and diverse media."


The full report is available here.

"The commercial advertising industry in Sierra Leone is in a parlous state – unstructured, uncoordinated and unregulated. The shambolic nature of the industry stems from three major shortcomings – a lack of policy regulation, a limited market, and poor professional practices. Existing policy which exists only at the level of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) - the body tasked with regulating the media, public relations and advertising practices in accordance with the Independent Media Commission Act, 2020 – is limited to ethical considerations. Just one section (Section 4) of the Media Code of Practice is dedicated to the advertising industry."


The full report is available here.

"The report presents a contextual analysis of the media sector in Sierra Leone: the stakeholders; the financial motivation and incentives for their engagement; and the political and economic factors that influence media independence and viability. It also examines the business climate in Sierra Leone, and the current scope of private investment in the media sector. Additionally, it provides a brief analysis of the legal and structural constraints to the development of a sustainable market as well as the opportunities unlocked by the legal reform processes enacted by the state."


The full report is available here.

"This report presents four models of direct media subsidies in Europe: from Serbia, Croatia, Sweden and the European Union as well as an overview of reduced VAT rates for newspapers, digital publications and periodicals in EU countries and Serbia. In recent years, the value of direct state aid for media has been questioned, while indirect subsidies, such as tax exemptions, have been the model preferred by governments and welcomed by media owners. This is especially the case with reduced VAT rates, which have been introduced in all EU Member States and beyond."


The full report is available here.

"Governments need to create an appropriate legal framework. Among other things, the specific position of local and community media needs recognition and protection. Measures should be put in place to curb the abuse of media power, such as prohibiting media ownership by politicians and other partisan individuals and groups. In many jurisdictions, laws curb media monopolies. Broadcast licensing should be in the hands of a visibly independent body, with clear and transparent rules and processes."


The full paper is available here.

This paper focuses on government and media initiatives that address the viability challenges in Kenya. It explores the instances and circumstances under which the media community in the country has worked closely with the government to implement media reforms through new legislation and related policies.


The new Brave New Media Podcast sheds light on different media outlets from across the world with the purpose of highlighting the hardships that they have had to overcome, as well as expert advice on how to make the media ecosystem in general healthier.

The Brave New Media podcast episodes are available here.

Online and at the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference 2022

Register for the online panel here.

This session will explore whether Sierra Leone serves as a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak outlook for government support to media, especially in the Global South. Further information on panelists and the discussion is available here.


In light of International Women's Day, this article highlights "the relationship between gender and media business performance" and the "media innovations from around the world that champion women." The article is divided into the following sections: women as a primary target, serving the female audience, diversity within newsrooms and leadership, gender and reader revenue, gender-based harassment, partnerships and institutional funding, branded content revenue, gender and events business, a collaboration around gender topics, and a way forward.

The Building Viability: Strategies and Approaches for Media Organizations Workshop was held from February 1-2, 2022 by the Media Development Investment Fund. The two-day workshop included interventions from Ethiopian, Bangladeshi and media organisations, as well as from BBC Media Action, the Media Advisory Services (MAS) and MDIF. Case studies from Tanzania and Central America were also presented. Included themes are: organizational resilience, the monetisation of credible content, diversifying audiences, transition into digital news, and gender and inclusion, among others.

"Coalition-building is a complex set of moving parts that is, to a large extent, hostage to the vagaries of the given political, economic and social landscape – and multiple factors over which international organisations have limited influence or control. There are no shrink-wrapped solutions or off-the-shelf frameworks; success relies on an in-depth understanding of the local operating environment as well as trust-based relationships with key stakeholders.", Michael Randall, article "The ultimate stress test for international support".

The article analyses the PRIMED workshops where participants, showcased several examples of successful coalitions which have been steered – and, in two cases, initiated – by international partners.

More about the PRIMED Coalitions for change workshops is avalable in the PRIMED learning section here, including full report, overview, case studies, transctripts and additional resources.

"It's not about forming an institution- but a platform upon which the collective good is advanced." Tabani Moyo, workshop participant, MISA Zimbabwe, former chair of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe

This article produced by MDIF and BBC MA is a set of practical recommendations to public interest media responding to the business challenges presented by Covid-19. The recommendations are addressed to media leaders and senior editors as they consider their organisations’ financial and editorial responses to the pandemic. They draw on the experiences of media in countries where PRIMED consortium partners work and set out practical steps that public interest media have found helpful as they navigate the crisis management phase of the pandemic and prepare themselves for the new reality that will follow.

The recommendations to public interest media include:

  • Cut costs; hoard cash

  • Keep searching for revenue

  • Report in the public interest

  • Use your content to drive your business

  • Your team is not immune

  • Planning for the future

For more details read the full article here.

Free Press Unlimited - MICHAEL PAVIČIĆ

2020, and 2021 thus far, have proven to be an interesting time for those who are interested in the many challenges news media and journalists face in their attempts to become or remain independent and financially sustainable. The dominant position of Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook vis-a-vis the news media industry is increasingly being scrutinised by governments across the globe through legislative and regulatory measures.

By disseminating media content for free on their platforms and monetising this content by scooping up advertising money through a business model with zero-sum outcomes for print and online media outlets, the financial viability of independent news media and journalism have been seriously eroded by tech platforms, Google and Facebook in particular. Admittedly, the lack of advertising income and failing business models are hardly the only big problem for the future of journalism.

Other big problems include media capture by self-interested political and business elites to control and gag a critical press. Impunity for crimes against journalists. Repressive laws and regulatory capture. Decreasing trust in media through the spread of mis- and disinformation and the attack on independent journalism through populist demagoguery.

Continue reading the blog here.

BBC Media Action - JAMES DEANE

In the first working paper in a series from our project Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED), author James Deane assesses whether fresh approaches to public subsidy might help support independent media in low- and middle-income settings.

Theories of change & impact measurement (March 2021)

Learning questions

BBC Media Action Zambia - VANESSA MWEEMBA

BBC Media Action

BBC Media Action

Policy and learning strategy (Sept. 2020)

Programme approach and glossary (Oct. 2020)

Theory of change (Oct. 2020)

Communications summary (Oct. 2020)

Ethiopia audience survey (2020)

BBC Media Action Ethiopia has conducted an audience survey to understand media usage and perceptions of media to inform the development of project activities and support partners to understand their audience better. 2,000 interviews were conducted in March 2020, in 5 regions of the country (Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, SNNP, Addis Ababa).

Last updated