Case Studies

The Coalitions for Change workshop highlighted six examples of coalitions in action, what they achieved, and what was learned.

This is a summary of case studies included in the learning brief. The extensive explanation and exploration of each of them are available here, from pages 16 to 27.

Case study 1: Coalition Building for Press Freedom in Somalia

The "No News is Bad News" programme ran from 2016 until 2020, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by Free Press Unlimited. It aimed to work with local media outlets, journalists' associations and COSs to help developed the legal framework for a free, gender-equal and independent media sector in Somalia. The following were some of the key outputs:

  • Common advocacy strategies developed with media organisations and CSOs.

  • Helplines for women and men journalists.

  • Joint declaration on the safety of journalists, signed by 40 judges and journalists.


Capacity-building activities focusing on journalism, ethics, gender equality and media advocacy were the primary activities. The M4Women campaign, as well as successful negotiations with the government and peace council facilitated discussions all stemmed from these activities.


Increased trust, collaboration and information sharing between local partners, and between the media and civil society organisations, as well as greater engagement between media, civil coviety, government officials, security forces and the judiciary are among the key outcomes of this coalition in Somalia. The full list of lessons learned is available on page 17 of the report found here.

Case study 2: Media Alliance of Zimbabwe

The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) was a response to the shrinking democratic space in Zimbabwe and increased cases of violence against media. The coalition fostered unity within the media community, and currently acts as the platform for joint campaigns and advocacy interventions, as well as a coordination mechanism for prioritising the issues to be addressed. The following are some key achievements:

  • Securing constitutional provisions guaranteeing media freedoms in the country.

  • Breaking the monopoly of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and promoting plurality.

  • Establishing self-regulatory mechanisms.


MAZ brought together local media stakeholders annually to drive engagement around the target issues, as well as leveraging the expertise from within its membership group to foster an enabling environment for independent media. Additionally, it petitioned the government to secure measurable improvements.


A better regulared and safer working environment for journalists, increased cooperation between media and security forces to improve journalists' safety, as well as greater plurality in the media sector are among the key outcomes of the MAZ coalition in Zimbabwe. All the outcomes, as well as the lessons learned are available on page 19 of the report found here.

Case study 3: Pakistan Journalists' Safety Coalition

The Pakistan Journalists' Safety Coalition (PJSC) was created in 2019 by the International Media Support as a response to Pakistan being selected as one of the five pilot countries of the UN Plan of Action (UNPA) on the Safety of Journalists and Issues of Impunity. Its initial goals were to get the issue of journalists' safety to the national agenda, as well as to lobby for specialized legislation on the safety of journalists to address flaws in the justice system. The following are some key achievments:

  • Unprecedented understanding of the links between the safety of journalists, free media and strengthened democracy.

  • Development of the first legislation on the safety of journalists in Pakistan's history.


The PJSC used collaborative advocacy to establish a national agenda. Additionally, the IMS encouraged coalition members to draw on customised toolkits to establish key goals and priorities. Finally, media owners, managers, workers and media development agents were brought together to run joint action campaigns.


Broad-based support from stakeholders to key actors were mobilised, as well as consensus was prioritized in the coalition's action decisions, and special legislation on the safety of journalists was developed. The lessons learned are available on page 21 of the report, which can be found here.

Case study 4: Media Freedom in Zambia

After the Media Ethics Council of Zambia and the Zambia Media Council failed to act as voluntary self-regulatory mechanisms, efforts to create a system of legally-backed media self-regulation started. These efforts were supported by MISA Zambia, Free Press Initiative, Editor's Forum, Panos Institute Southern Africa, and BBC Media Action, among others.

"Ownership comes when people fully participate and they feel part of something. We have guidelines and standards that we abide by and we wanted people to come together and speak with one voice while we provided technical expertise and guided the rest of the group. MISA took a back seat for that reason." Jane Chirwa, Project Manager at MISA Zambia


A technical working group was created and met bi-monthly. It produced consultations with media actors across the country, ending in a two-day media regulation conference in May 2019, bringing together 220 delegates. This working group also worked with international experts to develop a draft bill in support of media self-regulation. The bill had to be redrafted, and caused a split among the working group and led to government intervention, as the media "had not delivered." In December 2019, the draft bill was sent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.


A Media Self-Regulation Bill was delivered to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in December 2019, which addressed issues of media professionalism, ethics and press freedom infringements. Throughout the process of the bill drafting, feedback was gathered from participants across the country. The lessons learned and the full outcomes are on page 23 of the report found here.

Case study 5: Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab World

The International Federation of Journalists has been leading a coalition of journalists' unions, human rights campaigners, and media agents from across the Arab World since 2014. The initial objectives were to adopt a Declaration on Media Freedom that sets the principles and standards for the field in the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as establish a Special Rapporteur for Media Freedom in the Arab World. Key principles include citizens' rights to information, a need for awareness including media literacy and training, and the need to protect privacy, among others.


An online consultation was carried out in 2016, which culminated with a regional consultation in Casablanca, co-organised by UNESCO. Thus, the Declaration was endorsed by different media agents.


Over 500 journalists, editors, media and human rights experts contributed to the creation of the Declatation, which has served as a precedent for rallying media actors across the region driving collective efforts to improve media freedom when they are threatened. Additionally, stakeholders were able to express their views through a regional platform and other exchange opportunities. The lessons learned, as well as the notable achievements, are included on page 25 of the report, available here.

Case study 6: Media Advocacy Coalition, Republic of Georgia

The Media Advocacy Coalition was established in April 2011 by 16 Georgian NGOs working towards media freedom. Its main goal is improving the media environment and safeguarding the interest of media owners and journalists through ensuring proper access to information, lobbying for improved media regulation, and monitoring the media regulatory body and the public broadcaster, among others. Its members include the TV Network, Rights Georgia, Media Club, and the Georgian Alliance of Regional Broadcasters, among others.


Activities are targeted towards raising public awareness of attacks on media freedoms and lobbying the authorities to take corrective action. Recently the Coalition has tackled the government's failure to guarantee the safety and security of media representatives during the July 2021 Pride protests, attacks on journalists and persecution by members of the Georgian Orthodox Chuch and the abduction of journalist Afghan Mukhtarli from Tbilisi in May 2017, among others.


The Coalition has acted as an inclusive forum for engagement with senior politicians, obtained convening and influencing power to address individual attacks on media freedoms, and it has ensured that key issues affecting media freedom remain in the public eye, thus holding authorities to account. The lessons learned and all the members of the Media Advocacy Coalition are available on page 27 of the report, available here.

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