On 20 November 2019 in Tbilisi the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence and MDF Media Development Foundation held the presentation of a third wave of BCME Gap Asset Analysis (GAA) Report, which brought insightful discussions and some provocative questions.
Discussion brought together more than 50 prominent researchers, media professionals and representatives from donor community from the Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The GAA is an in-depth study of major challenges, skills gaps and needs of independent media in Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. This is the third wave of the research in the last four years. The first one took place in 2016-2017 with support of the European Endowment for Democracy and was subsequently updated in 2018.
Check out key recommendations to improve media assistance programmes in the South Caucasus region and beyond:
- Need for flexibility of funding: include sub-granting mechanism in large projects, target financial assistance and use changes in the local context to the project’s advantage
- Growing need to shift from development to a business-oriented approach and consider using grants as impact investments and seed funding with a clear goal of increasing financial sustainability of supported media outlets
- Increasing demand for long-term training, such as mentorship and embedded consultancy, as a more effective alternative to short training courses and workshops
- Need for audience research as an important step to identify and measure target audience and tailor media content to their needs. Audience data is also considered crucial to measure the impact of donor media programmes
- Do not limit support to Russian-language media
Furthermore, the research identified growing areas for donor support:
- Strengthen legal support to media where needed, especially in closed societies
- Mitigate social polarisation and hate speech through capacity building in journalist ethics, thematic reporting and information campaigns
- Cybersecurity training to safeguard journalists and their sources
We would like to thank the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia for supporting the project.