The Importance of Supporting Independent Media in the Southern Neighbourhood

In his qualitive analysis of the printed version of the Survey, Jerzy Pomianowski (Executive Director European Endowment for Democracy (EED) explains the vital role of the media as policy overseers and calls for an urgent re-set in thinking about donor support to media in the EU neighbourhood.

An Ennahar TV News reporter interviews a man about the parliamentary elections in Algier. in Algier May 8, 2012. REUTERS Zohra Bensemra

These are some ideas of his analysis worth highlighting:

  • Media are well placed to “monitor policies and watchdog citizens’ rights”, which was considered by the respondents to this survey as the most important mission of civil society.
  • In the most restrictive environments, independent media are banned, denied licences and harassed through denial of premises, raids on their offices, arrest and legal charges against journalists.
  • Attacks and intimidation of journalists is common, often with apparent impunity, and self-censorship is often necessary for these media to survive.
  • Support for independent media initiatives should be broadened in recognition of their vital role and the costly nature of their work.
  • It must be realistic in relation to self-sustainability.
  • Greater coherence, coordination and consistency of donors are needed.
  • International political and diplomatic support for journalists and the media must be ensured.
  • There is often no local content relevant to people’s daily lives. This can help build trust in the media and counteract misinformation.

The publication of the Euromed Survey 2019 includes a descriptive report of the results and analysis articles by experts such as Intissar KherigiRichard Youngs, Senior Fellow (Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Europe); Itxaso Domínguez Middle East & Maghreb Coordinator (Fundación Alternativas); Jerzy Pomianowki, Executive Director (European Endowment for Democracy EED-Brussels); Aziza Moneer (PhD. Visiting Research Fellow, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden); Zaid Eyadat (Prof. Director of the Center for Strategic Studies. University of Jordan).

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