This study outlines the case for, and the practical feasibility of establishing, a new International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM). Such a Fund would focus mainly on resource-poor settings across the world where the economic and political challenges confronting independent media have become overwhelming. The study is principally addressed to international development agencies, technology companies, philanthropic entities and others with an interest in supporting democracy and development in such settings. It argues that an IFPIM would provide an effective, legitimate and efficient way of increasing institutional support to independent media, which today constitutes just over 0.2% of official development assistance.
- 1.Both international and Swedish democracy aid have a small but positive effect on democracy in partner countries. There is no evidence of aid having a negative impact on democracy.
- 2.The relatively small effects reflect the likely limited reach of democracy aid in authoritarian states and developing democracies.
- 3.The effects on democracy are stronger for aid that specifically targets the core building blocks of democracy, such as civil society, free and fair elections, media freedom and human rights.
- 4.Democracy aid is more effective when it comes to supporting democratization rather than at preventing democratic backsliding.
- 5.The study shows that Swedish democracy aid to the core aspects of democracy, allocated directly to various countries, has declined in recent years.
Through a series of five illustrative case studies, the report demonstrates how deliberative democracy practices can be employed in both media development and democracy assistance efforts, particularly in the Global South. Such initiatives produce recommendations that take into account a plurality of voices while building trust between citizens and decision-makers by demonstrating to participants that their issues will be heard and addressed. Ultimately, this process can enable media development funders and practitioners to identify priorities and design locally relevant projects that have a higher likelihood for long-term impact.
It is generally accepted that media freedom is beneficial to democratic and economic development, but the exact nature of this relationship and the direction of causality between press freedom and general freedoms is under-researched. Rigorous and in-depth examinations of the relationship between press freedom and general democracy using the available global datasets have been limited. This study investigates the nature of that relationship through detailed statistical and qualitative analysis.
This report summarises how experimental design has been used to assess the effectiveness of governance interventions and to understand the effects of the media on political opinion and behaviour. It provides an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of experimental approaches and also highlights how field experiments can challenge the assumptions made by media support organisations about the role of the media in different countries.