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Mapping Digital Media: Colombia

February 24, 2020

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.In Colombia, analog free-to-air television is still by far the most influential source of news. Digitization seems to be increasing both the quantity and range of news and the total public consumption of media as many traditional outlets now have online versions, while some new online only outlets have been born in recent years and gained recognition as news providers. Internet use is increasing very fast in urban areas and higher socioeconomic groups.Public media have been strengthened in recent years and public service provision is considered an important issue in Colombia. The transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) is seen as both a challenge and an opportunity to public media. Digital activism too has grown in Colombia, and active internet users have proved the power of social networking, which has become very popular. Political debates and hostage rescue operations have, among others, triggered big digital mobilizations, especially on Facebook and Twitter.The policy and regulatory framework for digital media is still being defined as the media regulatory framework itself is functional, but there are several procedural flaws in the implementation.

Mapping Digital Media: Nigeria

February 24, 2020

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Nigeria has a relatively high internet penetration rate, driven primarily by a rapid expansion of mobile platforms. Recent figures suggest that over a third of the population have access to the internet and there are over 50 mobile phones per 100 Nigerians. However, internet access is concentrated geographically within just 16 percent of the country, and overwhelmingly within urban areas. Access to digital broadcasting platforms is largely contained within pay-TV networks, and free-to-air digital broadcasting is still embryonic.Regarding free-to-air, there are currently no legal requirements on broadcasters to facilitate citizen access to digital platforms, nor any measures to ensure its affordability. Regulatory pressure has been applied to commercial broadcasters, but state broadcasters have been criticized for failing to take a leadership role in driving the switch-over.The report suggests that the development of the mobile sector offers the best hope for bridging regional and social divides in the medium term. But the enduring significance of these divides presents the most profound obstacle to Nigerian society reaping the benefits of digital media in terms of increased diversity, openness, and access.

Social Media Monitoring During Elections: Cases and Best Practice to Inform Electoral Observation Missions

June 1, 2019

Concern over online interference in elections is now widespread—from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the pernicious effects messaging apps have had in elections in Kenya or Brazil. Yet regulatory and monitoring efforts have lagged behind in addressing the challenges of how public opinion can be manipulated online, and its impact on elections. The phenomenon of online electoral interference is global. It affects established democracies, countries in transition, and places where freedom of expression and access to information are tightly controlled.But fundamental questions of what should be legal and illegal in digital political communication have yet to be answered in order to extend the rule of electoral law from the offline to the online. Answering these questions would help determine the right scope for online election observation, too. This scoping report explains why social media is one of the elements of a democratic, rule of law–based state that observer groups should monitor. It aggregates experience from diverse civil society and nongovernmental initiatives that are innovating in this field, and sets out questions to guide the development of new mandates for election observers. The internet and new digital tools are profoundly reshaping political communication and campaigning. But an independent and authoritative assessment of the impact of these effects is wanting. Election observation organizations need to adapt their mandate and methodology in order to remain relevant and protect the integrity of democratic processes.

Whistleblowers for Change : the Social and Economic Costs and Benefits of Leaking and Whistleblowing

November 20, 2018

In this report, whistleblowers from eight European countries describe what they experienced after they took a stand. Additionally, civil society experts weigh in on how the EU can craft policies to better protect whistleblowers. The question of how to define whistleblowing—does it apply to sexual harassment, can NGOs be considered whistleblowers, and so on—is also explored.The report ultimately recommends an EU-wide directive on whistleblowing, which it argues would give whistleblowers the protection they need to step forward. The report also argues that a multi-level, multi-stakeholder approach would emphasize the value of whistleblowers and the crucial role they play in a healthy open society.

Media Policy and Independent Journalism in Greece

May 1, 2015

Today, Greece is the European Union member state where journalism and the media face their most acute crisis. This study identifies the urgent problems facing media policy in Greece and how they affect independent journalism.Since the 1980s and '90s, deregulation has increased the viewing choices for audiences in Greece. At the same time, the legal and regulatory framework has helped concentrate ownership of press, television, and radio outlets. Private channels operate with temporary licenses and independent regulatory authorities function superficially and ambivalently. As a result, the market has been dominated by a handful of powerful newspaper interests, which have expanded into audiovisual and online media. Recent laws have further liberalized media ownership and cross-ownership.Media Policy and Independent Journalism in Greece, based partly on in-depth interviews with key actors, explores these issues and more in this six-chapter report.

Freedom of the Press, Expression, and Information in Spain

January 12, 2015

According to surveys, the most distrusted professions in Spain are politics, the judiciary, and journalism. Leaving judges aside, the reasons for this distrust are linked: to remain solvent, most traditional media rely heavily on "poderes fácticos"—economic and financial groups that control or influence politicians and the media.Austerity has only sharpened this reliance. At the same time, governing parties in parliament control appointments to public service broadcasters. These broadcasters live under the constant threat of cuts to their budgets. Media ownership is opaque, and so is the scale and pattern of public money spent on media advertising.The impact of all these factors has been debilitating for the Spanish media. A report by the Madrid Press Association found that 77 percent of journalists rated their independence as poor or very poor, and 56 percent had been pressured to modify stories.The Program on Independent Journalism has commissioned two experts to examine this crisis. In a major report titled Freedom of the Press, Expression, and Information in Spain (La Libertad de Prensa, Expresión e Información en España), Javier Sierra examines the history of media freedom and freedom of information in Spain. He identifies the major obstacles to independent journalism and emphasizes the urgent need for legal reform in line with international standards.

Mapping Digital Media: Global Findings

September 1, 2014

The Global Findings of the Mapping Digital Media project assess these and other forces affecting digital media and independent journalism worldwide. Researched and written by a team of local experts, the 56 country reports, from which these Global Findings are drawn, examine the communication and media environments in 15 of the world's 20 most populous countries, covering more than 4.5 billion of the world's population, and in 16 of the world's 20 largest economies.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Applications and Tools; Media Platforms

Mapping Digital Media: Canada

March 1, 2014

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Canadians are among the most engaged and active users of digital media in the world, and digitization has had particular consequences for such a vast, largely urbanized and sparsely populated country. Although progress in some aspects has been exemplary, geographic complexities and a lack of leadership by the federal government have produced challenges and delays in others. In particular, while Canadians lead the world in areas relating to digital media take-up, the federal government has yet to finalize an official, comprehensive digital strategy similar to the EU's Digital Agenda for Europe or the National Broadband Plan in the United States.It is essential that the federal government tables a cohesive and comprehensive Digital Economy Strategy in consultation with all stakeholders, including the public. Such a unified, forward-thinking approach is needed if Canada is to forge a comprehensive and progressive agenda for the continued development of digital media infrastructure, services, and access.

Mapping Digital Media: Nicaragua

March 1, 2014

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.The development of digital media in Nicaragua is progressing alongside a return to repressive media policies and a clamping down on independent journalism by both the state and big business. This has reversed many of the gains for pluralism and free speech achieved during the political transition to a more democratic system in the 1990s.Against this backdrop, it is imperative that lawmakers take the initiative to end politicization in licensing, discretionary use of official advertising funds, and selective adherence to ownership and license restrictions. A new communications framework should also provide a clear and effective plan for digital switchover, new guarantees for regulatory independence, and measures to ensure affordability and access to digital services. 

Mapping Digital Media: Nicaragua: Spanish

March 1, 2014

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.The development of digital media in Nicaragua is progressing alongside a return to repressive media policies and a clamping down on independent journalism by both the state and big business. This has reversed many of the gains for pluralism and free speech achieved during the political transition to a more democratic system in the 1990s.Against this backdrop, it is imperative that lawmakers take the initiative to end politicization in licensing, discretionary use of official advertising funds, and selective adherence to ownership and license restrictions. A new communications framework should also provide a clear and effective plan for digital switchover, new guarantees for regulatory independence, and measures to ensure affordability and access to digital services

Breaking the Isolation: Access to Information and Media Among Migrant Domestic Workers in Jordan and Lebanon

February 1, 2014

Breaking the Isolation: Access to Information and Media among Migrant Domestic Workers in Jordan and Lebanon is one of the first studies of its kind to focus on how migrant domestic workers access and use information.Migrant domestic workers are a vital part of the workforce in Jordan and Lebanon but remain one of the most exploited and least protected groups of workers. Many migrants lack basic information about their legal rights. Those facing abusive treatment often do not know what to do or where to turn for help.Technology—particularly mobile phones—now offers these workers new opportunities to challenge abuse and stay connected to their home countries while working abroad.Breaking the Isolation provides an assessment of how migrant domestic workers are using technology to communicate, assert their rights, and collaborate with civil society organizations and governments to improve working conditions.The report is a useful resource that provides advocates and policymakers in the Arab region with practical information to help migrant domestic workers end their isolation, increase their visibility, and work together to make their voices heard.

Mapping Digital Media: Guatemala

January 1, 2014

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Guatemala is a relatively young democracy plagued by high levels of violent crime, corruption, and wealth inequality, with poverty concentrated in rural areas and among indigenous populations. It has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the region, with a quarter of all adults unable to read.These problems are not likely to be solved by digital and social media any time soon. However, as new technologies of communication spread among a youthful population, they are likely to play an increasing role in shaping citizenry and promoting social change.This report puts forward a set of policy recommendations to improve transparency and accountability in digital media policy; to support and promote community and minority expression in the new media landscape; to institute public service media; to bridge the digital divide; and to improve the collection, monitoring, and analysis of media consumption data and trends.

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