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Middle East and North Africa Media Development Initiatives Alliance (MENA MEDIA)

The Middle East and North Africa Media Development Initiatives Alliance (MENA MEDIA) supported media development throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The project supported the professional development of emerging media leaders, local initiatives to improve the enabling environment for media, and initiatives to improve the quality and quantity of alternative news, including new media and short documentaries.

The program was funded by the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative and implemented in partnership with AmmanNet, the Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, and the Center for Media Freedom – Middle East and North Africa.

This project is now closed.

Goals

 • Support the professional development of emerging leaders in the media sector

 • Reform the enabling environment for media in select countries through support to local media law initiatives

 • Encourage the growth of quality alternative media, including blogging, online and interactive media, and short documentaries on underreported subjects

Background

The Middle East and North Africa witnessed a dramatic increase of satellite television beginning in the late 1990s. These pan-Arab stations demonstrated to citizens throughout the region the power of independent media. However, the stations were not reporting local issues, they often avoided tackling difficult issues in the countries in which they were based, and many preferred a focus on international news. Local media continued to lag behind, hampered by underinvestment, the loss of skilled reporters to the leading satellite channels, and governments unfriendly to critical reporting. This gap between the pan-Arab satellite channels and local media meant citizens in the region still did not have access to the information they needed to participate actively and effectively in their own countries’ political and economic lives and civil society.

Project Activities

Development of Media Law and Regulations: MENA MEDIA supports the efforts of local associations, attorneys, and media reformers as they seek to improve the legal and regulatory framework for independent media. MENA MEDIA analyzes proposed legislation, provides training in advocacy, and assists with the development of draft media laws and regulations. Workshops, consultations, and trainings allow lawyers, journalists, parliamentarians and judges to learn about and discuss proposed media legislative changes, model laws, and the implementation of new reforms

• Professional Development for Emerging Media Leaders: To diversify television broadcast programming, the TV Production Fund finances projects that report on topics typically not covered by current media productions. The Emerging Leaders Fellowship provides training on leadership and management to media professionals to support the use of best practices in broadcast and print industries

• Media Management: MENA MEDIA offers media management training in market research, expands business resources for media, and provides short-term consulting on strategic planning to nascent private media outlets

• Professional Networking among Media Professionals and Advocates: Through a media business website and small grants, MENA MEDIA promotes and facilitates communication among leading media professionals and advocates to ensure the sustainability of media development efforts in the region