FACT SHEET: Strengthening Independent Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding:  $5.7 million
Start Date:  October 2010
End Date:  October 2015
Implementing Partner:  Internews Network
 
The Challenge
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has seen an increase in nationalistic rhetoric in political discourse and the media, which greatly influences public sentiment and attitudes. Journalists adhere to "patriotism” rather than professionalism, and serve mostly special interests – not the public. The lack of professional and unbiased media prevents constructive public dialogue and further development of democracy. 
 
Our Program
USAID’s project, Strengthening Independent Media, promotes complete, unbiased news coverage through traditional and alternative media. The program will improve the quality of existing media outlets and sources and raise professional standards for both basic and investigative journalism. The project will help develop online media outlets and alternative news sources, which will include citizen reporting via social media and give voice to those who often go unheard in BiH, such as women, youth, and minorities. Through small grants for investigative reporting, this project will provide some assistance to traditional media. This project will also help build a cadre of journalists, editors, and news organizations capable of serving BiH citizens beyond USAID assistance. Finally, the project will work with the industry's regulatory bodies and trade associations to provide a supportive environment for journalists throughout the country.  
 
Implementation and Results
The Strengthening Independent Media Project is improving investigative and real-time news reporting in BiH, developing web portals for minorities and marginal social groups, and encouraging cooperation between them. The project strengthens the quality of investigative reporting through consultants, technical support, and grants to investigate and report on pressing issues in BiH society. These issues include but are not limited to health and education, taxes and government spending, effectiveness, transparency, and corruption. The project also provides media law expertise at universities, associations, and media outlets through moot court competitions and media literacy clinics, and supports programs that place journalism students at selected online and traditional media outlets. This media project is working with the Communications Regulatory Agency and the Press Council to create space for internal, professional dialogue on the rights and responsibilities of journalists and protect the interests of the profession. SIM also works with Media Center Sarajevo to use its expertise and establish Media Center’s long-term role in providing quality in BiH media.
 
For more information:
Drazena Peranic, USAID/BiH Development Outreach and Communications Specialist
 

Last updated: November 26, 2013

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