FACT SHEET: Balkan Media Assistance Program

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USAID's Balkan Media Assistance Program is strengthening independent media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Press freedom is under threat in the Balkans. Political-economic interests have captured much of the mainstream media sector through opaque ownership structures, direct state support, and consolidated advertising markets, substantially limiting competition in the media marketplace and the public’s access to objective, balanced reporting. Such a consolidated, captured market, which operates alongside poorly functioning legal protections, further distorts the watchdog role the media should play in society and creates an uneven playing field for independent media. Against this backdrop, support for freedom of expression is needed to ensure that the independent media sector can advocate more effectively as a community and that citizens recognize the value of a free press and demand access to high-quality, fact-based reporting.

USAID ASSISTANCE

Through the Balkan Media Assistance Program (BMAP), USAID assists media practitioners in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to help them become more competitive in the local and regional marketplaces and to strengthen the sustainability of the independent media sector in the region. 

USAID’s implementing partner in this 3.5-year $7 million regional program is FHI 360 and Internews. 

IMPLEMENTATION AND EXPECTED RESULTS

BMAP works with 10 selected media (two per each participating country) as key program partners.  In addition to technical assistance and training, the project will have a $2.2 million small grants program for supporting engaging content and technology investments.

THE BALKAN MEDIA ASSISTANCE PROGRAM HAS FOUR MAIN OBJECTIVES:

  • Provide outlets and media partners with more substantial and stable resources to operate as viable enterprises.
  • Strengthen the ability of content producers to engage wider audiences and expand reach across the region.

  • Foster stronger partnerships to advance solutions on common challenges in the digital space: In-person collaboration is crucial for developing relationships that support cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial goals. 

  • Strengthen the digital security of at-risk media partners.

Last updated: December 01, 2020

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