FACT SHEET: Independent Media Empowerment Program

Project Snapshot

Total Funding:  $5 million

Project Duration:  April 2017 - April 2022

Implementing Partner:  Center for Civil Society Promotion (CCSP)

 

The Challenge

Media organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) were isolated and weakened by the confines of the war and the subsequent poverty and corruption, all of which contributed to the lack of high-quality, independent media today. The BiH media is under heavy political influence, reporting is biased, and media laws are poorly developed, according to the IREX Media Sustainability Index of 2016, and the system is considered “unsustainable.” Freedom of speech also declined over the previous year, with threats to journalists on the rise. All of these factors contributed to serious backsliding of the media sector. According to the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, BiH was ranked 66 out of 180 countries, a decline of two points from the previous year. Consequently, the number of professional, seasoned media managers, editors, and journalists is very limited, and independent media are not financially sustainable in BiH, where media outlets are often owned and controlled (or harassed and otherwise penalized) by political interests.

 

Our Program

USAID’s Independent Media Empowerment Program will sustain independent media in BiH by providing direct support for media that produce professional and independent reporting, and supporting the legal representation for media organizations and journalists targeted by politically motivated defamation lawsuits.

 

Implementation and Results

Activities implemented under USAID’s Independent Media Empowerment Program will help create a safer environment in which BiH journalists can work, strengthen viable sources of information, increase media’s role in social responsibility, and increase citizens’ awareness of the importance of independent journalism for them and in their daily lives. Through this project, USAID seeks to achieve the following specific results:

  • The number of investigative or high-quality news stories produced in BiH is increased;
  • Independent journalism products and news reach more citizens;
  • Through the objective reporting, citizens are better informed about public policy issues, so they can hold their elected leaders accountable;
  • Multiple, objective information sources are available;
  • Media conduct more critical content analysis of the sector;
  • The rights of BiH journalists are protected, and they have access to competent legal advice and representation.

 

Last updated: December 21, 2017

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