Deep Dives 5: Media Sustainability and Media Literacy

RNW Media and the PeaceTech Lab share the belief that professional independent media are critical to sustaining peaceful and prosperous societies, and are concerned about the growing threats to fact-based information and free expression and the media organizations that support them, particularly in repressive and conflict-torn societies.

On September 19, RNW Media and the Lab convened an inter-disciplinary group of media capacity-building organizations, media operators, experts, and funders to take an in-depth look at media capacity-building in today’s global media environment. They took stock of what media operators most need, gaps between those needs and capacity-building support, cooperation among capacity-building organizations, and funders’ perspectives and priorities.

There were numerous important threads of that discussion. Two issues particularly stood out. One was media sustainability – the need for specialized training and other assistance that could help media operators stay in business. As one prominent practitioner put it, “Training of journalists is critical, but it goes for naught if the businesses they work for cannot keep the lights on.”

The other issue that stood out was media literacy as a response to the global epidemic of disinformation (“fake news”), contributing to the decline of confidence in media. Media literacy is critical in its own right but also linked to sustainability. Diminished media credibility can lead to loss of audience and advertising revenue.

On December 6, RNW Media and the Lab will address these two issues in greater depth, in round two of the media capacity-building conversation, reconvening and expanding to the prior group.

On sustainability, the sequel will address pressure points and problems, new business models and case studies (success stories), business entrepreneurship training, content and distribution partnerships, and the role of technology in both driving and inhibiting sustainability.
On media literacy, the discussion will survey the extent of the disinformation problem worldwide, examine the efficacy of media literacy efforts to date (both formal and informal), look at new, innovative approaches, and consider the requirements to educate media so they in turn can educate their own audiences on media literacy.

The deep dive is a facilitated conversation within the whole group. Speakers’ comments are tight (5-7 minutes) discussion drivers as opposed to speeches or PowerPoints. Each session has built-in discussion time.

Please find/download the draft agenda here.

This Deep Dive is being organised in collaboration with RNTC.