Hivos’ approach to stimulating alternative and independent media is threefold:
1. Foster a diverse and thriving media landscape by consolidating alternative media.
2. Improve the quality of media and promote their independence.
3. Ensure that media do not only hold others to account, but themselves too.
Independent and quality media
Informed citizens are crucial, but information is worthless if it is biased, unchecked or censored. Stimulating high-quality journalism and independent news reporting by media organisations is, therefore, a key focal area of Hivos’ media policy.
We safeguard media quality by supporting (exiled) media that broadcasts via internet, satellite and radio and by supporting different media funds. One such fund is the Tanzania Media Fund (TMF). This innovative initiative seeks to promote first-rate independent media in Tanzania with a particular focus on topics of public interest and investigative journalism.
Another exemplary initiative is Confidencial, a weekly online magazine for investigative journalism in Nicaragua established by Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación (CINCO). CINCO supports the creation of new spaces and communication strategies for sharing information in order to help strengthen the local civic political culture and create an informed public opinion in Nicaragua.
With the continuous growth of online information sharing, new opportunities keep arising to broaden the scope of the media landscape. Hivos supports individuals and organisations that use these opportunities to contribute to media diversity.
We facilitate alternative information streams by making online content of local bloggers and citizen journalists – including media productions by and for marginalised groups - accessible for the broader public and traditional media. This stimulus creates more diversity in the media landscape and offers citizens spaces where their voices can be heard.
An example of Hivos’ efforts to carve out a more substantial role for citizens in media is its support to Global Voices. Global Voices is a community of more than 500 bloggers and translators around the world who work together to collect, highlight and reflect on blogs and other citizen media platforms. In short, Global Voices seeks to aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore.
Conserving and safeguarding the quality, independence, diversity and transparency of the media also requires monitoring the output of print, online and broadcast platforms.
In India, Hivos’ partner The Hoot runs a media watch website which provides tools for communities and individuals to interact with the media. It also brings together relevant links and readings devoted to examining accuracy, fairness, right to information, censorship, and the responsibility of the media.
Hivos seeks to support (citizen) journalists, bloggers and media initiatives in both authoritarian regimes and democratic societies. With this three-pronged approach to diversifying and strengthening the media landscape , we aim to broaden people’s access to (sources of) information and create more spaces where citizens can inform themselves and raise their voices.