Analyst Calls for Support of Foreign Journalism

By: Charles Geraci

In “The Media Missionaries,” a new report for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, analyst Ellen Hume gives an in-depth account of the efforts to promote press freedom and heighten journalism standards around the globe.

“The survival of independent journalism in countries where politicians or oligarchs have taken over much of the media depends on the journalists developing alternative sources of power, such as economic independence, international funding and pressure or local support,” Hume said in a statement.

In the decade after the 1989 collapse of Communism, the U.S. government and private agencies, including foundations, have spent more than $600 million on media development and international journalism training programs. Despite the launch of newspapers and television and radio networks as a result of the funding, repression and censorship continue to hamper journalists and undermine progress.

Hume notes that entire populations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America do not have access to basic local and international news, despite the money that has been spent on media development. “Long-term commitment is required to harvest the seeds sown in [that decade],” Hume said. “The endeavor is valuable and worthwhile, though, for Americans as well as the international community.”

Hume, a journalist and educator, has participated in international media training since 1993.

The Knight Foundation funded and published “The Media Missionaries.” The new publication contains 33 pages of updated contacts on media developers worldwide, and is available at www.knightfdn.org.

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