UNESCO trains 30 experts in new survey tools to collect standardized media statistics
A second phase of piloting of UNESCO’s new media survey instruments is now underway, following a successful training workshop of the UNESCO International Working Group on Media Statistics, which took place from 14 to 16 May at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. A joint project of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, the meeting brought together representatives of regulatory bodies, national statistical institutions and public authorities from 28 countries, who will act as focal points for the initiative.
The new data collection tools encompass three separate questionnaires – on the legal framework for media; the state of broadcast media; and the state of print and electronic newspapers. The instruments will enable the collection, at global level, of standardized media statistics based on a common methodology and definitions.
During the 2.5-day interactive workshop, participants were provided with detailed guidance for the accurate completion of the questionnaires and were also familiarized with the newly standardized concepts. They discussed ways to overcome some of the challenges that emerged when pre-testing the questionnaires in their respective countries, including context-specific issues and lack of availability of certain data. Participants highlighted the difficulty of producing statistics in an increasingly complex and fast-evolving media environment, and the need to strike the right balance between policy relevance and operational feasibility of the new survey instruments.
The instruments were developed taking into account UNESCO’s internationally recognized Media Development Indicators (MDI) Framework, a diagnostic tool for carrying out comprehensive assessments of national media landscapes. They were pre-tested in February 2010 in five countries – namely, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Jordan and Ukraine, and this was followed by a first pilot test in 28 countries in 2011. In November 2011, UIS organized a meeting in Maputo, Mozambique with the focal points from these countries to discuss the results of the first pilot phase and further refine the survey instruments.
The second phase of the pilot which will now commence, led by UIS, aims to involve some 60 countries across all regions and to be completed before the end of 2012. UNESCO hopes to help catalyze the regular collection of media statistics around the world as of 2013.
The development and application of these new survey instruments will help UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators by providing media-related data at national level, and will also facilitate the monitoring of progress made in achieving the media-related goals set out at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS – Action line 9).