Supporting Media Legislation
The starting point of any long term strategy to achieve structural stability for the media is a law guaranteeing freedom of expression. Any such law should be based upon the relevant international standards to promote media pluralism. Often, in post-conflict countries, media laws are either non-existent or outdated and must be reformed to promote free press and diversity of opinion and ownership. UNESCO often supports the creation of independent regulatory structures, as an independent broadcast regulator is often the mechanism which allocates radio frequencies and undertakes the necessary licensing procedures.
Media independence will only thrive where a genuine private media market can develop. Furthermore, economically viable media is the only way forward to reasonable working conditions for journalists, including livable wages, which in turn is an important guarantor for transparency and anti-corruption among media professionals.
In many post conflict societies the market for the media is very weak. The media are frequently supported by powerful groups – parties, factions, and businesses – to act as mouthpieces for their own interests. Support for the developing print and broadcast market is crucial in helping to provide economic support for new media outlets: pulling together with start up costs, professional expertise, even equipment and materials, all of which may be beyond the reach of many would-be owners, editors and producers. In addition, it is very important to assess a media market’s options for commercial viability and prospects for development as well as identifying areas where targeted investment in research and training can enhance commercial viability and media market advantage.
The local media community should also be encouraged to discuss and enhance the professional standards of journalists, and to link with regional and international associations. Independent journalists' associations should also be encouraged.