Research & Reports

Cuba offers a new challenge to the media development community. It is a land of paradoxes, with an extremely high literacy rate and educated population, yet a constrained information ecosystem. Its population has coped with severe shortages of hardware, software, and even instructional materials, yet it has produced a hacker culture whose ingenious approaches could be helpful to other countries with low bandwidth. For the media development community, Cuba could provide lessons for how to broaden the information space in closed or authoritarian societies and in areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America with underdeveloped electrical grids and information infrastructure.

This report looks at ten factors that have altered the media marketplace and that pose challenges to national and local news producers and their sources of revenue. They include ways in which governments interfere in media markets; changes in the structure of news distribution and audience behavior; and the way these changes have transformed how advertising media is bought, sold, and distributed. It then examines the key engagement metrics taken from a sampling of media development partner organizations to offer thoughts on how well these news producers are prepared to compete for audiences and revenue. Finally, it offers thoughts about the implications of these issues for media development organizations.

Media Development in the Digital Age: Five Ways to Engage in Internet Governance

This report makes the case to the journalism support and media development community that they can, and must, engage in the decision-making bodies that are shaping Internet governance to ensure that the Internet — and the growing media sphere it sustains — remains open, pluralistic, and democratic. It includes an examination of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), ICANN, IEEE, ITU, and IETF.

An increasing number of governments around the world are forcing internet service providers to slow their services during critical sociopolitical junctures—a practice known as throttling—infringing on citizens’ right to information and freedom of expression. Despite its deleterious impact on media development and foundational rights, throttling remains an often-neglected topic and risks becoming a pervasive, yet hidden, threat to press freedoms, democracy, and human rights.

  • Throttling refers to the intentional slowing of an internet service by an internet service provider.

  • It stifles the free flow of information during critical moments and prevents journalists from providing vital information to citizens abroad and at home.

  • Due to its difficulty to detect, throttling shields authorities from public scrutiny.

  • Businesses have a duty to be transparent about how and when governments force them to disrupt their services, yet often remain silent on the issue.

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