To increase free and independent media in Africa over a five-year period. Based on an extensive needs assessment research project, and technical workshop (currently underway), activities will encourage the implementation of legal frameworks which support a pluralistic press environment; providing training to journalists with sustained post-training assistance, support to commercial management, and policy awareness among key stakeholders to ensure that a free independent media is placed on policy agendas.
The African Media Development Initiative is responding to recommendations of the recent UK Commission for Africa report, Our Common Interest. Highlighting fundamental roles of the media, the report calls for a collaborative effort on the part of all sectors, with the support of donors, to form a pan-African initiative to increase the attention, coordination, and resources of media development in Africa. Pluralistic independent media has proven to be a powerful catalyst in development and enhancing governance, encouraging transparency, accountability, and responsive, less corrupt governments.
As one of the world's leading public broadcasters, with a pervasive reach throughout Africa and the developing world, the BBC is strongly supportive and motivated to work towards a more independent African media. The Trust, as the BBC's independent, international charity and one of the world's leading media development organizations, has played a leading role in developing the initiative since its recommendation was included in the Commission for Africa report in March 2005.
The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) has supported the initiative and will continue to through the development phase of September 2005 to April 2006. Numerous discussions have taken place with additional donors, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Gates Foundation, and the Kaiser Foundation, International Business Leaders Forum, and the NEPAD Business Group.