Islamabad, 22nd October 2021: UNESCO Pakistan and research partner Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) have launched the Pakistan National Assessment of Media Development Indicators (MDIs) and Media Viability Indicators (MVIs). The research aims to strengthen media development, freedom and sustainability in Pakistan by developing policy and practical recommendations for different stakeholder groups based on the findings of an in-depth assessment of the media landscape against a set of indicators.
The MDIs and MVIs are an analytic tool developed by UNESCO to help assess the state of media, measure the impact of media development, and enable an environment of independent journalism in a country. They comprise over 50 key indicators and 190 sub-indicators including research into various aspects such as media regulation, pluralism, infrastructural capacity, among other indicators. UNESCO’s MDI framework has been applied in several countries, including Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Maldives, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Serbia, Jordan, Tunisia, and Venezuela, with assessments in others already underway.
The start of the research process was marked by the first multi-stakeholders Advisory Board meeting (MAB), a diverse group including representatives from academia, legal fraternity, civil society, media development sector, and digital and print media. The fundamental role of the MAB is to guide the research team in accessing data and information, and also to reinforce quality, legitimacy and transparency of the national assessment exercise. The assessment is expected to identify practical and policy gaps in achieving a free, viable and independent media, and offer recommendations in both categories based on findings of the research. The assessment exercise also aims to achieve substantive and wide-ranging findings that would have real value to improve the quality of policy-making and practice around media regulation, media practices, development and viability.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Hamza Khan, National Professional Officer, UNESCO Pakistan said that “MDI and MVI assessment report has the potential to provide a much-needed overall analysis of the country’s media landscape and could help focus on the challenging areas in media development, including but not limited to media economy and business.”
Mr. Asad Baig, Founder MMfD, the research lead for this assessment said that the discussion on media development and media viability goes beyond content regulation. “Emphasis must also be placed on infrastructural capacities, access to information and democratic discourse.” We hope to conduct a holistic and detailed research to provide evidence-based recommendations and strive towards inclusivity, good governance and human development.
The assessment seeks to provide a unique insight into the media landscape in Pakistan, and equip all the key stakeholders with a roadmap of the strengths and weaknesses of the media sector and suggest targeted recommendations. Specific focus will be placed on improving the accessibility and visibility of marginalized members of the society.
As a way forward, the MAB is set to convene on regular intervals in order to support the research team to ensure a smooth completion of the assessment process.