The Participation Approach in Media Development Cooperation

  • Ines Drefs
  • Barbara ThomassEmail author


Media assistant organizations (MAO) are important actors in transitional and conflict societies. By providing training and resources, they aim to strengthen professionalism and political independence of journalists in transitional and fragile societies. MAOs have been criticized for their top-down approach to development that regards partners as mere receivers of knowledge and assistance rather than active participants. After a critical overview of the changing paradigms in media assistance over the last decades, the chapter presents findings from in-depth interviews with professionals in the field. The interview material shows that MAOs are re-defining their role by adopting a more participatory and holistic approach that also includes civil society groups and audiences. However, pressures by donors, political constraints and limited resources are obstacles that often prevent these ideas to be implemented.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz Information Centre for EconomicsHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Media Studies, Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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