A truly pluralistic media, functioning in an environment that supports media freedom and democracy is an ideal that PEA pursues in its daily work.
Media pluralism and Development is the programme response that shapes PEA’s interventions to improve media content, journalists’ skills and media environment.
Over the past five years, PEA together with partners such as Open Society Initiative for East Africa and Oak Foundation have had concerted efforts towards improving the skill of journalists. For instance, there have been targeted training on a wide range of subjects including investigative journalism, development reporting and human rights reporting. There have also been initiatives like fellowships and content grants to enable journalists investigate and report on development issues.
However, such multi-pronged interventions have remained inadequate for several reasons. First, the explosion of electronic media in the region has been phenomenal. Yet the training of journalists has not adequately responded to this. Even where there are training institutions for journalists, the training has tended to be shallow, more theoretical and less effective in producing ready journalists. The high turnover of staff in the media industry also continues to take away the trained journalists from the industry. There is always a skill gap that needs to be addressed on a continuous basis. As the media proliferate across the region into remote upcountry towns, the need for media workers with basic media skills/competencies become even greater.
Across the region, journalists continue to be gagged, brutalized or killed by suspected state agents and in countries like Somalia where there is war, by rebels as well. In so called “democracies” like Uganda, journalists continue to face unprecedented threats to their liberty and life.
Therefore PEA works towards “a free and responsible media that generate quality information and reflect the diversity of views-especially of the marginalized in the region” by addressing challenges around media space and environment especially state interference and restrictive policies and laws. In addition, with a free media environment, PEA believes and works for a diverse, plural and engaging media. Therefore, PEA has partnered with other interested and like-minded organizations to address this. In the same faith, PEA is promoting the use of ICT to enhance and broaden citizen participation.
To advocate for a favorable media environment
To build capacity of the media to enhance development communication
To promote the use of ICT to enhance citizen participation
Increased understanding of media laws, their effect on freedom of expression and development
Diversification of media ownership
Diversified voices and content in the media
Sustained engagement between the media and relevant actors
Improved development reporting
Robust media and journalists
ICT conversant media professionals
Increased access to information
Increased participation and voices of citizens
Capacity building of regional journalist associations project