MDIF launches $2.4m capacity building programme for Myanmar media
The Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) announced, on 10 December, the launch of a $2.4 million capacity building program for media in Myanmar funded by Sweden.
The program will provide tailored capacity building support to a select group of independent media companies to help them develop the media management skills necessary to establish financially sustainable quality news businesses, the MDIF said in a statement.
“This is an exciting yet also challenging time in Myanmar, not least for the media,” said MDIF CEO Harlan Mandel. “Our program will help key independent news outlets respond more effectively to the rapidly evolving political – and media – landscape.”
Over the three-year program MDIF, a US-based not-for-profit investment fund providing financing and technical assistance to independent media businesses in countries where access to free and independent information is under threat, will work with around a dozen companies, all selected for their independence, potential impact and likelihood of long-term survival. Three or 4 will be ethnic media and 2-4 are expected to become eligible for MDIF’s regular loan or equity financing over the course of the program. Participat- ing media will be a mix of print, broadcast and digital, with local, national and international reach.
“Robust, viable independent media outlets are essential if Myanmar is to build on last month’s election,” said MDIF Asia Director Tessa Piper, who will be overseeing the program. “They must be strong enough to hold politicians to account and provide a voice for the people. Our coaching program will draw primarily on media professionals from around the region who can share relevant experience and practical know-how with their Myanmar counterparts. And in that way help them build financially stable media businesses.”
“Freedom of expression and the enabling environment for free, independent media are priorities in Swedish development cooperation with Myanmar” said David Holmertz, Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Myanmar. “For domestic media to effectively promote democracy, human rights and development, they need to be sustainable without undue dependence on forms of funding that may risk compromising their editorial independence.”
Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima