MDIF launches $2.4m ca­pac­ity build­ing pro­gramme for Myan­mar me­dia

Mizzima Business Weekly - - AFFAIRS // NEWS -

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

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