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Winter 2018 Newsletter

March 22, 2018



As we ushered in 2018, anti-government protests spread across provincial cities in Iran and protests by women against the compulsory wearing of the Hijab picked up pace. Both were driven in part by social media photos and videos from citizens and coverage of the events by external independent Persian-language media. While Iran is consistently ranked as one the world’s most repressive governments against journalists, recent events there show that citizens continue to seek information and citizens and journalists continue to find ways to report.  These protests show that despite the government’s attempts to silence dissenting views, citizens are actually relatively well-informed about their government’s domestic and foreign policies. Social media sites, messaging channels, and the support and cooperation of independent external news sites have allowed citizens, civil society, and journalists inside the country present alternative news that the government has been unable to control.


Iran represents just one example of the reality that IMDA partners and the broader media development community have been addressing. How to work in less than friendly environments to support independent and resilient sources of news, support journalists and citizens who report the news under pressure, and ensure that citizens can access a variety of reliable, diverse, and accurate news sources.


Over the late Fall and Winter, our partners have undertaken and started a variety of consulting activities:



  • Member of assessment team for international journalism fellowship program.

  • Member Columbia University team assessing projects designed to create more trust in fact-based news and audience engagement with news media organizations.

  • Supported network building for the Global Investigative Journalism Network at their global conference.

  • Reviewed and assessed emergency and rapid response media support activities for a major INGO.

  • Presented findings from a background paper on media and conflict prevention for a UN-World Bank study on conflict prevention and development .

  • Presented a paper at a conference in Ottawa on Media and Mass atrocity.

  • Assessed a program on ensuring the protection of journalists in crisis, conflict and disaster environments and supporting a fund raising and partnership strategy for an INGO in the field of the safety of journalists.

  • Supported a review and updating of a major media mapping and indicators effort.

  • Moderated a series of GFMD webinar tutorials on the  use of access-to-information tools and techniques for investigative reporting, with journalists and case histories from South America, South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the MENA region



  • Worked with Somali media owners to strengthen their core business operations and develop digital operations.  Results included increased revenues and audiences.

  • Consulted in Somaliland to improve the digital and business performance of independent news broadcasters and extend their reach onto mobile platforms.

  • Supported proposal development for a media project in Sudan

  • Leading preparations for a conference in Harare, Zimbabwe on Reporting the Sustainable Development Goals in the SADC Region.



  • Continued a multi-year program supporting ethnic and regional Myanmar media houses.  Worked collaboratively to increase their digital footprint while weaning them from reliance on Facebook as a distribution channel.  Worked to achieve stronger brand coherence as part of an effort to reduce the deliberate spread of fake news and hate speech through counterfeit sites. 



  • Served on a panel on counter-measures to Russian disinformation, mainly in the digital sphere at the Center for European Policy Analysis

  • Supporting a proposal for project to support independent news and counter disinformation.

  • Conducted a workshop on political journalism and election reporting in Latvia in advance of the parliamentary elections

  • Supported a project on transparency and good governance in the Balkans, including assessing communication capabilities and working to enhance increased openness and responsiveness with the media and the public.


Latin America:

  • Participated in week-long UNESCO seminar for Paraguayan judges on press freedom and access to information ​principles, case law and regional treaty obligations

  • Conducted assessment of EU training program for investigative journalists in Honduras on the use of access-to-information laws and systems 


Middle East:

  • Provided project management, monitoring and evaluation, and proposal development for external news and information projects focused on Iran.

  • Supported projects documenting the persecution of Iranian journalists.



IMDA partners offer their services to public and private donors, media development implementers, and democracy and governance organizations. We work as individual consultants, but we can also develop teams to work jointly on training programs, assessment reports, and other media development consulting projects.  IMDA partners have collaborated with the leading bilateral OECD donor agencies, major private philanthropic foundations, and multilateral organizations in providing both advisory and managerial support for media development projects in all regions of the world.


IMDA Partners:

Susan Abbott, Michelle Betz, Michelle Foster,  Ellen Hume, Jane McElhone, Bill Orme,  Mogens Schmidt, Marguerite Sullivan, Magda Walter, Mark Whitehouse.

If you would like to learn more about International Media Development Advisers, contact us at

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