Bettina Peters calls for greater North-South journalism collaboration

In a keynote at the Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff, Bettina Peters tackles the idea of what we mean by media development.

This is pertinent to Peters, who is the director of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), a network of some 500 media assistance organisations from around the globe.

Peters explains that in a traditional media US-based model, you would promote media development by encouraging the established of private news outlets.

In Europe, there would also be efforts to establish institutions supporting diversity and pluralism in the media.

Additionally media development would involve training of media professionals, together with reforms of media law and investment in media infrastructure, such as TV transmitters.

Peters went on to outline come of the challenges facing media development in a climate of declining sales and advertising, continued concentration of media ownership and falling investment in journalism.

Her question is, do we need new media development, such as training citizen journalists. Her answer is yes.

As an example, she talks about how citizens are providing much of the information about what is happening in Sri Lanka, rather than the established media.

Secondly, she says media development should also look at new funding ideas and sources. Perhaps, she suggests, we will need to consider hybrid models or private-public funding.

One aspect that remains consistent is legal reform, says Peters. There are still issues over freedom of information and internet censorship in many developing countries.

Through the GFMD, Peters is mapping media development globally and aiming act as a hub for people to come together and share their experiences.

She concludes by appealing for greater exchanges between the developed and developing world, arguing that media professionals in the North can learn from their colleagues in the South.

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