The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy has issued a new publication tittled “Media Development and Countering Violent Extremism: An Uneasy Relationship, a Need for Dialogue”. The report looks at how media development practitioners are reacting to the rise of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda.
The report by Courtney Radsch, the Advocacy Director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, looks into the reaction of media development practitioners to the rise of this agenda alongside its growing influence on their field.
This influence is a cause of concern not only because practitioners of CVE and media development have fundamentally different worldviews but because the CVE agenda is seen to pose serious risks for southern media houses and the organisations that support them.
The report points out that these risks are unlikely to be addressed without coordinated efforts from both sides stating that a dialogue between CVE and media development is needed.
Radsch, a veteran journalist, researcher, and free expression advocate,
writes and speaks frequently about the nexus of media, technology, and human rights.
The Report looks at the ISIS Mediascape and the Emergence of the CVE Agenda; Defining CVE and Government Implementation of CVE Initiatives; Response of the Media Development Community to the CVE Agenda; and Unintended Consequences: Crackdown on Independent Media and Freedom of Expression.
The two emerging conclusions of the report are:
- Efforts to distance CVE conceptually from media development are not providing the guidance needed to navigate an increasingly blurry line between the two fields in practice.
- Audience reception studies and investments in media information literacy are needed as they currently receive inadequate attention in CVE efforts and funding.
The report highlights a need for greater mutual understanding. It notes that the fields must remain operationally partitioned but an important issue to be addressed separately, or through a cross sectoral dialogue, is how to ensure that the two types of activities remain clearly compartmentalized—even in instances where they serve similar objectives.
The report recommends that governments and donour organisations find modalities for keeping CVE and media development activities separate in their budget lines and programmatic boundaries.
It explains that donours should also ensure that support for independent media is funded exclusively within the structures and objectives of development assistance and not co-opted or tainted by CVE frameworks.
Although, as the report acknowledges, it does not have the solutions to this complex challenge, its findings shine some light on the pathway to discovering them.