The African Media Barometer (AMB)
The African Media Barometer (AMB) is an in-depth and comprehensive
description and measurement system for national media environments on the
African continent. Unlike other press surveys or media indices the AMB is a selfassessment exercise based on homegrown criteria derived from African Protocols
and Declarations like the “Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression
in Africa” (2002) by the “African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights”
(ACHPR)1. The instrument was jointly developed by fesmedia Africa, the Media
Project of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Africa, and the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA) in 2004.
The African Media Barometer is an analytical exercise to measure the media
situation in a given country which at the same time serves as a practical lobbying
tool for media reform. Its results are presented to the public of the respective
country to push for an improvement of the media situation using the AUDeclaration and other African standards as benchmarks. The recommendations
of the AMB-reports are then integrated into the work of the 19 country offices
of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in sub-Sahara Africa and into the advocacy
efforts of other local media organizations like the Media Institute of Southern
Methodology and Scoring System
Every two to three years a panel of 10-12 experts, consisting of at least five
media practitioners and five representatives from civil society, meets to assess
the media situation in their own country. For 1 1/2 days they discuss the national
media environment according to 45 predetermined indicators. The discussion and
scoring is moderated by an independent consultant who also edits the AMBreport.
After the discussion of one indicator panel members allocate their individual
scores to that respective indicator in an anonymous vote according to the
following scale:




Country does not meet indicator


Country meets only a few aspects of indicator


Country meets some aspects of indicator


Country meets most aspects of indicator


Country meets all aspects of the indicator

The ACHPR is the authoritative organ of the African Union (AU) mandated to interpret the African Charter on Human
and Peoples’ Rights.


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