The African Media Barometer1 (AMB)
By Peter Schellschmidt2

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Southern African Media Project took
the initiative together with the Media Institute for Southern Africa
(MISA) to start the African Media Barometer in April 2005, a self assessment exercise done by Africans themselves according to homegrown criteria. The project is the first in-depth and comprehensive
description and measurement system for national media environments on the African continent. The benchmarks are to a large extend taken from the African Commission for Human and Peoples’
Rights (ACHPR) “Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression
in Africa”, adopted in 2002. This declaration was largely inspired
by the groundbreaking conferences in Windhoek/Namibia on the
“Independence of the Media” (1992) and the “African Charter on
Broadcasting” (2001). By the end of 2006, 19 sub-Saharan countries
will be covered by the AMB. In 2007 those countries which started
the exercise in 2005 will be revisited.
Methodology: A panel of experts is formed in each country, including representatives of media and civil society at large in equal
numbers. They are serving as panel members in their personal capacities, not as representatives of their respective organisations.
The panel should consist of not more than ten members. They will
meet bi-annually for two days retreats to go in a self-assessment
process through the indicators in a qualitative discussion and determine (quantitative) scores for each indicator. The meetings will
be chaired by an FES consultant to ensure comparable results. The
resulting reports are made public.
In March 2007 the “FES Media Project Southern Africa” and MISA (Media Institute of
Southern Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which states that both
organisations acknowledge joint and equal ownership of the African Barometer concept
and share copyright equally.
Peter Schellschmidt was the Head of the FES Media Project for Southern Africa from
2002 to March 2007.

African Media Barometer - Botswana 2007


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