The African Media Barometer
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
self-assessment exercise based on home-grown criteria derived from African
Protocols and Declarations such as the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of
Expression in Africa (2002) by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’
Rights. 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 AMB 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 AU-Declaration and other
African standards as benchmarks. The recommendations of the AMB reports are
then integrated into the work of the 20 country offices of the FES in sub-Saharan
Africa and into the advocacy efforts of other local media organisations such as
Methodology and Scoring System
Every three to four 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 1½ days they discuss the national
media environment according to 39 predetermined indicators. The discussion
and scoring is moderated by an independent consultant who also edits the AMB
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

In 2009, 2013 and 2019 some indicators were replaced to align with changes
in the media landscape. Consequently, in some instances, the comparison of
indicators of previous reports is not applicable (n/a), as the indicator is new or has
been amended considerably.



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