The African Media Barometer (AMB)
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s African Media Project (fesmedia Africa) took the
initiative together with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) to start
the African Media Barometer (AMB) 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 extent taken from the African Commission for
Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)1 “Declaration of Principles on Freedom
of Expression in Africa”, adopted in 2002. This declaration was largely inspired
by the groundbreaking “Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent
and Pluralistic African Press” (1991) and the “African Charter on Broadcasting”
By the end of 2008, 23 sub-Saharan countries have been covered by the AMB. In
2007 those countries which started the exercise in 2005, were revisited providing
for the first time comparable data to measure developments in a country over a
two to three-year period.
For 2009 the indicators were reviewed, amended and some new indicators such as
those addressing Information Communication Technology (ICT) were added. 2
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 consists of ten to twelve members. They
will meet in regular time intervals 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
independent consultant to ensure comparable results. The resulting reports are
made public.
Scoring system: Panel members are asked to allocate their individual scores
to the respective indicators after the qualitative discussion in an anonymous vote
according to the following scale:
1 The ACHPR is the authoritative organ of the African Union (AU) mandated to interpret the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
2 Consequently, the comparison of some indicators of the 2005 and 2007 report is not applicable (n/a) in
some instances in which the indicator is new or has been amended considerably.



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