The African Media Barometer (AMB) is our flagship project at fesmedia Africa, the
regional media project of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Namibia. It was developed in
2004 in partnership with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Its indicators
are largely based on the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa
by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), making it a
home-grown index. The main objective of the AMB is to monitor developments
in the media and democratic processes at country and regional levels and provide
platforms and tools for dialogue among stakeholders.
Since its inception, the AMB has served as a trusted source of information on
the state of media environments and key developments in freedom of the press,
freedom of expression, and access to information in many countries in Sub-Saharan
Africa. Several press freedom and access to information campaigners have used the
AMB over the past two decades to advocate and lobby for reforms and enactment
of laws that promote enabling environments, a robust and free press, freedom of
expression, and access to information with varying degrees of success and impact.
The AMB has been referenced in academic research, policy advisories, advocacy
papers, as well as studies or important analyses of the media landscape in Africa by
multilateral institutions and international non-governmental organisations.
The past decade has seen an increase in AMBs compared to the 2000s, when
the index was in its infancy. An exponential number of countries have committed
to conducting the AMB, with some having done so more than four times. It
became evident to fesmedia Africa, partners and stakeholders that a closer look
at developments at subregional and regional levels was needed to understand
commonalities and differences in the media landscapes of the different countries.
This report presents an analysis of trends in 68 AMBs conducted from 2011 to 2021.
It unpacks recurring themes and recommendations in countries and commonalities
between countries in terms of positive and negative developments. It is evident

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