Media Abroad: Some Improvement But Plenty of Obstacles

Media Abroad: Some Improvement But Plenty of Obstacles
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Media in Eastern Europe and Eurasia are on divergent paths, according to research funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Officials from the research organizations spoke to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty audience; RFE/RL released a summary of the remarks.
According to IREX, its Media Sustainability Index shows that while revolutions have sparked positive trends in Georgia and Ukraine, "politicized media and self-censorship remain obstacles to development of an independent press in almost all of the countries surveyed."
Officials said they noted positive trends in Southeastern Europe - "It's not there yet by any means, but when compared to either Western Eurasia or, in particular, Central Asia, it is far more advanced" - and mentioned Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Central Asia "was at the opposite extreme ... (and) remains the farthest from having independent or sustainable media." Three of the four lowest-ranking countries in the survey were Central Asian countries; the fourth was Belarus. Russia is ranked in the lower tier due to its "backsliding."
USAID uses the info to measure the effectiveness of assistance programs. A panel of media professionals was assembled in 20 countries to assess their media environments over the last four years.
The index can be visited online; click here.

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