MENA Media Sustainability Index released

10 Jan, '07

Media Sustainability Index report cover page

The new Media Sustainability Index is another metric which has just been released – for the first time – covering media freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa. This program is by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and yet again shows the low level of media freedoms and independence in this area. Although they are more optimistic in that they recognise clear indications of change to the better than other organisations.

The MSI report I think is much more thorough that RSF’s, and more encompassing.

If you don’t have time to read the 262 pages of the report, then you can download just the part which concerns your country or area of interest only. Bahrain’s chapter is a comprehensive 19 pages – and it’s position is dismal, yet again, in another metric.

If you still don’t think you should bother delving into this, then let me wet your appetite just a little; this is part of the executive summary:

The first MSI for the Middle East and North Africa shows a region not yet advanced toward a robust, independent media sector, but it clearly detected the signals of change. The roadblocks are painfully evident in, as an example, the rebuilding of the Iraqi media. Although the absolute controls of the previous regime are gone, the MSI panelists said, not only do political leaders not understand the principles of media freedoms but citizens also do not understand the importance of media independence or act to defend it.

It is this report and its aspects that we are partly going to discuss in Morocco amongst other topics next week as part of the IREX Media Advisory Board from the 13th through to the 19th. Needless to say I shall blog about it.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i hope this helps put pressure on the government do way with this pointless laws and open up this country.

    here is another good move; an open letter to the king by reporters without borders.

  2. mahmood says:

    Yes I just got this in my inbox (same link you provided):

    Open letter to king of Bahrain about the Internet censorship

    Reporters Without Borders wrote today to the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, about his government’s Internet policies, condemning an increase in the censorship of online publications and, in particular, requesting the reopening of the site of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

    Letter sent on 10 January to the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, by Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard

    “Your Majesty,

    Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, is concerned about your Kingdom’s Internet policies.

    In April 2005, your government adopted regulations that require websites dealing with Bahrain to register with your information ministry. We condemn this requirement at the time, believing that, although hard to apply, it seemed to indicate a desire to place inappropriate controls on the Internet.

    Access to many news websites, online political and religious publications, and blogs was blocked in October 2006, a month before legislative elections. Several of these online publications appear to have been banned for covering the “Bandargate,” a political scandal in which people close to the government have been implicated. Nearly 20 of these websites are still inaccessible.

    We are particularly shocked by the banning for the website of the Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo), which has been rendered inaccessible in your country since December. Blocking access to this site, which defends prisoners of conscience and free expression, is unacceptable.

    As we are confident that you would like to ensure respect for diversity of information as well as the rapid and unrestricted development of the Internet in your Kingdom, we hope that you will agree to overhaul your Internet policies. An initial sign of your commitment to online free expression would be to quickly lift the blocking of HRinfo.

    We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.”


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