June 25, 2011 - June 27, 2011
Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Building New Media Institutions in the MENA Region: A Roadmap Towards Media Law and Policy Reform is the first in a multi-part series of workshops aimed at bringing together key stakeholders from the academic, law and policy and civil society community interested in participating in a dialogue that will aid the media transitions in the Middle East and North Africa.This workshop is an intensive 3-day working group for a select group of individuals from the MENA region who have demonstrated potential to be active participants in influencing and shaping media policies and institutions. This group will be joined by international experts, including lawyers, practitioners and political scientists, with experience in media transitions in other locales. It is intended to help participants think about the challenges and opportunities they will face in the months ahead, including what directions and strategies for change should be considered and implemented.
Led by Internews Network, in collaboration with the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Media and Communication Studies, Central European University, this two-day workshop sought to explore and put into context the prospects for change in media laws and policies and re-structuring of key institutional arrangements in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The current state and prospects for development of media institutions, law and policies in the MENA region is a reflection of the political environment. Historically, the rules and practices governing the media were designed first and foremost to keep media from challenging the authority of the state. This prerogative prevented the development of a strong, vibrant, economically viable sector that engaged and informed citizens and allowed the media to play an effective role as a watchdog, highlighting corruption and potential abuses of power. Now, as Tunisia and Egypt emerge from the shadow of decades-long dictatorships, and other countries continue to press for political reform (either dramatic or more gradual), the traditional tools of media containment—both laws and institutions—are no longer relevant nor, in many cases, desired.
This initial gathering included representatives of various stakeholder groups from the region, including government/policy, media and civil society.