An international conference on media support held in Oslo 3-4 November 2003. At this media conference, organised by PRIO, the Norwegian Minister of International Development Hilde F. Johnson launched a new scheme to support free media.
Assistance to free media as part of long-term institution-building for good governance was the main focus of this conference. On what democratic ideals is such a policy based, and what are the parameters against which the results of media support will be measured? Speakers addressed the issues of ownership structures and editorial freedom, the media as a watchdog of respect for democratic values and procedures, and transparency in the execution of political power.
The conference also dealt with emergency assistance to the media during open conflicts. Examples of such support in several countries was presented and discussed. The conference also discussed how difficult dilemmas arising from such activities should be addressed.
Assessing the quality of media support will require more specific knowledge of evaluation methods, contexts and the complex relationship between media and conflicts than is currently available. Through this conference, PRIO hopes to stimulate research efforts in these directions.