Accountability and Media

Accountability and Media

The media play a key role in holding major players in the political and private sectors accountable. Journalists ask critical questions, sink their teeth into complex research questions and publish about their findings. Media organisations serve as watchdogs, put important issues on the agenda and provide citizens with a platform for debate.

They can only fulfil these roles when they have good contact with civil society organisations. After all, these organisations know what is going on in the community and are able to mobilise people. And the organisations in turn need the media to reach their support base. To this end, they need to understand which role is played by the media, and how important the media are.

In many countries, both factors are sorely lacking: even when a country does have freedom of the press, the media aren’t always able to effectively fulfil their responsibility to society. On top of this, many citizens are far from ‘media-savvy’. Free Press Unlimited works at the interface of such issues. We train investigative reporters and other journalists and help the media to raise their level of professionalism. We introduce them to civil society organisations. And we lobby for better legislation that safeguards the public’s right to information and helps to create safer working conditions for journalists.

Our objective in the longer term is to ensure that media organisations are accountable to their audience and take on the role of watchdog vis-à-vis those in power – protecting the rights of citizens and consumers in the process. This is one of the three basic requirements that media organisations need to satisfy if they want to effectively fulfil their role in society (we refer you to the second ‘interim goal’ in our Theory of Change).