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Knowledge-Driven Media Development


UNESCO’s approach to media development is both knowledge-driven and context-sensitive, and it takes into account the challenges and opportunities created by the rapidly changing media environment. In light of this, the IPDC Bureau, at its 57th meeting held in March 2013, approved the concept of Knowledge-Driven Media Development (KDMD) as a new Special Initiative of the IPDC. The KDMD framework highlights the importance of generating and sharing of knowledge and learning to advance media development, and has special relevance to an inclusive approach to strengthening journalism education worldwide.  

IPDC has a clear role to play in 2014-21 in regard to knowledge development and circulation. It is significant that UNESCO has diagnosed the current historical period as one entailing the construction of knowledge societies. As such, it becomes increasingly relevant for IPDC to promote knowledge-driven media development. Here, IPDC is sitting on the proverbial goldmine constituted by a sizeable volume of information related to the large number of projects which it funds per annum. In this light, IPDC can be conceptualized within a wider learning cycle and results-based management.

It is in this vein as well, that the selection of projects by the Bureau should assess the potential of each applicant’s project to serve as a pilot in the sense of generating value far beyond the immediate scope of the activities. The information arising from these projects can generate knowledge, which in turn can enhance future project selection and learning, in a virtuous spiral of learning. 

In this way, IPDC can also become a global leader in transparency and sharing of information about media development. This would include enhancing its data base, and by leading a global process to promote research and knowledge generation within the media development community of practice.

Media Development Data Sharing Principles

The Media Development Data Sharing Principles were developed as part of a collaborative effort between UNESCO, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Bank Institute to encourage greater sharing of knowledge generated as a result of each organization’s support to media globally. This joint effort is part of an even larger group of media development actors focused on developing and refining knowledge management and research aggregation tools. The group, under the leadership of UNESCO, includes the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO), Deutsche Welle and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA). Interested organizations are welcome to participate in this collaborative venture, and can email their interest to: f.banda(at)unesco.org.

Generating a knowledge base for the post-2015 development agenda

As the world looks to craft new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reinforce achievements in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the IPDC is using its Knowledge-Driven Media Development initiative to produce a body of knowledge that makes the case for advocating for the inclusion of free, independent and pluralistic media in the post-2015 development agenda. Building on its analyses of IPDC’s implementation reports of projects supported over the years, and synthesizing empirical research undertaken in this area, UNESCO seeks to stimulate and promote further debate among its Member States and thus contribute towards evidence-based decision-making in this regard.

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