Call for Proposals: Research Consultancy, Digital Media Business Environment Assessment

About Sawt

Strengthening Civil Society and Media Systems (Sawt) Activity is a five-year (2022-2027) cooperative agreement funded by USAID and implemented by Internews in partnership with Mercy Corps and the International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL). Sawt aims to foster sustained civic engagement in Jordan through civil society and digital media innovations through two objectives: 1) Good, Trusted Knowledge-Building Resources: Citizens and civil society build knowledge through accessing and engaging critically with accurate and fact-based information and 2) Participation & Advocacy: Citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Jordan effectively participate in civic spaces and advocate for policies through knowledge-based collective action.

About Internews

Internews is an international nonprofit operating in 100 countries. At Internews, we believe everyone deserves trustworthy news and information to make informed decisions about their lives and hold power to account. We train journalists and digital rights activists, tackle disinformation, and offer business expertise to help media outlets become financially sustainable. For more information about the organization please visit:


Internews intends to engage a service provider/research organization to conduct a Digital Media Business Environment Assessment, henceforth referred to as DMBEA. The assessment will be conducted according to Internews Information Ecosystem Model and aims to primarily provide in-depth contextualized assessment of specific aspects related to business and regulatory environments that impact the sustainability and growth of independent and public interest media in Jordan. The selected organization, henceforth referred to as “Research Organization”, will lead the design, implementation, and delivery of this research.

Context and Rationale

Digital media has transformed Jordan’s information ecosystem, creating information integrity challenges but also opportunities for innovative providers seeking to better reach and serve their audiences’ information needs. Per USAID’s Jordan Media Assessment, the media landscape is experiencing a “digital disruption”, characterized by a rise in digital media uptake driving ever-changing consumer habits. Today, for the majority of Jordanians, social and digital media serve as the primary access points for information and news. At the center of this change is Jordanian youth, with over 85% of youth using social media daily. Moreover, audiences show declining trust in media content across all formats, including television and social media.

Meanwhile, a disrupted advertising market and lack of reliable data to make good decisions about advertising, audience engagement and needs have resulted in a situation where most independent public interest media platforms are unable to find new sources of revenue to protect their independence and sustainability.

While civil society and media organizations in Jordan are numerous and vibrant, their capacity to address complex challenges and engage constructively with the Government of Jordan (GOJ) is limited. For media platforms, this weakness is affected by the regulatory framework and policies, which were comprehensively examined in the still relevant 2015 UNESCO Assessment of Media Development in Jordan.

There is a noticeable media development research gap in Jordan, particularly in areas related to public policies, regulatory frameworks, advertising market changes, as well as actual practices and operations that impact the licensing, operations, and sustainability prospects of independent public interest media. Contributing to and encouraging such up-to-date research has increased relevance as Jordan embarks on a new wave of political, economic, and administrative reform initiatives to advance its transition towards parliamentary democracy and economic prosperity, which is significantly affected by the strength of independent media.

Accordingly, Sawt is keen on supporting research efforts that can inform the media policies debate and reform initiatives, particularly in connection to media independence and sustainability, allowing the Jordanian media to practice its’ watchdog role effectively and support advocacy efforts led by Jordanian stakeholders to ensure a healthy and enabling information ecosystem. The DMBEA is part of Sawt’s efforts to improve the operational environment for media to enable them to play a positive role in producing relevant reliable information and contributing to sustained civic engagement.


Use of Findings and Research Objectives

The conducted DMBEA will focus on media regulations, policies, and market dynamics, through policy reviews and analysis as well as in-depth discussions with stakeholders, experts and decision makers, where possible. The study findings should be relevant to media and information actors, CSOs, donors and all stakeholders involved in advancing media freedoms and sustainability.

Focused on the digital media and business environment in Jordan, the DMBEA’s overall research objective is to identify and analyze what specifically needs to be reformed at the policies level to make Jordan’s information ecosystem healthier and underpinned by strong viable and sustainable independent public interest media. The study will accordingly identify key challenges facing media platforms – particularly independent, community and public interest digital media – focusing on viability and growth. The study will also examine the current operational situation of digital media in Jordan, in terms of the pressing organizational, technological, financial, and legal/regulatory challenges they face. Moreover, it will serve the following specific objectives:

  1. Examining practices of media regulation and licensing that create unlevelled competition between state-owned, private, and community media. The study will also examine existing and planned practices to regulate online community radio and on-demand video platforms.
  2. Government and private sector support for media through advertising and other support forms, and the extent to which such support contributes to enhancing sustainability and independence.
  3. Media digitalization: Successes and failures in adopting digitalized operations, including major national newspapers. In addition to consumer revenue (e.g. willingness to pay) and diversification opportunities.
  4. Advertising market(s): Where is the money and who is tapping into it and what could be done from a media regulatory aspect to increase independent media access to these revenue sources.
  5. AI and media content production: Mapping available AI training and education opportunities in Jordan and how they connect to the needs of media employers, in addition to successful examples for deploying AI in journalistic content production.  

Research Design and Methodology

The applied research methodologies should adopt an iterative, action-oriented, do no harm approach. Data collection should be ethical and allows the equal participation of male and female youth, adults, and persons with disabilities, especially those in remote areas.

Guided by Internews, the Research Organization will conduct, manage, and lead the research together with competent capable Jordan-based or Jordan-expert researchers. 

The adopted research methodology could entail quantitative and qualitative research methods, and triangulation of data including, but not limited to the below suggestions. Less traditional research methods are welcomed. Due to its analytical nature, the research is expected to rely heavily on online desk research, ethnographic observations, and political economy analysis by subject-matter experts.

  • Desk Research: Several studies, assessments, mappings and landscapes have been conducted in-country and it is important not to duplicate efforts but to build on them. Researchers will utilize and build on existing media studies and will deploy a political economy analytical approach to further investigate power relationships between political, economic, as well as media regulation and advertising market forces. 
  • In-depth Stakeholders Interviews: Key informant, (semi)-structured, or open interviews are effective to access needed information and contextualize the conducted analysis. They can be conducted online, in-person or through consultations with experts and stakeholders.
Scope of Work

The scope of work includes the following deliverables and milestones:

  1. Inception:
    • Develop research methodology and approach.
    • Recruit research team.
  2. Research Design:
    • Map and identify experts and stakeholders to be engaged through interviews.
    • Design data collection tools.
    • Identify resources list for desk research.
    • Conduct desk research and analysis.
  3. Data Collection and Analysis:
    • Conduct interviews and consultations.
    • Process and analyze collected data.
    • Writing up first draft report.
  4. Report Finalization:
    • Final report: delivering a final report document including text, pictures, graphs, illustrations, annexes, and cover page. In addition to a report brief as well as a presentation with main findings and recommendations from the research.

All deliverables must be submitted in English in line with Sawt branding and marking guidelines and must be technically reviewed and approved by Sawt before considered finalized and delivered.

1Inception-Develop research methodology and approach. – Recruit research team. *** Deliverable 1: Inception report (methodology, research plan and questions, desk research resources, researcher’s roles, and timeline). Deliverable 2: Research team detailed bios.2 July, 2024
2Research design, data collection and analysis, and report drafting.-Mapp and identify experts and stakeholders to be engaged through interviews. – Conduct desk research and analysis. *** Deliverable 1: Interviewees list and questions. Deliverable 2: Resources list for desk research.  14 August, 2024  
3Data collection and analysis, and report drafting.– Conduct interviews and consultations. – Writing up first draft report. ***   Deliverable 1: First draft of the final report: 12-15 pages word document, including text, graphs, illustrations, annexes, cover page, table of content, structure for the final report and preliminary key findings. Deliverable 2: All raw data from interviews, including video and audio files.28 August, 2024
4Finalization, design, and delivery  – Final undesigned report: word and pdf document including text, pictures, graphs, illustrations, annexes, and cover page. In addition to a brief and a presentation with main findings and recommendations from the research. Deliverable 1: Final report. Deliverable 2: Shorter version report (summary) 8-10 pages. Deliverable 3: Final presentation delivered to three different audiences in sessions organized by Sawt.8 September, 2024
Deliverable 4: Address inquiries and comments received from the donor and reflect in revised final version. Deliverable 5: Fully designed version of the final report, developed according to Sawt’s branding and marking guidelines.19 October 2024 
Eligibility Criteria
  • The organization must be legally registered and has permission to operate in Jordan.
  • The organization must have a documented record of employing staff with experience in research and assessments related to the fields of politics, media, journalism, development, media law, business, or related field.
  • The organization must have proven experience of designing and implementing recent research and assessments on media business environment and the legal/regulatory environment.
  • Languages: Expert level proficiency of English and Arabic languages is required for communication, data collection and reporting purposes.

Evaluation Criteria

1. Understanding Research Tasks and Relevant Experience Clearly explains how the Research Organization will meet the objectives outlined in the SOW. Understanding of the Jordanian media landscape, media business environment and the legal/regulatory environment, in addition to a strong organizational capacity to conduct written and spoken communications in Arabic and English. Experience in collaborating with and access to diverse stakeholders, including media and advertising policy makers, experts, and stakeholders in Jordan.30 points
2. Methodology and Approach Clarity and comprehensiveness of the research design and methodology. Extensive experience and knowledge of different research methodologies, particularly desk research and policy analysis, in addition to mixed-methods approach (qualitative and quantitative) and Interest in participatory research techniques and capacity to use alternative, less traditional research methodologies.20 points
3. Team Expertise and Qualifications Team composition reflects relevant expertise in research and data collection. Team composition includes experts and specialists able to provide expert analysis on media business environment and the legal/regulatory environment. Key team members demonstrate at least 5 years of quantitative and qualitative research experience. Experience conducting evaluations for media development and a strong knowledge of Jordan’s media landscape and Internews Information Ecosystem Model’s approach and methodologies.30 points
4. Financial Proposal The financial proposal is competitive and demonstrates good value for the proposed services. The financial proposal clearly outlines the breakdown of costs and justifies the proposed expenses20 points
Total100 points
Proposal Content

Service providers interested in participating in this solicitation must provide the following:

  1. Registration Certificate: Provide proof of legal registration in Jordan.
  2. Technical Proposal detailing the approach and methodology:
  3. Explain the proposed approach and methodology for conducting the Digital Media Business Environment Assessment.
  4. Describe how the Research Organization will design and implement data collection and tools.
  5. Provide the composition, names, and brief bios of the team members with relevant expertise in conducting research and assessment in the Jordanian media landscape, media business environment and the legal/regulatory environment.
  6. Full Financial Proposal: Include a comprehensive financial proposal outlining the detailed budget for the proposed project.
  7. Provide previous work sample(s) showcasing experience in designing and implementing research studies and assessments.
Application Instructions

Interested organizations are invited to submit their organization’s portfolio, identified researchers, along with their technical and financial proposals, addressed to: [email protected] by June 30, 2024, 17:00 Amman time making sure to write “DMBEA Proposal, Sawt Activity” in the subject of your e-mail.


The duration of this research is 4 months, 2 July — 19 October 2024, subject to extension if needed.


For any inquiries or clarifications regarding the assignment, reach out to [email protected] by 15:00 on the of June 25th, 2024.