Impact: Citizen Voice in Media

Impact: Citizen Voice in Media

There’s nothing more important to functioning democracies than an informed, engaged public. When citizens have access to trustworthy media that includes diverse perspectives and sources, they are empowered to speak out on the issues that most affect them.

The Problem

To hold governments accountable, citizens need accurate information about complex issues. In too many places, legal restrictions, threats, and intimidation impede journalists’ work, and journalists themselves lack the skills needed for investigative reporting. Citizens, too, often lack the education and know-how to effectively evaluate and participate in local media.

The Solution

Internews supports citizen voice in media by providing journalism training and mentorship that helps independent reporters produce in-depth, informative content. Our media partners produce work that engages citizens through education and two-way conversations. Media literacy programs give everyday people tools to combat misinformation.

How Supporting Independent Media Supports Good Governance

The United Nations identifies eight elements of good governance. Internews’ work, overlaid in orange, has a direct impact on citizens’ ability to participate and hold governments to account.

Infographic on media's role in democracy

Impact - Liberia

In advance of Liberia's historic October election, with the support of Internews, 126 public debates were held in every single district, a first for this post-conflict nation, enabling lower house candidates to reach Liberia’s electorate in person – many for the first time.

The town of Butuo in Nimba County was host to the first-ever debate for candidates wanting to represent the region in Liberia’s third post-conflict presidential and legislative elections. One of the residents, 59-year-old Joseph Dahn was happy to witness this historic event.

"Thank God we are talking democracy in Buuto, not war, because this is the birth place of the Liberian civil war that killed thousands of innocent people. People only remember Buuto when you talk about the war years, but the story is different today as we host a debate that will help citizens vote for the right candidate for this region.”

Read more: Across Liberia, Candidate Debates Reach Remote Citizens

The Challenge for Journalists

In this video, Journalists from Kazakhstan, Kenya, El Salvador, Moldova, Pakistan and Tajikistan reflect on the challenges of working in media, trying to be a watchdog on the government:

Informing Afghans About Elections

Two young women reporters, Wahida Faizi and Sofia Mohammadzai, along with several other reporters at Salam Watandar, received awards from the Independent Elections Commission for their outstanding elections coverage:

Impact - Moldova

In rural Izbiște, Moldova, head librarian Alexandru Rusu saw an opportunity to teach elders how to combat misinformation and propaganda while they waited in the local post office for their pension checks. With the post office door as a projection screen, Alexandru started media literacy classes, one of 16 librarians around the country participating in Internews’ MEDIA-M project.

"With the help librarians, who have the trust of people in their communities, we have encouraged citizens to analyze everything they see, hear or read; dissect the information that seems strange to them, and document it from the sources at their disposal.” — Oxana Iutes, Deputy Chief of Party with Internews in Moldova

Read more: Media Literacy Can Be Learned at Any Age

More Information

Strengthening local independent media to support citizen voice is at the core of Internews' work. For more than 35 years and in more than 100 countries, Internews has strengthened the capacity of thousands of media professionals, human rights activists, and information entrepreneurs. These partners have reached millions of people with quality, local information, improving lives and building lasting change.