Terms of Reference for a Research Consultancy
Background and Context
Before the 1990s, the media environment in Morocco was authoritarian, administrative, and partisan. This changed slightly during the 1990’s due to political liberalization and democratization. All media sectors have witnessed substantial growth during this period. The rise of Arab satellite broadcasting allowed new commercial radio and TV stations to develop, and the creation of the High Authority for Audio-visual Communication (HACA) created the appropriate institutional framework.
The Moroccan national media witnessed several brief and strictly limited phases of openness. There have also been multiple setbacks in both media freedom and human rights in Morocco over the past years, mainly due to the regime’s tactics and its adoption of a hostile stance towards media freedom.
The new constitution consecrated some basic media rights, but it lacks clear definition, is short of international standards, and media rights are often negated by the many exceptions to them. The disparity between written constitution and practice makes the process of media liberalization an incoherent one, with conflicting trajectories.
Social media and online news contribute to counteracting the hegemonic discourse of conventional media, with some Facebook pages being used as tools for political change. However, the use of these platforms for the regime’s propaganda, defamation and propagation of rumors also puts in question their role as a driver of democratic change.
Purpose and Objectives of the Research
Internews is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local civil society worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect and the means to make their voices heard.
As part of an expanding portfolio of projects in the MENA region, Internews is looking to strengthen its presence in Morocco by supporting journalists and information providers to give Moroccan citizens access to high quality and reliable information that is relevant to them, to their needs and that enables them to be part of public discourse.
Internews is looking for a consultant(s) to conduct a media ecosystem analysis in Morocco that sheds light, among other things, on audience’s media consumption, information needs, drivers, and barriers behind trusting various sources of information.
Internews is looking to conduct a mixed method formative research study that achieves the below, but not limited to, research objectives:
- Understand the general media/information consumption of both urban and rural populations: what do they watch/read/listen so they can get to the information they need.
- Identify the gaps, needs and opportunities in this space, as well as the main impediments to production, distribution, and audience engagement (this will inform country strategy). This should also consider how the media ecosystem affects gender equality.
- Assessing the status of state-owned/ controlled media.
- Map the main actors working in the free and independent content space including:
- Independent media (run in country and from exile), and their current priorities/ relationships
- Other relevant local/international actors (focusing on human rights, gender equality, minority rights)
- INGOs (current activities, local partner and donors)
- Analyzing impact of the current pandemic, the economic crisis, and the previous protest movements on the media landscape and on access to reliable information in historically marginalized areas/conflict zones, and the status of media law reforms.
- List potential media / CSO partners for Internews.
Consultants bidding for this assignment are expected to present a detailed proposal methodology that responds to the specific objectives above. This may include: Desk reviews; household surveys; focus group discussions (FGDs) and use of electronic equipment to confirm results and locations e.g. GPS.
Tools will be developed by the consultant in consultation with Internews staff. They will consider the following: a) media consumption habits b) trust c) sharing d) flow e) influence f) rumor g) information needs.
Consultants will need to consider sampling strategies and research designs that are feasible given the restrictions within the time duration of the research study.
Consultants should have the proper local permits to be able to gather data.
Consultants are welcome to suggest alternative research methodologies, creativity is welcome.
Methodologies should consider:
- Explanation of the approach to sampling e.g. two stage cluster sampling/ detailed of the sampling techniques to be used at the household level and identification of respondents.
- A detailed breakdown of the proposed sample including number of surveys/ FGDs and locations (Sampling should consider urban/ rural, national distribution, gender, consideration of coverage of different ethnic groups etc.).
The proposal should also include a brief risk assessment (to be expanded in the inception report).
- An inception report (~5 pages), which will include at least:
- Refining of the scope of the study (specifying how language/regional/topical sub-ecosystems will be considered)
- Defining of the methodology for data collection and analysis including: the final questionnaire and analysis grid for KIIs/ FGDs
- Draft list of e.g. KI participants (ensuring flexibility to add KIs via the snowball method)
- A workplan/ timeline
- The final media landscape (~30 pages of plain text) report. Consultants are encouraged to make their report visually interesting.
- One session facilitated by the Consultant (in person or remotely, depending on location) with key Internews staff including presentation of the findings and preparation of data for presenting key information to key stakeholders. If applicable, any documents prepared for this workshop will be shared as part of the final deliverable.
Presentation of the findings is provisionally set for February 19th, 2021.
During the consultancy period the Consultant will work 40-45 working days to complete the report, including a maximum of 3 days to prepare, facilitate and write up a workshop with key Internews staff, and a maximum of 2 days of work related to concurrent audience research.
- At least 3 years’ experience conducting evaluations in difficult contexts, particularly for international Donors;
- Experience with quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods, knowledge of more sophisticated research methods is welcome.
- Strong context knowledge e.g. through experience of working in Morocco;
- Fluent in English;
- Strong communication, presentation, and writing skills;
- Advanced proficiency in Arabic, or willingness to incorporate a translator into evaluation processes/costs.
Consultants will be selected on the basis of an assessment of both the technical proposal and financial offer.
The proposal should include as a minimum:
- Technical proposal taking into consideration the points above including description of methodology and timeline.
- A reference list of previous clients including a short description of similar assignments completed within the MENA region.
- Copy of CV(s) of the Consultant (and team) proposed.
- A copy of registration, if applicable.
- A financial proposal with a detailed breakdown of costs.
The proposal is to be sent to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mails are to be marked with “Media Ecosystem Assessment: Morocco.”
The deadline for submitting a proposal is: January 4th, 2021.
Proposals should remain valid for a period of 30 days from the deadline for submission.