South Caucasus: Training the Media & Empowering Minorities

A large-scale, three-year media diversity project targeting journalists, media decision-makers, journalism academics, and minorities NGOs. Project activities ranged from producing manuals and conducting training workshops, to internships and TV and radio productions. The project aimed to use the power of the media to create deeper public understanding of ethnic and other minority groups and their human rights in the countries of the South Caucasus. The project was designed to promote a constructive role for the media in helping societies reduce conflict based on ethnicity, race, religion sex, and age. In addition, it is also aimed to facilitate long-term monitoring of media coverage of minorities through training programs.

MDI’s project pursues a comprehensive strategy comprising six engagement strategies designed to achieve its objectives including: empowerment of ethnic minorities; awareness building and training of the mainstream media; diversity education programme; minorities and media working together; and media monitoring and network building.

The RDN (reporting diversity network) represents the institutional vehicle by which long-term change in media behaviour in the region can be carried out after the project’s end, providing long-term sustainability of this work. Building the network is an integral part of MDI’s regional strategy – a strategy which MDI has successfully enacted in South-East Europe, where a thriving RDN of 18 members now exists, often driving forward its own projects.

Region/country: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, disputed territories

Timeframe/dates: 2003/2006

Funder: The European Community, The Eurasia Foundation, IREX Media Innovations Program for Georgia, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [NOTE: The project is 89% funded. Additional funding opportunities exist]

Partners: Baku Press Club (Baku), Black Sea Press (Tbilisi), Internews (Armenia), Internews (Azerbaijan), Internews (Georgia), Journalists’ Club Asparez (Gyumri), Liberty Institute (Tbilisi), Yerevan Press Club (Yerevan)