Even though most African countries enshrine principles of freedom of expression in their constitution, the practice often leaves much to be desired. The African Media Barometer (AMB) identifies and analyses the shortcomings and best practices in the legal as well as practical media environment of different African countries. Using a variety of African documents as a benchmark, the AMB can serve as a tool to lobby for media reform.
The African Media Barometer is an in-depth and comprehensive description system for national media environments on the African continent, based on home-grown criteria derived from African Protocols and Declarations like the “Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa” (2002) by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). The instrument was jointly developed by fesmedia Africa, the Media Project of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Africa, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in 2004.
The recommendations of the AMB-reports are integrated into the work of the 19 country offices of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in sub-Saharan Africa and into the advocacy efforts of other media organizations like the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). You will find the AMB indicators here and the African Media Barometer (AMB) country reports here.
Every two to three years a panel of 10 to 12 local experts, consisting of at least five media practitioners and media expert and five representatives from civil society, meet to assess the media situation in their own country. For one and a half days the panelists discuss the national media environment according to 39 predetermined indicators. The discussion and scoring is moderated by an independent consultant who also edits the country report, written by a trained AMB rapporteur following the AMB Panel discussion.