Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Media Monitoring


Lee B. Becker


Nongovernmental and governmental organizations around the world invest an estimated $1 billion in media assistance projects each year, with the basic assumption that this assistance ultimately will bring about improvements in democracy in the recipient countries.

These media assistance initiatives are pervasive. At least 70 organizations in 25 donor countries outside the United States are involved in funding media assistance projects (Becker & Vlad, 2005). In the U.S., the number of donors is more than 50 (Hume, 2004). Donors are units of governments, nongovernmental organizations, including foundations, and multinational organizations. Spending is distributed around the world, with eastern and central Europe and African countries having been major recipients since the end of the 1980s.

A concern with the media in countries other than one’s own is not new. Governments probably have been concerned with the type and quality of media that operate outside their borders since the development of media themselves. In the period after World War II, the United States and its allies invested heavily in the training of journalists and offered other forms of media assistance in order to control the media in the countries they occupied. Funding for media assistance has been a key part of the U.S. policy in occupied Iraq (Future Media Working Group, 2002; Internews, 2003).

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