Database: consultations on media viability

National consultations were organised in 2021, in order to understand, from a practitioner’s point of view, how preserving media viability is considered in ten different countries: Brazil, El Salvador, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lebanon, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and Tunisia.

In each country, a varied group of stakeholders from the media sector discussed the challenges and solutions regarding media viability for independent media outlets.

Each national consultation was conducted on the basis of the following approach:

  • FPU summarised conclusions from research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on key indicators in the country.
  • Discussion: are these findings correct and actual (still valid) according to you? Is any essential information missing about the media landscape?
  • Discussion: what are the challenges to media viability?
  • Discussion: what would be possible solutions to improve media viability?
  • Discussion: what needs to change with regard to the enabling environment (legal, political, social, economic, technical) for these solutions to be effective and sustainable?

The consultations have been described in-depth in the following report: National consultations on solutions to promote media viability while preserving media independence .

In addition, the main findings are available to search through in this database. The database provides an overview of the main points of input that we received during the consultations.

You can search through them based on country; issue; and whether the input identifies a challenge or a suggested solution.


  • Ownership
  • Government
  • Business models
  • Learning
  • Advertising
  • Access to Information
  • Engage audiences
  • Formats
  • Covid-19
  • Diversity
  • Retention of journalists
  • Capitalisation
  • Digital technology
  • Copyright
  • Media support
  • Tech platforms

Challenges and Solutions for Media Viability

Challenge/ solutionIssueInputCountry
ChallengeOwnershipWealth concentration creates monopolies in society, including by the big media outlets of the country. Brazil
ChallengeGovernmentMain problem lies with the corrupt, lobby based relationship between the present government and the oligarchic media environment.Brazil
ChallengeBusiness modelsNot much awareness of sustainability models, or accessibility to funds. Brazil
SolutionGovernmentRegulation of the media, with public policies for financing, and surpassing publicity based financial sources.Brazil
SolutionGovernmentSet up both a regulatory media body where rules are followed and a compilation of the regulatory instruments.Brazil
SolutionGovernmentDevelop more local(ised) media outlets which are supported by local governments.Brazil
SolutionLearningPromote learning of best practices on sustainability, from media outlets that are independent (such as Nexo Journal)Brazil
SolutionOwnershipEnsure transparency in media outletsBrazil
SolutionOwnershipCommercialise the media to address the issue of wealth concentration. Additionally, the wealth concentration should be diversified.Brazil
ChallengeGovernmentChange in the relationship between the press and state apparatus when President Nayib Bukele took office in 2019. Co-optation or domination of state channels by the current administration.El Salvador
ChallengeGovernmentDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, the state never carried out a policy of stimulus for the communications or journalism sector.El Salvador
ChallengeAccess to InformationJournalists not affiliated with state media lack access to public information and credible/quotable sources within the government.El Salvador
ChallengeGovernmentCurrent judicial system is in danger of losing its independence which makes the journalists’ job as watchdogs of the State harder. El Salvador
ChallengeAdvertisingVast majority of media outlets depend on state advertising. El Salvador
ChallengeTech platformsLarge corporations are investing in large social network companies, instead of national media and local media, leaving them with fewer resources. El Salvador
ChallengeRetention of journalistsNon-state media groups were unable to retain their best journalists when the government, sought to bring them into the state apparatus and diminish the investigative press by offering salaries that practically doubled and sometimes tripled the salaries they had in independent media.El Salvador
SolutionEngage audiencesDigital portals that seek to break media control should try to reach more sectors of the population in order to enjoy popular roots. El Salvador
ChallengeEngage audiencesMedia receive little support from the public when they are attacked because they have not created a link. El Salvador
SolutionEngage audiencesSources that are discredited by the President should seek public support, which could help in retaining their status and credibility as watchdogs.El Salvador
SolutionFormatsTurn to more attractive and shorter formats to attract the interest of the audience, who are looking mostly for audiovisuals.El Salvador
SolutionLearningReform journalism schools to create a generation who believe in the principles of ethics and freedom of the press.El Salvador
SolutionLearningStrengthen a training centre on minimising risks, with high standardsEl Salvador
SolutionEngage audiencesStrengthen community media close to large social sectors so that they can contribute to guaranteeing the defence of press freedom.El Salvador
SolutionAccess to InformationCreate or improve an independent functioning Institute of Public Information that is accessible for all journalistsEl Salvador
ChallengeTech platformsMost ad revenue goes to big tech companies. More advertising money is flowing towards platforms like Instagram and to online influencers (so-called ‘celebgrams’). Indonesia
ChallengeAdvertisingThere is a lack of data of local government spending on advertising.Indonesia
ChallengeAdvertisingThe advertising market is controlled by large media companies and is concentrated in the large cities. There is no equal access to the advertising market for local media. Indonesia
ChallengeCovid-19The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the income of 80% of surveyed journalists.Indonesia
ChallengeGovernmentThe government likes to work with influencers rather than media outlets due their reach and less critical approach.Indonesia
ChallengeOwnershipConcentration of ownership creates problems in terms of diversity of content and diversity of voices.Indonesia
ChallengeDiversityThere is no obligation for broadcasters to secure the diversity of content from various, regional outlets. Licensing has been eliminated. Indonesia
ChallengeOwnershipCurrent regulation cannot address cross ownership. Administratively, it is difficult to verify ownership.Indonesia
ChallengeGovernmentLack of enforcement of existing law and regulations and poor monitoring of compliance of current regulationsIndonesia
ChallengeOwnershipSome of the owners of big companies are also politicians and influential people in society and in government. Indonesia
ChallengeGovernmentLocal government budgets sometimes have funds available to local media, but this is being used in ways that affects media independence. The budget is used to control the media and many media outlets and journalists make news that serve the government.Indonesia
SolutionDigital technologyAccording to the Digital News Report 2021, Internet penetration has reached 71%. This creates potential in the use of media and technology, as more people have more access to media and information.Indonesia
SolutionLearningFocus on education and training to better serve audiences with quality content without sacrificing journalist principles and ethicsIndonesia
SolutionDiversityFocus on inclusive journalism training.Indonesia
SolutionEngage audiencesExplore new platforms and engage audiencesIndonesia
SolutionLearningInvest in a learning and knowledge center that collects knowledge from across the globe on how media can survive financially and as a businessIndonesia
SolutionBusiness modelsExplore the possibility of the public participating in models to finance media companies; ask the public to become more involved in funding quality media content.Indonesia
SolutionEngage audiencesMedia, academics, digital literacy activists and audiences should collaborate to invest in and increase digital literacy and media trust; audiences should feel the need for quality media.Indonesia
SolutionTech platformsSet up a dialogue with the digital giants such us YouTube, Google, Facebook to achieve fair profit sharing with media companies.Indonesia
SolutionOwnershipEnsure revision of the competition rules and merger controls in the Broadcasting law; regulation should be integrative, not overlapping, and should be adaptive to technological change.Indonesia
ChallengeSafetyDifferent forms of self-censorship exist. When reporters want to report on crime or corruption, their safety is a major concern. Jamaica
ChallengeSafetyOne of the things lacking is protection for journalists against physical harm in doing investigative pieces. Jamaica
ChallengeTech platformsDigicel as a major player is important. Big Tech companies are taking over everyone’s media. Jamaica
ChallengeAdvertisingSmaller media outlets in particular are facing the challenge of a declining advertising revenue.Jamaica
ChallengeRetention of journalistsThere is a trend that youngsters start working, but they do not necessarily remain. Retention in the newsroom, particularly of young journalists, is a problem.Jamaica
ChallengeRetention of journalistsStudents will study journalism and then they will graduate and say they do not want to work in the newsroom because the salaries are not attractive.Jamaica
ChallengeRetention of journalistsOlder media workers do not want to learn as they feel they are not going to be good at multimedia journalism, so they also end up exiting.Jamaica
ChallengeEngage audiencesThe trust deficit in institutions, including media, needs to be addressed. People seem to be valuing journalistic news no differently than other sources such as information circulated on social media.Jamaica
SolutionCapitalisationSome kind of incentive or starter programme to help journalists with venture capital should be set up.Jamaica
SolutionLearningGive journalists some business management training.Jamaica
SolutionFormatsPlace more of an emphasis on documentary making for journalists, and those working in the creative arts sector. There is a lot of room for development and improvement in this area.Jamaica
ChallengeCovid-19There were no government interventions or allowances or tax relief for media companies during the pandemic.Jamaica
SolutionCovid-19Some sort of furlough would be appreciated - leave whereby 70-80% of basic pay that is met through some scheme – to include journalists, so that they do not lose their job. Jamaica
SolutionFormatsTeach journalists how to make podcasts, because that is one of the ways they can also use their skills to be able to do something different. Jamaica
SolutionDigital technologyThere should be a more seamless integration of traditionally separate platforms.Jamaica
SolutionCapitalisationConsolidation is needed, media houses should get themselves in order and join forces to get a listing (maybe 2 or 3 together), and then go after the capitalisation and keep the doors open. Jamaica
SolutionAdvertisingCease dependence on government advertising because independence will enable criticism of the government, without risking a cut in advertising revenue.Jamaica
SolutionBusiness modelsAs a media market, Jamaica has been able to sustain some very popular entertainment shows by selling it to the diaspora.Jamaica
ChallengeOwnershipNo transparency on media ownership and funding, including direct foreign funding.Lebanon
ChallengeOwnershipFinancial sustainability is one of main reasons that owners of business, but also of the media, ally with politics. The strong intersection between business and authority affects media seeking editorial independence. Lebanon
ChallengeGovernmentLegal preconditions are problematic for the media. You cannot speak about media viability without speaking about access to information and freedom of expression first. Lebanon
ChallengeAdvertisingAdvertisement and incentives for media are generally unavailable for media with an independent editorial team. Lebanon
ChallengeCapitalisationMedia cannot survive on the Lebanese currency, but needs foreign currency to retain its operations. Lebanon
ChallengeRetention of journalistsMany talented journalists have left the country to countries in the region where they have more job security and income.Lebanon
ChallengeBusiness modelsThe majority of the Lebanese do not have access to a bank account and cannot pay or donate online. The collapsed banking system implies that many media viability models based on a functioning digital market do not work in Lebanon.Lebanon
ChallengeBusiness modelsTraditional media are starting to implement rights-based business models that were previously used by more alternative media to receive donor funding.Lebanon
ChallengeEngage audiencesTraditional and new media are both struggling with outreach: how to understand the audiences and how to reach the right audiences.Lebanon
ChallengeGovernmentA legal structure to enable media start-ups and support new media operations is non-existent. This means they have to find external ways for funding, e.g. through NGOs, civic companies etc.Lebanon
ChallengeTech platformsBuilding relations with big tech is time-consuming and challenging. They are ready to engage on the surface, but little cooperative in practice.Lebanon
ChallengeEngage audiencesBig tech algorithms are problematic because the audience is increasingly consuming its news through social media.Lebanon
SolutionAdvertisingFocus on advertisement in the region, and at the international level, to expand editorial independence.Lebanon
SolutionEngage audiencesPartnerships between traditional media and alternative media could be beneficial to both to bring the message to the audiences.Lebanon
SolutionMedia supportInternational support and funding is critical. Supporting traditional media without code of ethics or professional journalism standards is a waste of money and decreases the audience’s trust in the media. Lebanon
SolutionEngage audiencesSmall media initiatives, such as citizen journalism platforms, which are very locally based and they have strong engagement with the local community, reflecting their voices.Lebanon
SolutionMedia supportCapacity support is required to encourage the potential of new and alternative media.Lebanon
SolutionAdvertisingOnline advertisement creates new possibilities. The downside is that for smaller media, the revenues are still insufficient and not sustainable. Lebanon
SolutionBusiness modelsThe diaspora can support quality journalism. They can subscribe, pay, and we should consider them when it comes to funding, donations and subscriptions. Lessons-learned from diaspora supporting media in other parts of the world should be studied.Lebanon
SolutionBusiness modelsMedia could focus on production and services for the international market to generate an alternative source of income. For example, production of video content and documentaries, training, translations, designing etc. Lebanon
SolutionTech platformsSupport and acknowledgement from big tech is needed. Lebanon
SolutionTech platformsFact checking initiatives from big tech companies could work very well with local media.Lebanon
SolutionTech platformsThe sector needs to continue engaging with social media platforms, not only about funding, but about reach and the impact of algorithms. Lebanon
ChallengeGovernmentFreedom of Expression is guaranteed by the constitution. But some politicians do not respect this, and the private sector has much influence through the power of advertising. There is self-censorship, and discouragement to communicate about LGBTI communities.Namibia
ChallengeAdvertisingOversupply of media outlets without a corresponding supply of advertising revenue. The media market has become very fragmented, splitting advertising revenues across a wide range of media outlets.Namibia
ChallengeAdvertisingTraditional media houses have seen their dual markets business model erode as more audiences access content for free online. Advertisers have redirected their budgets to digital advertising.Namibia
ChallengeAdvertisingPeople are accustomed to free content. People will resist paywalls. Advertisers go to Facebook, Twitter.Namibia
ChallengeCapitalisationIt is a challenge for media organisations to grow and get listed on the stock exchangeNamibia
SolutionBusiness modelsInnovative business models. Example of Windhoek Observer: since COVID-19 they went from print to e-paper (distributed via WhatsApp) and they use audience data to approach advertisers.Namibia
SolutionMedia supportRise in donor-driven journalism with focus on corruption, e.g. by OSF.Namibia
SolutionCovid-19Invest in COVID-19 relief funds to save some media organisations, but make sure to maintain editorial independence.Namibia
SolutionDigital technologyContinue increase of internet access with new infrastructure.Namibia
ChallengeFormatsThe challenge for print media is to figure out how to keep newspapers interesting for their readership because all information is available online as well.Nigeria
ChallengeFormatsA lot of print media use their online presence to replicate the content that they have printed, rather than explore the ways in which online presence can allow for content that is not printed. Nigeria
ChallengeDigital technologyA lot of media platforms that try to go online lose a lot of credibility because of the competition to keep up with the blogs.Nigeria
ChallengeRetention of journalistsNewspapers are downsizing and the ones that do not downsize are barely surviving. Quite a number of journalists have lost their jobs in the past two to three years.Nigeria
ChallengeRetention of journalistsReally good journalists would like to earn a salary that is almost at par with what they would earn internationally, yet local media cannot afford this.Nigeria
ChallengeLearningMedia organisations are not investing in training. Some journalists are not trainable or not willing to follow training, but the vast majority are very keen.Nigeria
ChallengeAdvertisingThe political structure interferes with the economy. Not being in the good books with the government might have an impact on getting advertising from private individuals.Nigeria
SolutionLearningMedia outlets need to develop management to understand business: keeping records and using proper auditors. Being a decent journalist does not automatically mean being a decent businessperson.Nigeria
SolutionMedia supportA business model cannot solely be built around donor funding. At the end of the funding period, the media outlet needs to be stronger and ensure that funding is never the only stream of income.Nigeria
SolutionLearningConnect local media to international media, through twinning. This partnership could help with skills exchange which would help to make a business viable.Nigeria
SolutionMedia supportMedia outlets need the support of organisations which understand the importance of journalism and its added value to development and democracy.Nigeria
SolutionEngage audiencesLocal media have a responsibility to repair the trust of their audiences that has been lost, but which needs to be earned back and retained. Nigeria
SolutionLearningIf media professionals become more professional, what they are selling is credibility - and people will pay for credibility.Nigeria
SolutionSafetySafety is crucial. This can be achieved when there are stronger collaborations and stronger networks, because it will enable media outlets to better protect themselves.Nigeria
SolutionSafetyMedia organisations cannot be asked to function if the Nigerian government is not a safe space for them to operate within. The media needs to be able to operate without fear, which includes the fear of losing important investors.Nigeria
ChallengeGovernmentA Digital Media Policy has been under discussion for the last 3- 4 years, but nothing substantial has been achieved yet.Pakistan
ChallengeAdvertisingDigital media are not able to receive the same types of government funding and advertising.Pakistan
ChallengeGovernmentDigital media are not protected against (government) pressure to remove content.Pakistan
ChallengeTech platformsMany types of services from Facebook, which media internationally are using, are not accessible in Pakistan. Most importantly: monetisation.Pakistan
ChallengeTech platformsSocial media algorithms disadvantage local media. Facebook and Google algorithms prioritise international media and deprioritse local media.Pakistan
ChallengeDigital technologyLegacy media are not efficient with online content.Pakistan
ChallengeCopyrightIn practice, copyright protections are not respected nor enforced enough.Pakistan
ChallengeAdvertisingWith advertising budgets increasingly shifting to online media, competition from international media organisations as well as social media companies is increasing.Pakistan
ChallengeGovernmentThe media has become more and more dependent on government advertising. It has been documented that the government uses its advertising budget to influence content by media organisations. Pakistan
ChallengeOwnershipThe law allows for more ownership concentration than should be possible. Higher audience concentrations in fewer hands lead to a greater likelihood of content manipulation and pressure to make compromises on content.Pakistan
ChallengeGovernmentMedia viability is hindered by costly regulations, which in recent years have resulted in an increase in the frequency for licence renewals as well as steeper licence fees.Pakistan
SolutionLearningIf legacy media and digital-only media cooperate more, with legacy media learning from newer media outlets and adjusting their practices, then digital media in Pakistan can become more efficient and fund more journalism with the same income.Pakistan
SolutionLearningCooperating with Indian digital media organisations and learning from best practices in the Indian market. Indian digital media platforms are currently more effective and offer (payment) options that do not exist in the Pakistani digital media market.Pakistan
SolutionTech platformsThere should be an opportunity to discuss grievances constructively to see if digital media organisations and the platforms can jointly tackle the issues facing the digital media landscape in Pakistan. Pakistan
SolutionTech platformsThe algorithm of Facebook and Google should give particular priority to local and national news content.Pakistan
SolutionAdvertisingGovernment advertising policy: there should be a clear, neutral and transparent allocation mechanism for government advertising. This should include a percentage towards local media as they are most vulnerable and dependent on government advertising.Pakistan
SolutionAdvertisingPrivate companies should reserve a percentage of their advertising budget for local media outlets. To achieve this, local media might need to cooperate and proactively reach out to these companies with a broad offering of local media to advertise in simultaneously. Pakistan
SolutionMedia supportMedia development organisations make a positive impact and will remain necessary for the foreseeable future to ensure the existence of independent (local) news outlets. This is part of the media viability strategy for (local) online media outlets. Pakistan
ChallengeBusiness modelsCurrent economic model is not sufficient for the existence of these media, and the revenues received are not in accordance with the needs of the sector.Senegal
SolutionBusiness modelsMedia outlets need a business focus to survive. There needs to be cooperation with journalists who own outlets and individuals who are finance-savvy.Senegal
ChallengeOwnershipConcentration of some media outlets is posing a problem for the media landscape in Senegal.Senegal
ChallengeOwnershipA lot of media outlets exist for the sole purpose of business and interests, such as politics.Senegal
SolutionGovernmentEnsure execution of the legal framework: at the moment, the legal framework gives space for independent media, but existing laws are barely applied. Senegal
SolutionAdvertisingAdvertisement to state-owned media needs to be limited and the private media needs more space to receive an income through advertisement.Senegal
SolutionGovernmentCreate a new press institution that is more responsible with regard to the press code. Senegal
SolutionLearningMedia professionals need the support of administrative people, and finance/affairs experts.Senegal
SolutionTech platformsTax the big corporations such as Google and Facebook Senegal
SolutionAdvertisingAdvertising needs to be tied to strict criteria in order not to ruin editorial independenceSenegal
ChallengeGovernmentSince the 2011 Revolution, despite some legal and constitutional changes, the government has had no clear vision on the development of media, the importance of media as a democratic good. Tunisia
ChallengeGovernmentAbsence of a strong legal framework for independent mediaTunisia
ChallengeAdvertisingLack of understanding on the advertisement market in Tunisia, and very limited investment in it.Tunisia
ChallengeTech platformsThe advertisement market was gradually taken over by big tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Tunisia
ChallengeCovid-19Some newspapers have stopped their printed versions over the years. The economic situation and COVID-19 affected journalists and their work. Tunisia
ChallengeDigital technologyDigitalisation and the influence of big tech influence is a hurdle for traditional media, who continue to count on the traditional market. Tunisia
ChallengeDigital technologyOften the online platforms work with few journalists, there is much copy/paste, the journalistic principles are not adhered to, and the quality is not monitored. Tunisia
ChallengeTech platformsMedia cannot easily engage with the Internet giants, who now control the online advertisement market. Tunisia is also not a country that can negotiate the online advertisement market driven by big tech to be more fairly distributed.Tunisia
SolutionEngage audiencesThe digitalisation and dominance of big tech has drastically changed the media landscape and advertisement market, but also opened new ways of engaging with audiences. Tunisia
SolutionEngage audiencesEncourage participation of consumers in the media to foster their engagement. Tunisia
SolutionGovernmentFoster media advocacy to help authorities understand that media plays an essential role in supporting the democratic processes and guarantee diversity, pluralism, independence and participation.Tunisia
SolutionFormatsThe media need to respond to that by understanding how to diversify its products using graphics, text, videos, podcasts etc. However, a problem currently is that there are limited studies on audience consumption and behavior, and much of that is needed. Tunisia
SolutionEngage audiencesCreate a kind of loyalty with the consumer to establish a media that the audience trusts, likes and wants to be involved with, and ultimately, will want to finance. Tunisia
SolutionMedia supportFund journalists and media operations that are ready for transition, who have a plan and who are principally strong on diversification, deepening and engaging, and who can be supported to create their own sustainable media. Tunisia
SolutionLearningSupport traditional media by bringing in the know-how of new media and its business models.Tunisia
SolutionGovernmentState reforms in relation to media, guaranteeing the editorial independence of media, and focusing on proximity media to ensure true media viability and further diversification of the media.Tunisia