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Media Development Indicators (MDIs)

In accordance with its standard-setting role, IPDChas developed a comprehensive set of Media Development Indicators (MDIs) aimed at enabling the assessment of media landscapes at national level. These indicators, that cover all aspects of media development, are currently being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.



The Media Development Indicators were developed through a broad international consultation launched by the IPDC Intergovernmental Council at its 25th session in 2006. The indicators were endorsed by the Council at its subsequent session in 2008 as an “important diagnostic tool for all stakeholders to assess media development in a given country and to thereby determine the areas in which assistance is most needed”. The Council adopted a Decision inviting the IPDC Bureau and other stakeholders working in the area of media development to take the Media Development Indicators into account when determining, in tandem with national authorities, communication development strategies within the overall context of national development.

Since 2008, the MDIs have been widely acknowledged by major actors in the media development field, including UNDP, the World Bank and the Council of Europe (see Resolution 1636, 2008). 

The MDIs: a framework for assessing media development

The Media Development Indicators define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. The MDIs look at all aspects of the media environment and are structured around the five following categories:

  1. A system of regulation conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media
  2. Plurality and diversity of media, a level economic playing field and transparency of ownership 
  3. Media as a platform for democratic discourse 
  4. Professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpins freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity 
  5. Infrastructural capacity is sufficient to support independent and pluralistic media

Taken as a whole, they provide an aspirational picture of the media ecology to be constructed in order to ensure freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media.

By indicator, one should understand a quantitative or qualitative factor or variable, measured over time, that provides a simple and reliable basis for assessing achievements, change or performance in a country’s media landscape. For each indicator, the MDI framework suggests various means of verification as well as potential data sources.