Participating in the emergence of independent media in South-East Asia
Calendrier : September 2014 – April 2018 / Budget global : €960,000
After four years providing support to online media outlets in seven countries in South-East Asia, the 4M Asia project came to an end in April 2018. The closing forum, which took place in Jakarta (Indonesia), brought together more than a hundred professionals from the region.
The packed schedule, which consisted of several debates, around 15 workshops and carte blanche sessions, allowed the participants of the forum to take stock of the situation in which independent media outlets in the region now find themselves, and to reflect on the new issues and challenges facing them.
The two days of conferences, which were organised by CFI and its Indonesian partner AJI (Alliance of Independent Journalists), were led by elite professionals. Various subjects were tackled, including how to fight against fake news, the handling of environmental matters, the security of journalists, data-journalism tools, and the evolving nature of business models, and many more besides. The workshops fostered high-quality, constructive debates among the participants.
Some of them presented original data-journalism projects developed thanks to the activities carried out in the context of 4M Asia, such as an interactive database of threats and attacks on freedom of expression and the press in the region (Southeast Asian Press Alliance) or an application concerning the data relating to police abuse in Malaysia over the last fifteen years (Malaysiakini).
“Participating in the 4M Asia project has been an unbelievable experience. I’ve had the opportunity to meet journalists from throughout South-East Asia as well as experienced data journalists. I’ve not only learned how to create content linked to data, but also how to manage budgeting, financial demands and community engagement.”
Aun Qi Koh – sub-editor of the news website Malaysiakini.com.
An ambitious project, with meaningful results
CFI tasked an external company with conducting the final evaluation of the project. The expert report showed that 4M Asia contributed to achieving the overall objective which was “to guarantee the necessary pluralism for a healthy dialogue and national/regional cohesion in the ASEAN countries by addressing local and community issues and by developing online media journalistic tools and activities”.
It ably presented the emergence of the media from a past dominated by traditional or governmental outlets and the advent of greater freedom, a pluralist and largely citizen-led era of news and information supported by the revolution in digital tools and, most notably, social networks. The second specific objective related to “supporting the region’s media in their switch to digital, particularly through the acquisition of new tools, in order to increase their readership and consolidate their economic model”. This was largely covered by training courses offered in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Malaysia.
“I didn’t have any experience with community media organisations. The workshop opened my eyes to a new vision and inspired me to develop new abilities, which will enable me to share these skills and tools with the members of my community and my network”.
Vincy How – Journalist (Malaysia)
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