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A Stronger Public Media for the Dominican Republic

April 8, 2014

This grant supported the production of a strategic design to modernize public service media in the Dominican Republic. The study sought to inform the Government on a reform that would promote public media as a common space for dialogue and political participation, while contributing to social cohesion, plural media systems, democracy and development in the country.

Challenge

Before the initiation of this engagement in 2011, the Dominican Government was seeking to assess how to reform its system of public media (television, radio, newswires, etc.) to enhance its potential to promote dialogue, political participation, and social cohesion and make it a sustainable system from a financial and public opinion perspective. The system had suffered from important weaknesses, including its high atomization, lack of coordination, low quality of content and cost inefficiencies.  

Solution

From 2011-2013 a group of external consultants financed through a grant from the Spanish Fund for Latin America (administered by the World Bank) prepared an in-depth study of the public media sector that included a thorough analysis of the system and a set of recommendations and proposals to strengthen its role. A series of interviews were conducted with journalists, academics, managers of public and private media outlets, as well as with experts from the Government.

As a complement to the study, technical assistance workshops and seminars were offered to stakeholders in order to facilitate the implementation of strategic goals. The new strategic outline presents information to the Government on the steps to be taken to enhance public media as a common space for dialogue and political participation, while contributing to social cohesion, democracy, content diversity and development.

Results

The final report presents a comprehensive overview of public media (television, radio, newswires, etc.) in the Dominican Republic, both historically and in the present circumstances up until 2013, with focus on its legal framework and institutional design. It identifies some key weaknesses in the sector (such as high atomization, lack of coordination, cost inefficiencies, low quality content and need for better capacity).

The new outline puts forward some recommendations to tackle these weaknesses in a draft proposal of new public media law. Among others, it calls for an integrated structure that encompasses all public media outlets; new independent management structure; and enhanced financing.

The outline was discussed with the head of the congressional commission specialized in these matters as well as with President Leonel Fernández’s Administration, which welcomed the report. 


Bank Group Contribution

This project was fully financed through a US$47,600 grant from the Spanish Fund for Latin America (SFLAC), which is administered by the World Bank.

Partners

The World Bank’s main partner was the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Economy. The team also worked closely with the Corporación Estatal de Radio y Televisión (CERTV) to undertake the report, and received support from the Spanish Government through the SFLAC funds.

Moving Forward

The strategic outline was presented to President Leonel Fernández in February 2012 to support the process of preparation of a new law proposal. However, the electoral timetable didn’t allow tabling the proposal in Congress.  The new Government has also welcomed the study, but is focusing in revamping its presidential communications services at the moment.



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