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.
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.
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.