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Post-Conflict Transition and Media Development: The Role of International Media Assistance Open Access

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After the fall of the Soviet Union, international media assistance actors entered postcommunist Eastern European countries to promote the democratization process, asindependent media was understood to be crucial for the development of democracy. TheYugoslav Wars that took place between 1991 and 2001 prompted increased attention from international actors in Western Balkan countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Serbia,Montenegro, and Macedonia received varying degrees of media assistance. Today, these countries still face severe challenges with regard to their media sectors. To answer the question “does media assistance promote independent, sustainablemedia?,” this thesis analyzes the causal relation between media assistance received and the degree to which a country has developed an independent, sustainable media. In addition, it identifies factors that diminish the success of media assistance initiatives and evaluates the role of international media assistance actors. Chapter 1 presents an overview of media assistance and its actors and areas of specialization and summarizes previous research literature on the topic. Chapter 2 outlines the comparative framework, research design and case studies used in this thesis. The Media Sustainability Index (MSI) provides the principle measure for the sustainability of media, while the database on Official Development Assistance (ODA) by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) provides figures on spending on media assistance. Chapter 3 summarizes the key findings and provides a look into the future of media assistance. The “causal-comparative analysis” concludes that while international media assistance significantly contributed to the development of sustainable, independent media in the countries under study, internal and external factors can limit the effects of media assistance.

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