The “Media Ownership Monitor” (MOM) has been developed as a mapping tool in order to create a publicly available, continuously updated database that lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets (press, radio, television sectors and online media).
MOM aims to shed light on the risks to media pluralism caused by media ownership concentration (for more information: Methodology). In order to grasp the national characteristics and detect risk-enhancing or risk-reducing factors for media concentration, MOM also qualitatively assesses the market conditions and legal environment.
MOM has been proposed and launched by Reporter ohne Grenzen e. V. – the German section of the international human rights organization Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF), that aims to defend freedom of the press and the right to inform and be informed anywhere in the world.
In each country, RSF cooperates with a local partner organization. In Cambodia, RSF worked with the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM).
The project is funded by the Federal German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).
Media pluralism is a key aspect of democratic societies as free, independent, and diverse media reflect divergent viewpoints and allow criticism of people in power. Risks to diversity of ideas are caused by media market concentration, when only a few players exert dominant influence on public opinion and raise entrance barriers for other players and perspectives (media ownership concentration). The biggest obstacle to fight it is lack of transparency of media ownership: How can people evaluate the reliability of information, if they don´t know who provides it? How can journalists work properly, if they don´t know who controls the company they work for? And how can media authorities address excessive media concentration, if they don´t know who is behind the media´s steering wheel?
MOM thus aims to create transparency and to answer the question “who eventually controls media content?” in order to raise public awareness, to create a fact base for advocacy to hold political and economic players accountable for the existing conditions.
MOM doesn’t make normative statements – it doesn’t suggest how to control media ownership. Which form of media concentration control can work, depends on the country context, the existing legal and market conditions, the ownership landscape.
MOM provides a transparency tool to enforce a democratic discussion on that issue as well as good governance: decisions are likely to be of higher quality and to better reflect the needs and wishes of the people if they have access to adequate information and broad consultations, with views and opinions freely shared.
The main question is: which media outlets influence the opinion-forming process? In order to scan all relevant media, we included all traditional media types (Print, Radio, TV, Online).
The media were selected according to the following criteria:
The TV stations were selected according to their audience reach nationwide.
Source: CMRD (2015). Media consumption Survey (Jan-March 2015) [available upon request at CMRD].
Source: CMRD (2015). Media consumption Survey (Jan-March 2015).
Source: RFA research department.
Print media outlets were selected according to:
Source: CMRD (2015). Media consumption Survey (Jan-march 2015).
Websites were selected according to:
Cambodia is ranked #139 out in 180 countries in the 2015 according the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporter without Borders. With a score of 40.99, Cambodia faces significant problems related to of press freedom. This indicates a problematic relation to media pluralism, media independence and transparency and thus highlights Cambodia as a country being worth looking in depth into the risk of media ownership concentration.
On the other hand, unlike in other surrounding countries, civil society organizations such as the local partner Cambodian Center of Independent Media (CCIM) can operate relatively freely, which allowed a pilot implementation.
MOM was developed as a generic methodology which can be universally applied – and potentially will be. Notwithstanding that media concentration trends are observable worldwide, implementation and analysis will first take place in developing countries. During the pilot phase in 2015, next to Cambodia, the MOM was also launched in Columbia.
An implementation in eight more developing countries is planned for the second roll-out-period in 2016.
The data base
is a point of reference for consulting competition authorities or governmental bodies when establishing suitable regulatory measures to safeguard media pluralism.
The database is a snapshot of the current situation, contextualized by historical facts. It will be updated regularly by the local partner organization Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM).
After the roll-out in other countries (planned for 2016 and beyond), an international ranking on the level of media ownership concentration will be established, similar to the Ranking of Press Freedom by Reporter Without Borders.
You can also find more reports and information about the media sector in general in our MOM Library.