Media Sustainability Index 2005

Russia, Uzbekistan and Belarus Headline Backsliding in Eurasia While Croatia Leads Steady Progress in Southeast Europe

WASHINGTON, DC – January 25, 2006 – IREX announces the release of the Media Sustainability Index (MSI) 2005, which provides the only comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of media development in twenty countries across Europe and Eurasia. Now in its fifth year, the new MSI highlights the gradual yet sustained improvements in the media environments of Croatia and other countries in Southeast Europe.

Meanwhile, analysis shows how Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Russia have increasingly repressed independent media within their borders. Despite the positive effects of the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine on their media sectors, the MSI indicates that post-revolutionary euphoria must be followed by further media improvements to ward off stagnation or backsliding.

Mark Pomar, President of IREX, noted: "The development of independent media is often a long process. However, this year’s MSI clearly shows that countries, which embrace media reform and welcome a professional, pluralistic free press can show dramatic results leading to economic progress and democracy."

The MSI, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), offers a valuable tool for media professionals, public officials, scholars and others concerned about media and its role in democratic and economic reform.

The Index analyzes freedom of speech, plurality of media available to citizens, professional journalism standards, business sustainability of media, and the efficacy of institutions that support independent media. The report features country-by-country rankings using a proven methodology and detailed input from local and international media professionals.

The annual study also highlights and compares trends from 2001 to 2005 to show where countries have improved, where backsliding has occurred, and what can be expected for the future of independent media in the region.

IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development. Founded in 1968, IREX has an annual portfolio of $50 million and a staff of over 500 professionals worldwide. IREX and its partner IREX Europe deliver cross-cutting programs and consulting expertise in more than 50 countries.

Contact :

Lisa Blonder, Communications Manager
lblonder@irex.org

Mark Whitehouse, Director, Media Development Division
mwhitehouse@irex.org



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- The MSI 2005 can be found at
www.irex.org/msi.

IREX Europe - 11 Rue Aimé Collomb - Lyon, France, 69003
info@irexeurope.eu - Tel: 33 (0) 980 527 829 - Fax: 33 (0) 985 527 829
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