Media Sector Development Working Group - elections 2023

The Media Sector Development working group will be holding elections for two co-chair and one vice-chair positions, for the term 2023 – 2027.

The elections will be held online from 31 May until 16 June using the SurveyMonkey platform.

Individual members and representatives of institutional members in good standing, who are also registered as members of the Media Sector Development working group will be eligible to stand for a position and to vote. To verify if you are a member of the MSD section, log in to your account and click on "My Sections and Working Groups".

The deadline to receive candidate statements was 17 May.

The current Head comprises two co-chairs, Nick Benequista and Susan Abbott, and two vice-chairs, Winston Mano and Jairo Lugo-Ocando. Nick, Susan and Winston are ending their terms in 2023.

Read about the Media Sector Development working group

More information and timeline at


For co-chair:

For vice-chair:


Susan Abbott (University of Westminster, United Kingdom)


Dear colleagues:

My name is Susan Abbott and I am a doctoral researcher with the University of Westminster, Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), where I work on my PhD part-time.  I plan to finish my PhD this year and my research looks at how donors impact the development of media systems in developing and transitioning countries. My research focuses on media assistance and considers issues of normative theories of the press, the relevance of public service media and the idea of media as a public good, and the role of civil society as it pertains to advancing media freedom. In addition to my doctoral research, I have worked with NGOs, at schools of communication, and with donors in the field of media assistance for the past 23 plus years.  I am currently the Information Resilience and Tech Advisor with USAID's Democratic Resilience and Innovation team -- in a role as a contractor -- and I focus on information ecosystems, issues of trust and safety, and how to maintain press freedom in the face of global challenges stemming from democratic backsliding and threats posed by digitalization. I also teach at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, where I am a lecturer and also help coordinate the Roth Seminar Series on Democracy and Media. 

I would like to continue on as co-Chair of the IAMCR Media Sector Development Working Group.  I’ve been working on institutionalizing and building out media development as an academic field of practice since working at the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication and at Central European University in Budapest. I’ve also worked in partnership with the Global Forum For Media Development and the Center for International Media Assistance on improving relationships between scholars and practitioners, and helping to create a space for researchers, academics and new thinking related to international and local media development. With our relatively young Working Group at IAMCR, Media Sector Development has achieved a lot – published books, journal articles, hosted conferences and partnered with GFMD on a number of important consultations that have helped support new initiatives and frameworks for media development.

In our next phase as the Media Sector Development Working Group, as co-chair, I would like to strengthen our network and develop partnerships around the world, including working with departments and programs that have a core focus or specialized track of study around media development. I would like to support a young scholars and scholars-practitioners program, work collaboratively and across other working groups to host summer schools or institutes that advance scholarship and research around media development, and on important issues that are a key focus for media development, including: information integrity and resilience, how new technologies affect the advance of digital authoritarianism and the spread of disinformation, media viability and business models, new thinking around normative theories of the press, and emerging efforts from civil society, social movements and activists to support democratic, human rights based approaches to media development. 

Susan Abbott
Email: or
Mobile/ Signal and WhatsApp: +1-720-352-6141

Nicholas Benequista (Senior Director, Center for International Media Assistance, United States)


It would be my privilege to serve a second and final term as the co-chair of the Media Sector Development Working Group. Since its official establishment in 2019, the Media Sector Development Working Group has been an exercise in field-building. The constitution of the working group and its members was itself the product of several years of effort. Since then, in addition to consistently hosting panels at the IAMCR conference, the Media Sector Development WG has helped to publish an edited volume and a special edition journal. The WG has also hosted two pre-conferences and several side events in the past two years along with partners such as UNESCO – all bringing together scholars and practitioners. The WG now has two positions reserved for its members on a research and policy advisory board at the Global Forum for Media Development. I have been proud to be one of the animating forces behind these accomplishments.

Provided a second term as co-chair, my goals for the next four years will be three-fold: 1) to consolidate the shared research agenda that unifies the diverse interests of WG members, 2) to continue to expand the active membership base of the WG while privileging diverse geographical and methodological viewpoints, and 3) to continue expanding the opportunities for WG members to publish and have influence on policies and practices affecting media sector development around the world.

The challenges facing the provision of news and information to citizens around the world are profound, complex, and fundamental. By exploring these challenges, scholars have an important opportunity understand the changes happening in the media sphere. They also have the opportunity, and perhaps the responsibility, to formulate normative concepts that can help shape collective responses to these challenges. The Media Sector Development remains important and relevant to the work of the IAMCR for these reasons. I hope that I can continue to support WG members who wish to join efforts in this mission.  

Anjani Kumar Srivastava (Chairman & Director Circular Global Communication Services Pvt. Ltd., India)


Media sector development indicators have been developed under the aegis of UNESCO, by IPDC, through a broad international consultations at its intergovernmental council session in 2006. A set of indicators endorsed by the council and a framework for assessing media sector development was created. MDI (media development indicators) look at all aspects of the media environment and were aimed to monitor various categories- - A system of regulation conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media;  Plurality and diversity of media, a level economic playing field and transparency of ownership;  Media as a platform for democratic discourse; Professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpins freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity; Infrastructural capacity is sufficient to support independent and pluralistic media. 

The current changing global digital media ecosystem calls for more discussion, research work and interactions among policy makers, audiences, and media organizations for the holistic media sector development. For this, there are need of more media conferences and seminars to be organized involving all the stakeholders. In the current social media popularity scenario, there is a need of reshaping the broadcasting media, Print media and digital media at multiple levels- local, regional, national and international- for supporting the agencies of citizens and civil society so that media sector development could be aligned with fast changing demands of audiences and supply with less conflicted messages and more organized digital media technologies based media productions and organizations. 

Media have always been addressing the diverse and heterogeneous audiences as their responsibility towards societies and citizens and this requires more challenges in the current scenario of fast changing media landscape and communication ecosystem. The current media sector development calls for inclusion of all citizens’ groups- haves and have-nots as the digital divide has to be addressed for the internet and digital media access and media reach for the all sections of the societies. This calls for more interactive sessions of brainstorming among all stakeholders by organizing more media development conferences and seminars and including the perspectives of academia and media practitioners for the purpose of realizing towards clearly defined goals and must be supported by various diverse cultural and political entities in the World.

Winston Mano (University of Westminster, United Kingdom)


I am very grateful for serving my role as Vice Chair for Media Sector Development. There are many reasons to celebrate the progress we have made during my tenure and consider the future opportunities that lie ahead. I am confident that my continued presence will contribute significantly to the success and growth of our Media Sector Development. In my role as Vice Chair, I have spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at fostering innovation and driving growth within the media sector. My strategic vision and ability to identify emerging trends in our field of media and communication have allowed us to stay ahead of the curve, positioning us as a leader in this rapidly evolving sector. Through my efforts, we have successfully cultivated strong relationships with key stakeholders, enabling us to forge partnerships and collaborations that have enhanced our organization's reputation and influence.

My own research has amongst other areas focused on Public Service Broadcasting, China in Africa, Big Techs in the Global South, Media Ownership and Afrokology of Media and Communication Studies. I am founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Media Studies. I have co-edited the book Media Development (2021) and Media Ownership in Africa (2023).

I believe I have helped MSD intellectually, to priotise the decolonising media development agenda, equipping academics and professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to decolonise media including in the global South where decolonial perspectives are much needed. By investing in decoloniality, we could empower individuals and organisations to better adapt to the changing media development landscape and seize new opportunities. Together with colleagues, I have helped promote initiatives that not only bolster our capabilities for media development but have also attracted considerable attention and recognition at different levels. I have especially promoted the decolonising agenda via the Afrokological heuristic tool, as propounded by Mano and milton (2021) in the Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies. The Afrokological toolkit advances an epistemological emancipation by decolonising theoretical and practical approaches. Afrokology helps reimagine how different worlds can coexist, not submitted in one reality, but in incommensurability. Afrokology aims not just to move discussions away from the uncritical and wholesale embrace or complete rejection of received knowledges but to identify the incompleteness of dominant global North paradigms. This emphasis on pluriversality is a key aspect of Afrokology’s connectedness to decoloniality, which includes conscious acts of reclamation and validation. An Afrokological tool manifests in a double gesture: first, it demands a critical engagement with the incompleteness of dominant global North knowledge frameworks and remnants of coloniality. Secondly, it demands commitment towards decolonising media and communication studies, i.e. debunking narrowly defined approaches and reimagining present-futures of medialities from a global South perspective. In essence, I have mobilised Afrokology as a participatory, transdisciplinary and responsive framework underpinned by key values of conviviality and incompleteness, with emphasis on accommodating so-called “other” knowledges in media development. 

Moreover, my dedication to fostering a vibrant and inclusive media ecosystem has been unwavering. I have actively championed diversity and representation, recognizing the importance of diverse voices and perspectives in shaping a well-rounded media landscape. Through targeted initiatives and partnerships,I have helped encourage underrepresented groups to participate in media sector development, fostering a more inclusive and equitable approach. Thank you for considering my request, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my vision and plans for the future of our MSD community.

Winston Mano