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FAQ

Here's a selection of frequently asked questions about RNW Media and our answers

  1. What does RNW Media do?
  2. Why does RNW Media do this?
  3. How does RNW Media do that?
  4. Who is RNW Media’s target audience?
  5. Which are RNW Media’s target countries?
  6. Why and how were these countries selected?
  7. What kind of activities does RNW Media offer?
  8. What does RNW stand for?
  9. Who are RNW Media’s partners?
  10. What are the most striking results achieved by RNW Media so far?
  11. How do young people in the target regions respond to RNW Media’s activities?
  12. Do RNW Media projects face opposition in the target areas?
  13. Are you engaging young people in the Netherlands as well?
  14. Does RNW Media have a right to exist? Why does RNW Media exist?
  15. Is RNW Media a media organisation or an NGO?
  16. How is RNW Media funded?
  17. What’s the exact amount of subsidy allocated to RNW Media?
  18. Does RNW Media depend entirely on government subsidies?


Q: What does RNW Media do?

A: RNW Media uses media to promote social change. Informed people shape a better future, so we make information available on sensitive topics in parts of the world where freedom of speech cannot be taken for granted.

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Q: Why does RNW Media do this?

A: Freedom of speech is not available for all young people in the world. Youths often face restrictions imposed by the government or social pressure as a result of taboos. RNW Media supports and promotes the right of every individual to form and express their opinions freely.

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Q: How does RNW Media do that?

A: Through persuasive storytelling and innovative uses of media and training, we enable young people to make informed choices and drive change. We build communities, drawing on the network and local expertise in the countries where we work. And we connect change-makers and communities, stimulating conversation and co-creation.

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Q: Who is RNW Media’s target audience?

A: RNW Media mainly focuses on young movers and shakers, aged 15-30, in eighteen carefully selected countries where freedom of expression and freedom of opinion are seriously restricted. These countries range from China to the Arab world, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

RNW Media uses its own channels as well as those of its partners: media organisations, bloggers, journalists and NGOs.

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Q: Which are RNW Media’s target countries?

A: China.
Latin America: Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico. 
The Arab World: Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Saudi-Arabia, Morocco, Syria.
Africa: Burundi, DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
In addition, RNW has special projects in India, Suriname and Kenya.

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Q: Why and how were these countries selected?

A: RNW Media has limited the number of target countries mainly for budgetary reasons. RNW Media has focused on the regions and countries where it can have a real and meaningful impact. To determine the choice of  countries, RNW Media looked at analysis conducted by several organisations including Freedom House, the World Bank, the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and the international research group InterMedia.

The annual Press Freedom Index published by Freedom House has been a key yardstick;  countries with a score of 50 or more points are classified as not free or partly free. For those countries, we examined both the potential (the size of the target group and its media use, the potential for partnerships, etc.) and the context (the issues at stake, the availability of local and international media, the strength of ties with the Netherlands, etc).  Based on those findings, a comparison of costs and benefits was made; then an estimate of the investment needed to develop activities in the specific target country and of the expected impact this would have. This is how the current number of 18 target countries was decided.

This is not a permanent selection: if a country drops under 50 points on the Freedom House ranking, it no longer qualifies as a target. Similarly, RNW Media will halt its activities in a certain area if long-term targets there cannot be met or if local media partners have become able to provide consistent and reliable information themselves.

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Q: What kind of activities does RNW Media offer?

A: Young people in China are not the same as people of the same age in the Arab world and one cannot necessarily reach them in the same way. RNW Media is developing distinct brands to reach young people in China and the regions of Latin America, Africa and the Arab world.

In 2013, helanonline.cnhunasotak.com and eltoque.com went online. For trans-regional projects such as Love Matters, the existing websites were redesigned. New Love Matters sites in Mandarin Chinese and Arabic were launched. Justicehub.org and Waza were launched in 2014. The sites differ widely; each has its own visual and functional design, but all have RNW Media branding.

Read more about RNW Media activities.

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Q: What does RNW stand for?

A: RNW is an acronym of Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Radio Nederland Wereldomroep in Dutch. It’s the name of the Dutch international radio broadcaster that was set up in 1947. Following steep budget cuts, RNW ended its shortwave and satellite transmissions in 2012 and changed its focus to promoting free speech.

However, even after its transformation from a radio broadcaster to a multimedia organisation, RNW Media is still often referred to as Radio Netherlands or de Wereldomroep at home.

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Q: Who are RNW Media’s partners?

A: For the creation and distribution of content, RNW Media works with a variety of organisations and professionals around the world: media organisations, multimedia platforms, internet providers, grassroots groups, bloggers associations, youth organisations, NGOs, social networks, businesses, human rights activists, etc.

This collaboration takes many different forms ranging from co-creation and distribution of content to coaching, training, sponsoring and project development.

Partners come to us for several reasons. Some choose to work with us because of the quality of our content and our reputation. Others are looking to benefit from our innovative way of working, our interaction with audiences and our international network.
 

The basic principle of all our partnerships is mutual benefit.

List of key RNW partners

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Q: What are the most striking results achieved by RNW Media so far?

A: Helan Online’s Weibo posts relating to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Netherlands in March 2014 drew many millions of views. The most prominent post had a staggering 21 million views, nearly 4,000 thumb-ups and 2,672 comments.

The Arabic offshoot of RNW Media’s successful Love Matters project reached over three million views on its YouTube channel only 10 months after it started. The spectacular growth of the taboo-breaking Arabic-language website about sexual health has been entirely organic.

Ikenna Azuike’s  satirical video blog What’s Up Africa has been a big hit on the continent for several years. This has sparked the interest of the BBC, which is now co-producing a series of pilot programmes.

The most striking results are listed on the Stories and Activities pages on this website.

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Q: How do young people in the target areas respond to RNW Media’s activities?

A: Mostly positive and enthusiastic, with long comment threads emerging after videos, online reports and articles, containing meaningful response from the regions. Young people are keenly taking part in the discussions, giving their views, suggesting ideas about content, formats or platforms. These discussions generate content  for RNW Media radio programmes and websites including El Toque in Latin America, Rencontres et Profils in francophone Africa, Huna Sotak in the Arab World, the international justice sites and the five Love Matters sites.

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Q: Do RNW Media projects face opposition in the target areas?

A: Yes, there has been opposition to our activities. It has come in the shape of censorship from the authorities or as criticism of arguments presented in RNW Media debates. Sensitive issues tend to provoke heated debate between opposing viewpoints and sometimes the focus shifts from the message to the messenger or the initiator of the discussion.

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Q: Are you engaging young people in the Netherlands as well?

A: Yes, but on a small scale and mostly indirectly. The Netherlands may be home to RNW Media, but it is not one of its target countries. RNW Media’s participation in the 2014 Amsterdam Gay Pride event, for example, attracted many Dutch youths, who attended presentations and discussions organised by RNW Media.

In addition, the China desk’s interactive Helan Online platform has developed partnerships with several Chinese-language websites based in the Netherlands. Another example is Boks.sr, an RNW Media platform for young people in Suriname which stimulates them to give their opinion on social issues. Boks.sr is in Dutch and attracts many young people of Surinamese extraction.
 

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Q: Does RNW Media have a right to exist? Why does RNW Media exist?

A: Promoting freedom across the world is one of the key principles of Dutch foreign policy. A special focus is on promoting freedom of speech and internet freedom as a way to boost democratic reform. The Netherlands also seeks to strengthen the media landscape in countries that lack media pluralism.

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Q: Is RNW Media a media organisation or an NGO?

A: RNW Media is both. It’s a non-governmental organisation with public funding. RNW Media started as an international radio station in 1947 and it recently transformed into a full-fledged multimedia organisation promoting social change.

RNW seeks to help its target countries develop freedom of speech and prepare the groundwork for media pluralism. In line with the aims of is main funder, the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, RNW strives to change attitudes and behaviour as a way of moving societies forward. RNW has teamed up with Dutch and international NGOs,  sharing expertise and experience to make its projects more effective.

RNW works with professional partners that are unable to produce certain content because of legal restrictions or social taboos – content that is important to their audience. We aim for a lasting effect by embedding a ‘culture of free speech’ among partners and others with whom we collaborate.

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Q: How is RNW Media funded?

A: RNW Media is currently funded out of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget. In addition, the organisation generates its own revenues. In 2013, RNW Media Connect was established, a unit entirely devoted to business and sales.

RNW Media has structural funding until the end of 2016. It’s currently seeking funding from other institutional funding bodies like the EU. RNW Media has established good relations with the Ford Foundation, which has awarded a substantial grant to Love Matters India.

In addition, RNW Media is exploring commercial opportunities, for example through sponsorship and advertising. And it’s investigating the possibilities to apply to international public funds in collaboration with partner projects.

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Q: What’s the exact amount of subsidy allocated to RNW Media?

A: Since 1 January 2013, RNW Media has received financial support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with funding of 56 million euros in total for a four-year period (until 1 January 2017).

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Q: Does RNW Media depend entirely on government subsidies?

A: One of the conditions on which this funding is granted is that RNW Media should generate its own income. In mid-2013, RNW Media Connect was established, a unit entirely devoted to business and sales.

RNW Media’s main building, which became available from March 2013, has undergone alterations and has been let to the public broadcasting organisation AVROTROS from the beginning of 2014. The technical support company dB mediagroup, of which RNW Media owns 75 percent of the shares, has increased its turnover through the purchase of dBmg BV. In the coming years this is expected to generate a turnover of three million euros in total.

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