Where we work
Young woman in the Ugandan capital Kampala
RNW Media/Sandesh Bhugaloo

Where we work

RNW Media works with countries where freedom of expression is severely restricted. The list today includes China and 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Arab world. We give access to information that isn’t available in the local media because of laws or taboos.

Outside of our target countries, RNW Media also runs projects in India and Kenya.

Here are a few examples of our innovative projects run by courageous people around the world:

  • In China, Helan Online stimulates discussion on free speech, often attracting more than 10 million visitors per social media post.
  • In Syria, with the Ma3akom satellite channel, RNW Media supports correspondents working with our partners, who risk their lives as they try to report objectively and independently from the streets. 
  • In Ivory Coast and Kenya, our international justice websites provide the only impartial forums for young Africans to have their say on prosecutions at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
  • What’s Up Africa uses quirky satire on YouTube to crack open debate on Africa’s hottest and touchiest topics.
  • In Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico, our multimedia platform El Toque supports bloggers demanding to have a voice, and journalists who dare to defy drug cartels and corrupt officials.
  • Across three continents, Love Matters takes on the toughest of taboos in the places where knowledge is most needed, from India to the Arab World. The websites and social media provide information and host conversation on sexual health, rights and pleasure.

Why these target areas?

To have genuine influence and impact, RNW Media has to make choices concerning content, target audiences and target areas.

  • What are the countries with the most serious lack of press freedom and where citizens have the sense that they are not free to form or express an opinion? Sources are the Press Freedom Index (Freedom House) and the Voice and Accountability Indicator (World Bank).
  • With a view to making the greatest possible impact, we favour groups of countries in a region where the same language is spoken. Countries with a lack of press freedom but a limited size in terms of language such as Iran, Myanmar or North Korea are not suitable core target areas, however RNW Media may carry out projects in such countries.
  • There is a better chance of making an impact if the Netherlands already pays specific attention to a country, for example within the framework of development cooperation or from the perspective of human rights; if RNW Media already has a market position in a country; or if there is an interest in the Netherlands and Dutch organisations.

The initial selection comprised 58 countries. For these countries a context analysis was made. As a basis for this analysis, three studies were conducted:

  • an analysis of the political, social and economic stress factors and of Dutch interests in the various countries, carried out by The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) Title: In Support of the Free Word. Supporting Choices. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, 2012.
  • an analysis of the media situation, considering media access and use in each region and country, carried out by RNW: Media Analysis RNW regions. RNW Strategy & Research Department, 2012.
  • an analysis of competition, considering the activities of other international content providers.

RNW Media’s core countries were then chosen on the basis of these studies and the above considerations.

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