Media and culture for development in the Southern Mediterranean region

Contributes to inclusive growth by reinforcing the media and culture sectors as vectors of development

Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria and Tunisia.

Timeframe: 2013-2017

Budget: €17 million


The overall objective of the programme is to support the efforts of the Southern Mediterranean countries’ in building deep-rooted democracy and to contribute to their sustainable economic, social and human development, through regional co-operation in the fields of media and culture.
Specifically, the programme seeks to reinforce the role of media and culture as vectors for democratisation, and economic and social development for societies in the Southern Mediterranean.
What does it do?
In the media field, the programme embraces people as well as public and private organisations that provide online and offline news reporting/journalism. Inter alia, the programme targets the mainstream public media in the Southern Mediterranean (e.g. print, TV and radio, and online) as well as independent media outlets including community media.
The programme develops capacities of the media operators as a vector for democratisation and human rights, and also supports efforts to improve media legislation and enhance the capacities of media regulators.
The programme supports activities fostering cultural policy reform and reinforcing the capacity of cultural policy makers, as well as promoting investment and the development of cultural operators' business capabilities. In the context of the programme, culture covers core arts areas (performing arts, visual arts, cultural and architectural heritage and literature), cultural industries (film, DVD and video, television and radio, video games, new media, music, books and press), and creative industries (industries, which use culture as an input but whose outputs are mainly functional, including architecture, advertising, design and fashion). 

Actions in brief


  • Enhances the independence of the media in the region, complementing existing training sessions for journalists, enhances freedom of expression for cultural operators and for independent media (e.g. the public media sector continues its gradual shift from being a state-controlled propaganda tool to becoming a reliable source of balanced information respecting political pluralism and freedom of opinion);
  • Raises the levels of professionalism of both traditional and new media operators and helps them embrace a code of ethics based on principles that are commonly accepted internationally;
  • Promotes networking between journalism schools/faculties in the region to exchange best practices especially on issues related to freedom of expression and codes of ethics and promotes regional networking activities for media associations in the region;
  • Facilitates the creation of regional platforms that bring together national authorities, civil society organisations and media representatives to improve media legislation and facilitate media;
  • Contributes to cultural policy reforms and reinforces the capacity of cultural policymakers while promoting investment in culture and the development of cultural operators' business capabilities;
  • Improves the access of the wider public to both independent new media and cultural and artistic creation and heritage, helps to secure bigger audiences for independent media operators including community media and increases the audience for cultural productions at local and regional levels;
  • Helps potential investors gain a better knowledge/understanding of the cultural sector.

Programme Action Fiche (page 11)

The following projects are funded under the programme:  
Med Culture: a regional technical assistance project that aims to sustain the creation of an institutional and social environment propitious to culture as a vector for freedom of expression and sustainable development, by accompanying the process of development of the culture sector and to develop the capacities of the cultural decision makers in the Southern Mediterranean – Webpage
Drama, Diversity and Development in the south Mediterranean region: A regional grant project aiming at demonstrating the role of culture in the promotion of diversity and in the challenge to discrimination against minorities, through the annual award of sub grants to street theatre projects focusing on ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities – webpage
MedMedia: a regional technical assistance project aimed at creating an enabling environment for media reforms in the region, focusing on media legislation, regulation, programming, strategy and leadership with a strong focus on helping state media fulfil their public service mandate. It offers policy-makers, regulators, broadcasters and union leaders access to relevant experience and know-how from both sides of the Mediterranean.- website
EBTICAR-Media project: a regional grant project aiming to support the development of online media in the south Mediterranean region by strengthening  the editorial, technical or financial competence of online media stakeholders, through the  award of 25 sub-grants for the most innovative proposals – website
Aswatona Fund for Media Development: a regional grant project aiming to foster media pluralism, public voice and civil society participation in the media in the south Mediterranean region and to strengthen, through community media, the voices of women, youth, remote and rural communities, and marginalised groups,  through the award of sub-grants  for five types of action: exchanges of experience and good practice; audience development and sustainability; cultural and social action media; promotion of media policy dialogue; and network development and solidarity.


EU Cooperation with Syria is currently suspended due to the political situation in the country; however, since in principle Syria is eligible for cooperation under the ENPI, activities may be taken up again once the situation improves.
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