The overall goal of this project is similar as in years past: to increase media plurality and civic activism in Azerbaijan, especially among underrepresented groups, through the promotion of Internet publishing, blogging, and other new media techniques. Donor: National Endowment for Democracy
More specifically, the project goals are: to promote Internet-based media as an alternative to the poor quality and political bias of the traditional print and broadcast media; to build the capacity of civil society groups to advocate for their members’ interests, raise public awareness, and play a more active role in public life, through the adoption of new media techniques and the building of online communities; to empower underrepresented groups by providing them with tools and techniques for creating their own media content and allowing their voices to be heard, thereby increasing their public role and impact on the political process; and to appeal especially to young people, usually the most active new media users, and get them more involved in creating media of their own and contributing to the political process.
However, in response to the conclusions of our 2011 cumulative report, we are readjusting our priorities: to stress training in the regions, especially targeting those areas that remain virtually uncovered by other organizations and include some of the country's marginalized minority groups; to develop a group of specialists from among our alumni that can provide training in the regions; to explore targeted assistance to a select group of independent media, mainly in the regions; to transfer additional Czech and international expertise to Azerbaijan through distance learning, translation of mobile media resources, and a study trip.
We will use renewed Endowment support to continue fostering new media skills in Azerbaijan. To promote the effective use of new media by activists, particularly youth, TOL will organize four two-day workshops, conduct a needs assessment to create a new media consultancy initiative, translate the Mobile Media Toolkit (www.mobilemediatoolkit.org) into Azeri and adapt four TOL distance learning courses for Azerbaijan. Additionally, NED funding will be used to build the skills of Azeri journalism students and professors by sending two journalism professors to attend TOL’s international digital journalism course in Prague and participate in a three-day study visit to Czech media organizations.
For more information about TOL's other current projects, please click here.