In many emerging economies, democracy often depends on independent, public-interest journalism to hold the government accountable. This type of journalism – mired in impenetrable policy and deep-dive reporting around complex yet vital societal issues – is often underfunded in the Global South. But when international funders do come with support, it can arrive with unrealistic expectations.

These assumptions push against regional and local cultural issues, technical constraints and sustainability models far better suited to Western environments. Financial requirements can be mismatched while onerous impact tracking results in projects mired in paperwork that takes away from producing the journalism itself. Meanwhile, barriers as basic as language not only warp the global news narrative but the media development space as well.

So what do donors and media development groups need to better understand about the unique complexities of the Global South?