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January 16, 2024

African Media Landscape Regional Study Report: The case of North Africa

By Dr Mennatullah Hendawy, Egypt. ACRP North Africa Network Region Lead 2023.

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)


Media and journalism play a vital role in shaping public perception, influencing policy decisions, and reflecting the state of society itself (Happer & Philo, 2013). It is accordingly of substantial significance in modern society to investigate the developments and challenges in the practice and study of media and journalism within the region. 

In the North African region, the field of media and journalism has witnessed significant developments and challenges in recent years. Particularly, the Arab Spring and the history of transitions in North African countries provide a diverse media dynamic that differs from other regions (Szmolka, 2017). Moreover, the global practice and study of media and journalism have been impacted by several key technological advancements, especially digital media (Wilding, 2018). In North African countries, there has been a noticeable shift towards a new media landscape marked by increased diversification and multiplication (Ibahrine, 2010).

Hence, this report investigates two main aspects. First, it seeks to explore the developments and challenges that have unfolded in the practice and study of media and journalism within the North African region. It examines the intricate interplay of global-local trends, technological advancements, government policies, and political influences, all of which significantly shape the practice and reception of media and journalism. Furthermore, the societal reception of media narratives and the resulting impacts on communities, recognizing the important role media plays as both a reflector and a shaper of society, are analyzed.

Second, the report investigates the specific support provided to as well as required by media professionals within the region. The intricate nature of modern media and journalism demands a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those at the forefront of information dissemination. Identifying and addressing these needs are crucial steps toward nurturing a robust media ecosystem that can effectively serve the informational needs of society. 

Using desktop research and data collected from a survey targeting media professionals in North Africa, this report answers two main questions: 1) What developments and challenges have occurred in the practice and/or study of media and journalism in the region? 2) What kind of support do journalists, media professionals, and media scholars in the region require?


To answer the above-mentioned questions, this report uses a survey and desktop research. The report primarily focuses on media across seven North African countries: the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Libya, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and the Republic of Tunisia. 

A structured survey is the primary data collection tool, and this survey was designed to extract comprehensive insights from respondents about their experiences, opinions, and perceptions of the media landscape in North Africa. The selection of respondents was based on ensuring representation from various countries across the region. Additionally, the respondents have experience in various media forms, such as print, digital, television, and radio. Overall, by combining survey results with information from desktop research, the report offers an understanding of the current state of the media landscape in the North African region. 

A total of 18 respondents participated in the survey, representing and working in different countries across North Africa: the Arab Republic of Egypt (4 respondents), the Kingdom of Morocco (4 respondents), Libya (3 respondents), the Republic of Tunisia (4 respondents), the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (2 respondents), and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria (1 respondent), offering diverse viewpoints on media and journalism across North African countries. It is important to note that for the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, there were no responses collected, and therefore, information regarding this country is based solely on desktop research. 

Regarding how the respondents (media professionals) identified their respective fields, the role of "Journalist" stood out prominently, accounting for 27.78%  considering themselves journalists exclusively. All other roles or combinations of roles were represented by approximately 5.6% of respondents with each of the following identifications: "Journalist and Editor", "Journalist, Writer, and independent scholar", "Journalist, Writer, and media expert", "Media producer and Public relations", "Journalist combined with Media producer, Public relations, Writer, and Photographer", "Journalist in tandem with Public relations and Web content manager", "Journalist and Writer", "Journalist in conjunction with Media producer, Media Director, Photographer, and content creator", "Journalist, Editor, and Writer", "Journalist, Media producer, Editor, and Writer", "Journalist with roles of Editor, Publisher, Writer, and Photographer", "Journalist, Media producer, and Writer", and "Journalist combined with Public relations and Correspondent".

Regarding the educational backgrounds of the media professionals who responded to the survey, both "Journalism" and "Communication studies" emerged as prevalent disciplines. A combined total of half of the respondents (50%) indicated that they had pursued studies in either "journalism," "Communication studies," or both. However, the remaining half of the respondents reflected a diverse range of academic backgrounds. "Media studies" was the chosen field for about a third (33.3%) of the respondents. Some delved into intersections of various disciplines, such as "Media studies, Journalism, and Digital media" or "Communication studies combined with audiovisual and cinema techniques and sciences," each constituting 5.6% of the survey respondents. 

Additionally, half of the respondents, or 50%, reported having a Bachelor's degree. Master's degrees were also fairly common, with 27.8% of respondents indicating this as their highest educational attainment. Moreover, 16.7% held Doctoral degrees, while a smaller segment, comprising 5.6%, had completed their education at the High School diploma or equivalent level.

In terms of working locations, the respondents worked across North Africa. Most respondents were from Cairo (Egypt) (22.4%), followed by Casablanca and Tunis, each with 16.7%. Cairo, Nouakchott, and Tripoli were closely behind, at about 11.1%. Other cities and countries mentioned included Tangier, Algeria, Mauritania, and Misurata, each represented by a single respondent. One respondent mentioned being "on vacation."

In terms of working positions, a significant number, more than half (55.6%) of survey respondents, work either as a “Freelance Journalist” or “Journalist”. Other notable positions include editors, media relations officers, and roles like “Professor who is also a Freelance op-ed writer”. When examining affiliations, a majority (33.3%) indicated they were freelancers, 38.9% are affiliated with privately owned media, 22.2% work at Government-owned media, one respondent is from an academic institution (a public university), and the remaining one respondent (5.6%) is associated with a variety of organizations that are mostly nonprofits across Africa, 

Digital Media dominated as the media form they work on, accounting for a significant 83.3% of respondents. However, nearly half of media professionals (44.4%) who work in digital media still work in print media, and nearly a quarter of them work in television (22.2%). Other platforms from government-owned media also found representation of two survey respondents, at 11.1%; however, these survey respondents did not mention the medium they work in.

Data Results & Findings

This section answers the above-mentioned questions based on the collected survey and desktop research. The section is divided into three sub-sections as follows: (1) the developments and challenges that have taken place in the practice and/or study of media and journalism in the region, (2) the kind of support that journalists, media professionals, and media scholars in the region receive; and (3) the support journalists, media professionals, and media scholars require. Each section covers the countries in North Africa mentioned above. Then,  the general trends that help and hinder development in the region, as perceived by media professionals in the field, are discussed, followed by a general discussion and summary of the findings. 

The developments and challenges that have taken place in the practice and/or study of media and journalism in the region

Arab Republic of Egypt

Regarding the developments that have taken place in the practice and/or study of journalism in the Arab Republic of Egypt, one of the respondents highlighted that with the digital age taking over, the battle against fake news and rumors has become prominent. Reflecting this, many organizations are now placing greater emphasis on social media and investing in professional visual content to draw larger audiences. In a similar plea, the desktop research shows that the evolution of technology in digital media in Egypt is being utilized for utilitarian purposes, particularly to enhance openness (Sinnreich et al., 2021). According to Statista Market Insights (2023), the Digital Media market in Egypt is projected to experience a 9.84% growth (2023-2027), which will result in a market volume of US$2454.00 million in 2027.

Regarding the challenges that have taken place in the practice and/or study of journalism in the Arab Republic of Egypt, the respondents shared that they grapple with contextual uncertainties and inflation, which has led many to question the sustainability of the profession locally. In this regard, according to one of the survey respondents, there has been a noticeable trend among freelancers leaning toward international outlets, driven by a perception of better value and compensation. One survey respondent was concerned about the rapid spread of digital media, and other respondents mentioned that the scarcity of professional media organizations, the ability to share their viewpoints, and the low remuneration further shape the media landscape in the country. Amidst these challenges, the observation made by Fahmy and Attia (2020) that government-funded media displays less interest in upgrading data collection, analysis, and visualization methods reflects a discrepancy in technological adoption, which could impact the effectiveness of engaging audiences and providing comprehensive insights. 

Kingdom of Morocco

Regarding the developments that have taken place in the practice and/or study of journalism in the Kingdom of Morocco, the media landscape in the country is experiencing numerous new news websites, as shared by one of the survey respondents. The establishment of an independent body called the Conseil National De La Presse (National Council of Media) and a notable presence of independent journalists characterize the current media landscape. In this context, the desktop research shows that the development of media in Morocco is closely linked with digitalization, a trend highlighted by Zaid and Ibahrine (2011) as a positive step toward bridging the digital divide. These remarks showcase the country's efforts to ensure equitable access to information and communication technologies, fostering a more inclusive media environment.

​​With regard to the challenges that have taken place in the practice and/or study of media and journalism in the Kingdom of Morocco, several survey respondents shared that challenges revolve around access to diverse sources of information, a perceived lack of solidarity among journalists, and remuneration issues. Additional concerns shared by one of the respondents include the non-transparent media ownership and prevalent self-censorship among media practitioners. A recurrent theme across multiple respondents emphasized the constraints of reporting on some topics. One of the significant issues highlighted in the desktop research is disinformation, where false or misleading information is being disseminated. This disinformation may take various forms, such as inaccurate news reports, rumors, or deliberate misinformation campaigns, as indicated in the BBC Morocco Media Guide (2023).


According to the survey, two respondents shared that Libya is witnessing a marked growth in data and science journalism and the evolution of practices that identify and counter false news. As a direct result of false news, numerous fact-checking platforms have emerged in Libya (Scholz, 2021). As reported by Jan-Philipp Scholz (2021), at the beginning of 2020, over 40 journalists in Libya, spanning TV, radio, and online platforms, received training in advanced fact-checking techniques and tools, representing various regions across the country. Notable examples include, which collaborates with over a dozen fact-checkers across the country's various regions, reaching approximately 98,000 Facebook users in Libya with their content. Additionally, the Tripoli-based platform,, is operated by the Libyan Center for Freedom of Press (LCFP). 

For Libya, although there have been various technological advancements in fact-checking, one survey respondent pointed out that there is a lack of contemporary media institutions, scarce open data sources, and limited support for media initiatives. Additionally, survey respondents highlighted that there are regulations imposing limitations on journalistic work. They also add that there is often a lack of trust in journalists in society, leading to limited cooperation. Moreover, as mentioned by one respondent, journalists frequently work in environments marked by local war, social upheaval, and security challenges. Another significant challenge quoted from one of the respondents is “encountering delays in obtaining permissions and experiencing obstructions from the authorities." The sentiment expressed underscores the need for a more open and cooperative relationship between media professionals and regulatory bodies. Furthermore, according to Reporters Without Borders (n.d.-d), Libya faces challenges in promoting an environment that supports public opinion and media transparency despite having legal and constitutional provisions.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Although it was not possible to collect responses for the survey from media professionals in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, several improvements were noted from  the desktop research regarding the development of the media landscape in the country. According to desktop research, government media professionals in Sahrawi receive financial support and higher income (Reporters Without Borders, n.d.-c). In addition, Sahrawi independent journalists are taking proactive steps to address the need for independent media outlets (most of which are not covered by international media) by sharing transparent news from Sahrawi themselves (Vasquez, 2014). 

Furthermore, there are various challenges faced in the media field in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, including limitations to accessing information and expression (Reporters Without Borders, n.d.-c). Additionally Reporters Without Borders report (n.d.-c) notes that one of the challenges faced by Sahrawi journalists and independent media is the struggle to secure a stable financial foundation that enables their development.

Republic of Tunisia

In the Republic of Tunisia,  according to one survey respondent, journalists in the country enjoy the freedom to explore diverse topics. The country's media landscape remains richly diverse and pluralistic despite its challenges, as mentioned by another respondent. Additionally, a respondent highlighted that there is an observable rise in citizen and mobile journalism and that digital platforms emphasize fact-checking verification and investigative journalism. Moreover, workshops designed to educate young journalists are becoming more commonplace. Further reinforcing Tunisia’s status as a digital pioneer, the desktop research shows that the country achieved the distinction of being the first Arab and African nation to connect to the Internet in 1991 (Ibahrine, 2010). This achievement underlines Tunisia's prominent position among developing countries in terms of digitalization. According to Milady (2021), Tunisians' growing use of the Internet and social media, predating the 2011 revolution, also mirrors these advancements in telecommunications technologies. Milady highlighted that social media plays a vital role for journalists to ensure their voices and stories reach a global audience. According to Aal et al. (2018), censorship within the mass media system of Tunisia has primarily been discarded following the Arab Spring, resulting in newspapers, terrestrial TV stations, and satellite TV now offering broader perspectives on national politics. At the same time, statistical data reveals a notable surge in the number of Internet users in Tunisia. However, the authors also share that internet and social media users are still subject to tracking.

Despite some advancements in media digitalization, the right to deliver information and press independence remains a challenge in Tunisia (OHCHR, 2023). Media professionals who participated in the survey highlighted the primary concern of access to information and the regulations related to that. Another concern highlighted by a survey respondent is that the country's journalism curriculum is viewed as outdated and heavily theoretical. This raises questions about how journalism education in the country lacks practical relevance and how it adequately prepares students for the real-world challenges and demands of the profession. Furthermore, some responses referred to the lack of financial support and financial instability. The survey shows that media pluralism in Tunisia faces threats due to the economic crisis and constitutional amendments (see also Reporters Without Borders, n.d.-b). Regarding the economic crisis, the desktop research also demonstrates that many journalists suffer from an unstable social and economic situation (Yakoup, 2017). 

Islamic Republic of Mauritania

According to one of the survey respondents, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has recently taken significant steps by implementing basic regulations for public media institutions. Another survey respondent notes the significant progress achieved in the realm of press freedom, indicating positive strides in ensuring open discourse and information flow. Additionally, the desktop research reveals that some of the positive aspects of the media landscape in Mauritania include technological developments and the freedom of information access law implemented in 2011 (Reporters Without Borders, n.d.-a). 

On the other hand, one survey respondent highlighted the interplay between “liberty and socio-religious traditions” as a notable challenge in the country.  Some topics related to, for example, ethnicity, societal norms,  and religion pose challenges, especially for private media and bloggers (IREX, 2010). Moreover, according to one of the survey respondents, a significant portion of media professionals in Mauritania, especially those who work in public media institutions, work without employment contracts. Furthermore, another respondent emphasized that the educational landscape for aspiring journalists in Mauritania is characterized by a theoretical-heavy approach, limited specialization, and a shortage of subject matter experts. Expanding on this issue, Sayidi (2021) notes that the absence of adequate support, insufficient wages, and protective contracts for journalists have all played a role in sustaining unfavorable conditions within the field. These factors have further driven experienced individuals to explore alternative income sources outside journalism. This gap has also led to the emergence of individuals lacking credibility and integrity, contributing to the degradation of the profession in the country (Sayidi, 2021).

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

In the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, efforts are underway to modernize and develop journalism study curricula. One respondent from Algeria highlighted that ”the curriculum is also adapting to address the challenges of fake news in today's media landscape.” Additionally, the desktop research shows that in recent years, there have been significant developments in journalism. Particularly within the education sector, for example, well-equipped laboratories have been established, as well as journalism training programs on topics such as investigative reporting, human rights, and training media trainers (Rampal, 2009). These advancements reflect a growing recognition of the importance of practical training in preparing aspiring journalists for the dynamic media landscape in Algeria. 

With regard to the challenges for the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, one survey respondent mentioned the need to enhance the services provided to journalists and improve their working environment. Additionally, another challenge mentioned in the survey is the need for a review of media laws, particularly those related to websites and digital media. In a recent effort to tackle the challenge of false news, the Algerian Parliament passed a bill criminalizing such information (BBC Algeria Media Guide, 2023). This indicates a significant step towards regulating the disseminated information and maintaining accuracy and credibility. However, it may have adverse effects. 

The support journalists, media professionals, and media scholars receive in the North African region

The Arab Republic of Egypt

In the Arab Republic of Egypt, survey respondents highlighted the prevalence of structured programs such as journalistic competitions, professional development training, and invitations for foreign experts that are prevalent. Additionally, Another survey respondent shared that the Egyptian media sphere benefits from direct funding for media activities and indirect political backing. This financial and political support equips journalists and media houses with the resources to conduct their work effectively. 

Addressing the living conditions and well-being of journalists, one survey respondent noted the provision of social benefits, including housing and favorable loans, not only contributes to their personal welfare but also ensures that they can work without being overly burdened by economic constraints. Furthermore, according to one survey respondent, the Egyptian media landscape is witnessing a commendable effort to improve its infrastructural and technical prowess. There is evident assistance in enhancing the material and technical base of the media, ensuring that they remain updated with the latest technological advancements. Coupled with this, there are grants designed to facilitate journalistic research, emphasizing the importance of in-depth and investigative journalism in the country.


In Libya, survey respondents selected that the safety of journalists is one of the forms of support that journalists, media professionals, and media scholars receive in the country. They also shared that media professionals receive public support in various ways through political support, financial grants, backing for research, and the organization of journalistic competitions. In addition, during the 2011 uprising, over 170 media outlets were established, receiving substantial donations and support from both local and international communities (Musa, n.d.)

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

According to the desktop research, a noteworthy form of support that has emerged over the past decade is that several prominent websites have become influential within the Sahrawi media landscape (Deubel, 2015). Additionally,  financial support for media activities takes place in the country; however, additional funding remains crucial to sustain operations and promote journalism in the country (Reporters Without Borders, n.d.-c).

Republic of Tunisia, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Like their counterparts in other North African Countries, survey respondents from Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia mentioned that the media professionals benefit from social benefits such as housing and favorable loans. Additionally, media professionals in these countries receive public support and ensure their safety, which enhances their work and efforts. These views were a response to a multiple-choice question in the survey. 

The kind of support that journalists, media professionals, and media scholars in the region require

Arab Republic of Egypt

In the Arab Republic of Egypt, many survey respondents expressed the common need for proper funding and awareness campaigns to ensure more inclusive language and reporting practices. One survey respondent referred to the importance of providing the audience with accurate information about current events and the need to combat false or misleading facts. Generally, the overarching desires of the survey respondents include access to information, safety, and the opportunity to collaborate with renowned international media organizations. Additionally, one survey respondent highlighted that technical and financial support is a common request among journalists, with some aspiring for advanced AI skills training. 

Kingdom of Morocco

Media professionals who participated in the survey from the Kingdom of Morocco mainly expressed their need for training opportunities for training, specifically in areas like fact-checking, self-regulation, the use of AI in newsrooms, and scientific journalism. Moreover, there is a strong emphasis by the respondents on the need for freedom in their journalistic endeavors. They also expressed the need for financial support and collaboration with peers globally. Establishing visibility as media experts and trainers is another aspect that media professionals in the country prioritize.


According to the media professionals in Libya who participated in the survey, the present situation highly influences their needs. One of these needs is safeguarding the rights of journalists and ensuring their protection. One survey respondent shared a wish for the war to end so he/she could pursue media dreams. Additionally, there is a strong sentiment among the survey respondents on the need to respect journalism as a profession. A respondent expressed the desire for scholarships to upgrade journalists' skills, especially in digital journalism. Lastly, a survey respondent emphasized the need for the transparency of official information, allowing independent movement, interaction with government officials, and access to official documents and data.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

The desktop research reveals that media professionals and media outlets in Sahrawi require financial support, especially those who work in private outlets. According to Reporters Without Borders (n.d.-c), independent media outlets are becoming increasingly rare and face challenges in establishing a stable financial foundation that enables their growth and development because media outlets in Sahrawi are Moroccan and only a few pro-Sahrawi media exist with groups of reporters organized in collectives such as Équipe Média or Smara News (Reporters Without Borders, 2015). Thus, independent media are needed in order to deliver transparent news in Sahrawi. Moreover, Sahrawi independent journalists are seeking support and guidance to enhance their visibility and impact in the challenging terrain where they aim to gain visibility, raise awareness, and drive action (Deuble, 2015).

Republic of Tunisia

For the survey respondents from the Republic of Tunisia, the common thread is the need for more training, better salaries, and an emphasis on strengthening their teamwork. Moreover, there is a clear demand for a legal framework that guarantees an independent press and protects journalists. They also prioritize mentorship, specialized training in fact-checking, safety, and security, as well as financial stability and independence.

Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Media professionals from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania who participated in the survey underscores the importance of vocational training. They also highlight the need to impose work contracts, especially in the private sector, addressing the situation of non-permanent workers in public media institutions. Furthermore, there is a call for recruiting specialists to teach in media departments and a shift towards more practical media education. Opening postgraduate departments in the field of media and communication is another expressed requirement.

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

In the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, there's a clear call for specialized training in various media and communication fields, such as fact-checking, self-regulation, the use of AI in newsrooms, and scientific journalism. Moreover, the survey respondent shares the desire for high-level training by professionals outside the region, signaling a need for international exposure and expertise.

General Media Trends in the North African Region

When considering the question, “What are the main messages you care about delivering to your audience/ readers?” Media professionals shared their commitment to delivering impactful narratives, Respondents emphasized highlighting the African industry, regional scientific breakthroughs, and cultural, environmental, and political news. Additionally, social justice, human rights, gender equality, and specialized subjects such as science and health were highlighted, but the foundation for all was a commitment to genuine, accurate storytelling, underscoring journalism's core mission in an age of varied concerns and mediums. This section continues to elaborate on the media trends in the region as shared by the survey respondents.

First, the development trends

In observing the North African region, specific trends emerge that support the development of journalism. Survey respondents from Algeria mentioned that the country is actively working towards establishing a free and independent press, placing a premium on the dissemination of accurate and correct information. One key point mentioned in the survey is “the need to review and possibly reform existing law to better protect journalists” to create an environment where journalists can operate without any hindrance or pressure. 

Reporting trends in Egypt, survey respondents mentioned that the media landscape is evolving. One survey respondent highlighted that there is an increasing trend of collaboration with pan-African outlets for greater unity and shared perspective within the continent’s media landscape. Moreover,  the survey respondent pointed out that Open Source-Intelligence (OSINT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are making significant inroads in the Egyptian media landscape.The rise of OSINT, in particular, has made a transformative impact, offering journalists a safe and reliable method to gather and verify information, reinforcing accurate and credible reporting.

In Libya, the media landscape is characterized by both challenges and hopes, as highlighted by the survey respondents. They emphasized the need for journalist protection and access to information as well as financial support for media professionals.  They also highlight the untapped potential of the country's youth, advocating for specialized training and support, particularly given the budding talent in journalism.

According to Mauritanian media professionals in the survey, they observed a rise in digital media covering diverse topics. This observation indicated a significant shift in the media landscape toward greater inclusivity and broader coverage.

Survey respondents from Morocco emphasized several key trends impacting the media landscape. One respondent highlighted the development of electronic news websites has supported local journalism, enabling the portrayal of diverse stories and human experiences. The influence of diaspora media is also significant, although there is a prevailing sentiment that the broader development of journalism faces challenges, especially with the prevalence of disinformation and “malpractice”, added another survey respondent. Additionally, the integration of Artificial Intelligence, as well as discussions surrounding social and political issues, is evident. 

Media professionals from the survey respondents in Tunisia believe it is challenging to discuss regional trends, given Tunisia's unique position, particularly regarding independence of expression post-revolution. Trends in the country include the rise of citizen journalism, data journalism, and fact-checking. Social media engagement is also crucial. These platforms grant journalists direct audience access, allowing for real-time updates, increased engagement, and news sharing. Additionally, social media promotes the spread of diverse viewpoints and grassroots journalism.

Secondly, the trends that hinder development 

According to respondents from different countries in the North African region, several general trends are hindering the development of journalism in the area. Media professionals from Algeria noted challenges within the North African media, such as the limitations of regulations and accessing information, which hinder independent journalism and transparency of information in the country.

In Egypt, multiple challenges hinder the development of a strong and independent media landscape, as elaborated by the survey respondents. According to the respondents, lack of funding is a significant issue, as well as independent, safe, and objective reporting. “Stereotyping and language barriers” also pose constraints pointed out by one of the survey respondents, as does the impact of low income on journalistic quality and reach.

Similar challenges were also mentioned by the survey respondents in Libya. A common sentiment among media professionals in Libya is the need to protect journalists, both in terms of their physical safety and their rights to access and disseminate information. Another challenge highlighted by a survey respondent is the absence of financial support, which is important for the sustenance and growth of independent journalism. Additionally, another survey respondent mentioned the concerning trend of misinformation and falsehoods that are being propagated by broadcasters on television, which not only damages the credibility of the media but frequently draws criticism from the public.

Respondents from Mauritania shared different perspectives on the trends that hinder the development of their country. Prominent among these concerns, as highlighted by one survey respondent, are “religious tendencies” that are in conflict with society's traditions. Additionally, they highlighted a pronounced need to access information and an overarching “fear of the press”, both of which curtail journalistic freedom and independence.

In Morocco, the media landscape experiences several obstacles, as highlighted by the survey respondents. The rise of “electronic news websites” has been a double-edged sword, as concerned by a survey respondent. While some of these websites maintain a professional standard, “many operate without proper adherence to journalism ethics or rules”, contributing significantly to the spread of fake news. The influence of official authorities is another concern mentioned in the survey, as is the drastic shift in media economic models, especially with big tech companies impacting traditional advertising revenues. The respondent noted that the country's media business model appears to be poorer, which is supported by the declining quality of media graduates. Despite these challenges, there is a consistent demand for more independent journalism.

Lastly, in Tunisia, a primary concern from survey respondents is the significant lack of funding and government support for media entities. This financial strain is further exacerbated by prevalent “political interference and acts of censorship”. The well-being of journalists is also at risk, said one respondent, both in terms of “physical safety and mental health” because of the stresses of their work and the potential dangers they may face. The media landscape is further complicated by the rampant spread of misinformation and disinformation, undermining the integrity and trust in the media. In addition, the last concern from one survey respondent is the independence of the Tunisian media sector.


Summarizing the results of the survey and desktop research presented above, this report presents initial findings on the current state of the media landscape in seven countries across the North African region, reflecting a complex of progress and obstacles shaping the media landscape in the region. 

For example, in Egypt, freelancers are drawn to international outlets to get better value and compensation,  as well as address fake news and rumors; however, they still face financial constraints. Morocco's media landscape witnesses growth in independent journalism and news websites, yet electronic news sites and media ethics pose challenges. Libya is actively combating false news and promoting data journalism while addressing journalists’ safety and data source availability. In the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, government support bolsters financial stability, but the quest for an independent press system continues. Tunisia's diverse media scene embraces fact-checking but faces challenges in sharing news openly. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania introduced basic media regulations focusing on journalistic conditions and education. In Algeria, progress in modernizing journalism curricula and addressing fake news challenges is evident, with media law revisions and improved services on the horizon. Table 1 shows a summary of the developments and challenges across the region that were mentioned in the previous sections.

Table 1- Summary of the developments and challenges across the region.

Arab Republic of EgyptFreelancers finding better financial compensation from international outletsRecognition of fake news and rumors.Addressing fake news and rumors.Growing belief in the importance of social media by organizations leading to the production of professional visual contentUnsustainability for local journalists due to inflation Spread of fake news through digital mediaOpen communicationLack of professional media organizations Low salaries
Kingdom of MoroccoEmergence of numerous news websitesEstablishment of an independent media oversight body (Conseil National de la Presse - National Council of Media)Growth in the number of independent journalistsFocus on fact-checking and verification by some media outletsSome digital advancementsDifficulty accessing multiple sourcesLack of support among journalistsSalary issuesAccess information Need for transparent media ownershipCensorship and self-censorshipIndependence to write or speak on more topics
LibyaSome developments in publishing and tracking false newsData journalism and science journalism have developed greatlyLack of modern media institutionsLack of open dataSafety and protectionLack of support for modern initiativesLimitations on news coverageTrust from society towards journalists
Sahrawi Arab Democratic RepublicFinancial StabilityImproved incomeIndependent journalists working to deliver transparent informationAbility to deliver accurate and transparent informationPress independence
Republic of TunisiaGreater independence to deal with various topicsDiverse and pluralistic media landscapeFocus on fact-checking, verification, and investigative journalism by digital media outletsAccessibility to enriching workshops Emergence of citizen journalism and mobile journalismNeed to access informationOpen communicationCensorship and self-censorshipFragile financial situation of journalistsOutdated and theoretical journalism curriculum
Islamic Republic of MauritaniaImplementing a new education curriculumIndependence  of pressAccess of informationReligious traditions when in conflict with societal traditions Conditions of employment contracts lack of specialization in media and communication departments
People’s Democratic Republic of AlgeriaChanging and developing study curriculaAddressing fake newsPractical training to prepare aspiring journalistsChallenges in improving journalist services and work environmentChallenge to review media law, especially for digital media

Regarding the support needed, the survey results hold significant implications for the North African media landscape. Survey respondents across the region highlight the diverse support that is already present and the diverse priorities that are needed. For instance, training for media professionals is a significant concern in Algeria, while financial stability is emphasized in Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Independence is a common theme in Egypt, while in Sahrawi, it is important to ensure an independent press system and, on the other hand, safety issues in Libya. The outcomes underscore the significance of needed support, legal frameworks, and collaboration to foster a vibrant and resilient media landscape in the North African region. 

Table 2- Summary of the support present and required across the region.

CountrySupport that is already presentNeeded support
Arab Republic of EgyptOrganization of journalistic competitionsProfessional development trainingsInvitation of foreign expertsFinancial support for media activitiesOfficial supportAssistance in improving and providing the material and technical base of the mediaSocial benefits (housing, favorable loans, etc.)Funding and awareness on more inclusive language and reporting practicesProviding accurate and factual information without fake newsTechnical and financial supportJournalists Independence and safety
Kingdom of MoroccoOrganization of journalistic competitionsProfessional development trainingsInvitation of foreign expertsEnsuring the safety of journalistsImplementation of programs aimed at preserving media transparency  support for independent mediaFinancial support for media activitiesOfficial and public supportCollaboration with peersTraining opportunitiesElectronic support (apps) to reach multiple sourcesFunding opportunitiesTraining on fact-checking, self-regulation, co-regulation, and AI usage in newsroomsWider access to gather informations and facts
LibyaPublic supportEnsuring the safety of journalistsGrants and support for journalism researchOrganization of journalistic competitionsProfessional development trainingsInvitation of foreign expertsImplementation of programs to protect genuine news of the media and support for independent mediaIndependence of journalists and protectionSupport for new initiatives and platforms in the media sectorFinancial support for successful media projectsEnhancing respect for journalistic work
Sahrawi Arab Democratic RepublicFinancial support for media activitiesThe emergence of influential websitesAccess to informationMedia independenceFinancial supportVisibility for independent journalistsRoom for independent journalists to make impact
Republic of TunisiaSocial benefits (housing, favorable loans, etc.)Financial support for media activitiesMoral support for media activitiesGrants and support for journalism researchOrganization of journalistic competitionsProfessional development trainingsInvitation of foreign expertsEnsuring the safety of journalistsImplementation of programs to protect independence news of the media and support independent mediaAssistance in improving and providing the material and technical base of the mediaPublic supportMore training Better financial compenationFinancial sustainability and independenceLegal framework guaranteeing independence of the press and protecting journalistsInternational collaboration and networking
Islamic Republic of MauritaniaSocial benefits (housing, favorable loans, etc.)Public supportMainly trainingImproving employment conditions for media workersFocusing on practical aspects in media education
People’s Democratic Republic of AlgeriaSocial benefits (housing, favorable loans, etc.)Assistance in improving and providing the material and technical base of the mediaFinancial support for media activitiesTraining in various fields of media and communicationHigh-level training by professionals outside the region

Regarding the various trends contributing to the region’s development across the countries of North Africa. In Algeria, efforts are underway to establish a free and independent press, accompanied by proposed legal reforms to safeguard journalists. Egypt is witnessing increased collaborations with pan-African outlets and the adoption of Open Source-Intelligence (OSINT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance reporting accuracy. The media landscape in Libya emphasizes journalist protection, tapping into the untapped potential of the country's youth talent and facilitating access to information. In Mauritania, digital media's rise and the advocacy for freedom of information are shaping the media environment. Morocco is experiencing the growth of electronic news websites, diaspora media influence, integration of AI, and discussions on social and political issues. In Tunisia, trends include the emergence of citizen journalism, data journalism, fact-checking practices, and the important role of social media engagement.

However, there are also challenges that persist and hinder development across the region. Egypt grapples with funding shortages, stakeholder conflicts, language barriers, media dependency, and the need for safe reporting. Libya faces obstacles in terms of journalist protection, financial support, the spread of misinformation, and media dependency. Mauritania's media landscape is influenced by religious conflicts, restricted information access, and a prevailing fear of the press. Morocco deals with ethical concerns tied to news websites, media dependency, changing economic models, and declining media graduates' quality. Furthermore, Tunisia contends with insufficient funding, media dependency, censorship, risks to journalists' well-being, and the widespread dissemination of misinformation. Lastly, the Algeria media's subordination to the government and strict regulatory laws limit press dependence.

This report presents an understanding of challenges, developments, trends, and dynamics within the North African media landscape. By combining the findings from the survey results of media professionals across the North African region with desktop research about the media landscape in North Africa, limitations and directions for future research should be noted. The sample size used in this report comprises only 18 respondents from six different countries, excluding Sahrawi, due to limited access to respondents. This report also leans toward media professionals, where data is more easily collected, unlike media organizations. Future reports may further investigate and delve into the evolving media landscapes, the impact of technology, and the efforts made by media professionals to adapt to changing conditions in North African countries, this will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the media landscape and aid in formulating targeted strategies for supporting and improving journalism in the region. Additionally, future reports can also explore the role of policies, international support, and the overall environment for media in the region using a larger sample.

The presentation on the African Media Landscape: The case of North Africa was presented by Dr Mennatullah Hendawy, Assistant Professor, Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and ACRP North Africa Regional Lead.


Sincere thanks to Muntasyir Al Wafi for his invaluable assistance in the development of this report. Additional thanks to Leyla Eminova, Eng. Hend A. Elhawy, Nitish Kumar, Abdelhadi Alimam, Amal Nagi Ezzat, and Khushi Garg. 


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The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Author:

Dr. Mennatullah Hendawy is an interdisciplinary urban planner working on the intersections of cities, media, and technology toward equity and sustainability. She is an Assistant Professor at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. She is also affiliated with the University of California Santa Cruz, Impact Circles e.V., and the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) gGmbH in Germany, and a recipient of the Africa-China Reporting grants series on Climate Change and the Climate Crisis, 2023.

Hendawy received her Ph.D. in 2021 from the faculty of Planning Building Environment at TU Berlin in Germany, graded: summa cum laude. In her Ph.D., she explored the mediatization of urban development in Cairo as a local yet global case. In 2015, Hendawy completed an MSc. in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design from Stuttgart University with a focus on urban policies. Hendawy holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Department of Urban Planning and Design (class 2012). Hendawy is the Principle investigator of the Urban AI MOOC that is part of the African Cities Lab initiative, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Hendawy is also one of the founding members of Cairo Urban AI, a project working on exploring the potential of using artificial intelligence to develop just and sustainable cities.

Earlier she was a fellow at the Fellowship Program Datafication, European Societies of the European New School of Digital Studies (ENS) at European University Viadrina in Brandenburg, Germany, Orient Institute Beirut. Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, USA, and the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space in Erkner, Germany.

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