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Open Society Foundations;
The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Latvia ended analog terrestrial broadcasting on June 1, 2010, following a flawed process of spectrum allocation, minimal public consultation, and without ensuring that the public understood the process or that the most vulnerable members of society were assured of access to the digital signal.The number of terrestrial television channels has increased with digitization, providing an alternative to cable and satellite. However, experts indicate that switch-over has not raised the quality of television content. With viewers' purchasing power limited, free-to-air TV and low-cost channels along with Russian television programs are offered instead of high-quality foreign content. Digitization has not led to better quality journalism, nor has it increased the volume of original news content.Marginalized groups have gained a public forum on digital platforms, especially on social networks. But there is no evidence that digitization helps to improve the media coverage of those groups. Digitization has offered many tools and opportunities for improved investigative journalism but they are seldom used. Signs of innovative and creative uses of digital media and social networks suggest that digital channels may yet provide a powerful voice for civic activism. But that will require further maturing of civil society.A universal self-regulatory mechanism has eluded Latvian journalists for decades and digitization has done little to improve this. The current legal framework for allocating digital spectrum needs to be revised and the private intermediary provider of free-to-air digital terrestrial services needs to be eliminated. Legal provisions ensuring transparency of media ownership are insufficient and need to be improved.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
Advocates of an economic strategy of "internal devaluation" have recently pointed to Latvia as an example of successful macroeconomic policy. The Latvian economy is projected to grow by four percent in 2011. They argue that the Latvian government, along with the European authorities (including the International Monetary Fund -- IMF), pursued the correct macroeconomic policies by maintaining Latvia's fixed exchange rate and implementing pro-cyclical fiscal policies (that shrunk the economy further) and sometimes pro-cyclical monetary policies. They argue that these were the best policies (as opposed to counter-cyclical, expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, accompanied by devaluation) designed to promote a rapid economic recovery.The data, however, contradict the notion that Latvia's experience provides an example of successful internal devaluation. This paper looks at the Latvian case and provides further evidence that this can be a very costly strategy and one that does not work. The social and economic costs in Latvia were enormous, and the loss of income much greater than most countries that had crisis-driven devaluations. Countries with crisis-driven devaluations also recovered vastly faster, on average, than did Latvia. Furthermore, net exports contributed little or nothing to Latvia's recovery, which seems to have been facilitated instead by the abandonment of pro-cyclical macroeconomic policies. This case study is relevant to the eurozone because current policies there rely at least partly on "internal devaluation" in the weaker eurozone economies for recovery. The risks in the eurozone are even greater because of the financial crisis that has resulted from these pro-cyclical policies.
Open Society Institute;
Reviews the outcomes and lessons learned from the fund's efforts since its creation by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Open Society Institute. Includes grant summary, grantee profiles, and essays by the fund's officers and partners.
This study covers 47 programmes relevant to Roma inclusion in 12 countries, with a focus on the countries with the largest share of Roma (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia). The study included a review of literature and programme documentation, interviews with stakeholders in the focus countries, and online questionnaires and telephone interviews with Donor Programme Partners and authorities in the other countries. The cut-off date for data collection was March 2015.
Open Society Foundations;
Since 2010, the Open Society Think Tank Fund has supported projects that propose new uses of data for advocacy and target non-traditional stakeholders, to develop challenging and complementary information sets for broader application in the policy sphere, and to use data sets to challenge commonly accepted facts in a given policy field. The Fund assisted think tanks with bringing these data sources to light; enhancing their usefulness by expansion, maintenance, and use of this information; integrating such enhancements into their daily routines; and promoting a new culture of presenting policy research findings and thus reaching untapped audiences.The Data Matters presents highlights and successes of projects supported between 2010 and 2013, illustrating how data matters in the everyday lives of citizens of many countries. This portfolio is offered as inspiration for members of NGOs, think tanks, and advocacy organizations who are focusing on using data for informing discussion on policy cha
Open Society Institute;
Explores public policy issues on, motivations for, and scope and impact of private contributions to public education in former Soviet bloc countries. Makes recommendations for payment process, community engagement, and policy to promote accountability.
The EEA Financial Mechanism (2009-2014) have committed € 160,4 million to support seventeen NGO Programmes in sixteen countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain. The overall objective of the EEA Grants NGO Programmes is strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development in each of the beneficiary countries. As of 30 of June 2014, 957 projects in total of € 53,793,561 have been supported mainly in the fields of democracy, citizen participation, human rights, social justice and empowerment, sustainable development and provision of basic welfare services. The mid-term evaluation of the NGO Programmes funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism (2009- 2014) is an independent formative evaluation. Its objective was two-fold: 1) to assess the progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes, and 2) to inform policies for the next financial period. The main purpose of this evaluation was to provide an expert independent mid-term assessment of the contribution of the EEA Grants 2009-2014 to the NGO sectors in the beneficiary states operating NGO Programmes. The evaluation was of dual nature: (1) of a formative evaluation to identify progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes and (2) of a forward oriented strategic review to inform policies for the next financial period.
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL);
This report offers a survey of the fiscal regimes governing nonprofit organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, and proposes areas in which reforms would improve the situation to match international good practice. The countries covered are Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Kosovo, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia.
European Foundation Centre (EFC);
In 2002, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) launched a Research Task Force (RTF), which acted as a clearing house for research on foundations in Europe, collecting data where appropriate. The RTF comprised representatives of European Union-based EFC member foundations and national associations of foundations who often coordinated data-gathering with universities or researchers. The RTF ran two surveys in 2003-5 and 2006-8 to assess public-benefit foundations and provide key data on the scale of the sector across the EU. It also explored some key topics on foundations' regulatory and operating frameworks. This brochure summarises the RTF's findings, reviews the sector's size and economic weight in the EU, and gives general background on where foundation income comes from, who sets up and runs foundations, whether foundations cooperate, who their partners are, whether they develop links with public bodies, and whether they evaluate their actions.
Center for Strategy and Evaluation Services;
The EEA Grants in the current period have been allocated to programmes defined at national level, instead of to individual projects. These programmes have been implemented according to the Regulation and after a process of negotiation between the donors and the European Commission and then between the donors and the beneficiary countries. This negotiation has concerned, first, the Memorandum of Understanding and, second, the specific Programme Agreements. The process of negotiation and of preparing open calls for proposals has taken significantly longer than expected. This has led to severe delays in the allocation of funds and significantly reduced the time available to implement projects. However, there is broad support for the programme-based approach, as it could further improve the strategic focus and simplify the management arrangements. Given the time and effort that has been expended in setting up the programme-based approach, consideration should be given as to whether this approach should be retained for the next period. Stakeholders from the donor and beneficiary countries should consider whether negotiations can be concluded much more easily the second time round and whether programme management capacity can be retained. Where this is the case, the programme-based approach should be continued. There would be potential benefits from extending the end-date for completing expenditure and/or extending the programme period from 5 to 7 years. Monitoring indicators are appropriate, although many outcomes do not easily lend themselves to measurement and quantification. Qualitative reporting therefore remains important alongside monitoring of quantitative outputs.
This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.
Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU University Amsterdam;
This report provides a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the contributions that foundations make to support research and innovation in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. Over the last 25 years, the role of foundations as supporters of research and innovation in Europe has grown significantly in scope and scale. However, the landscape is fragmented and, till now, largely uncharted. Little is known about the vast majority of such foundations, their activities or even their number, and information about their real impact on research and innovation in Europe was very limited. A team of national experts in the EU 27 (and Norway and Switzerland), led by VU University Amsterdam, has therefore been commissioned by the European Commission to study foundations' contribution to research and innovation in the EU under the name EUFORI. This study helps fill this knowledge gap by analysing foundations' financial contributions, and provides useful insights into the different ways they operate. It also identifies emerging trends and the potential for exploring synergies and collaboration between foundations, research-funding agencies, businesses and research institutes.