Annual Report 2023
A Radio Ndeke Luka correspondent working in the studio of local radio partner Zereda in the Central African Republic. Gwenn Dubourthoumieu / Fondation Hirondelle.

Embracing the media sector transition

In a world where democracy is losing ground and misinformation is spreading faster than reliable information, implementing the human right to information requires increased media literacy. Fondation Hirondelle is adapting its operations to this new media landscape.

The media are key players in social transformation. They have a major role to play in the exercise of democracy, in crisis situations and, of course, in the ecological transition. Today’s audiences expect solutions-based journalism, and the media sector is seeking to reinvent itself, if chaotically. Yet information fatigue, a crisis of confidence among citizens in their institutions, especially the media, and inequalities in the use of new technologies are increasing worldwide.

It is estimated that around 70% of the world’s population lives under a regime with autocratic tendencies, and in this record election year with more than half of humanity called to the polls, this proportion could be revised upwards. In 2023, the Centre for Strategic Studies on Africa (US Department of Defence) found 189 documented disinformation campaigns on the African continent, almost four times as many as the previous year. These carefully crafted campaigns poured millions of intentionally false and misleading messages into online social spaces aimed at the continent.

The right to information must be considered as a collective good, necessary to any healthy society, and cannot be monetized based on numbers of views and clicks. In the digital age, governed by the “attention economy”, the right to information includes not only support for independent media and access to public information, but also good use of public information. Media education to help people distinguish truth from falsehood has become a necessity on a global scale. It is in this new media environment that Fondation Hirondelle is today adapting all its operations.


Diversification of funding sources

In the countries where we operate, the biggest challenges facing the media sector remain financial viability, political will to ensure media freedom and independence, and local ownership of media development. For almost three decades, Fondation Hirondelle has been supporting independent and public service media and contributing to their sustainable development in complex contexts. We create or support income-generating structures and activities that contribute to the sustainability of these media.


The crisis of confidence between Benin’s population and its media is deep and complex. Commissioned by the Swiss Cooperation department in Benin, Fondation Hirondelle carried out an analysis of the country’s media landscape in 2023.

According to this analysis, the media are often perceived as favouring certain political parties or economic interests. This polarization fuels public distrust, with many journalists regularly pointing to a lack of ethics and rigour. Fake news is widespread, further undermining public trust in traditional media. Public media have a reputation for being controlled by the government and attempts to censor and repress independent media reinforce perceptions of manipulation of information. The media also face major economic challenges, with limited resources and financial insecurity compromising their independence and ability to conduct investigative and critical journalism.

To overcome this crisis of confidence, it is essential to promote transparency, independence and ethics in the media, as well as strengthen the diversity of voices and perspectives. Fondation Hirondelle’s initiatives to support and strengthen Benin’s media began in 2024.


The Burundi media support programme, implemented in partnership with NGO Radio La Benevolencija, and funded by the European Union, ended in 2023. It benefited 10 media outlets and 3 local associations, including the Association Burundaise des Femmes Journalistes (AFJO), the Association Burundaise des Radio-diffuseurs (ABR) and YAGA (a bloggers’ collective).

Assessments and exercises in capitalizing on experience have enabled us to verify results achieved, particularly in terms of building the capacity of Burundian journalists and media professionals to produce and broadcast reliable, pluralist information in a professional and inclusive manner.


AfFondation Hirondelle and Tribal News Network (TNN), its media partner in Pakistan, conducted the “Media to support flood response and information to affected populations in Pakistan” project, as part of the humanitarian response to flood-related emergencies. This training, coaching and content production programme, supported by H2H Network, ended in April 2023. The training courses benefited nearly 70 journalists from various types of media, mainly correspondents from the affected areas. This training was conducted in three languages: English, Urdu, and Pashto.

A Radio Ndeke Luka listener keeps up to date through various social media media. Adrienne Surprenant / Collectif Item.
A Radio Ndeke Luka listener keeps up to date through various social media media. Adrienne Surprenant / Collectif Item.