Are Punchlines the New Front Lines of Media Development?

CIMA Digital Report by Dillon Case and Kevin Bleyer issued on August 10, 2020


Satirical comedy is uniquely effective in its ability to bolster media development objectives. Through its ability to attract audiences and provide news commentary in an entertaining way, it can be used as an important tool to promote freedom of expression, foster accountability and transparency, counter disinformation, strengthen media literacy, and support more sustainable business models for media outlets.

Donor funded satire news and current affairs programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kenya, North Macedonia, Nigeria, Serbia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe demonstrate the format’s ability to advance these objectives, and make the case for greater integration of satire in international media assistance programs.

– By combining the core tenets of professional journalism with comedy, satire news offers a unique avenue for bolstering media literacy and creating demand for independent information.
– In restrictive media environments, satire news can often operate more freely than more traditional independent news outlets due to their overt comedic intent.
– Satire media offer a potential pathway to sustainability for media organizations due to the format’s broad appeal and potential to reach large audiences, including hard to reach news audiences.

Read the full report on CIMA website.