May 3, 2011, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Omidyar Network announced today the expansion of its Government Transparency initiative to include support of journalism in the developing world. Particular emphasis will focus on organizations that seek a free, open and vibrant media as well as investigative and citizen journalism organizations that provide citizens access to credible information that increases citizen engagement and participation in civil affairs. Stephen King, investment partner and Omidyar Network’s global practice head for Government Transparency, made the announcement at the World Press Freedom Day conference in Washington D.C.
King also announced the first organizations to receive support through the expanded initiative. Nearly $5M in grants and a program related investment will go to four non-profits: African Media Initiative, up to $1.7M over two years; the Sahara Reporters project, up to $450k over three years; Media Development Loan Fund, $2M; and Committee to Protect Journalists, $800k.
Through its Government Transparency initiative, Omidyar Network invests in nonprofit and for-profit organizations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process and hold governments to account. Today’s announcement underscores Omidyar Network’s recognition of the crucial role journalism plays in achieving those ends.
“Omidyar Network believes a healthy government – one that is responsive to its citizens -- requires a healthy, robust fourth estate. By focusing additional efforts on fostering investigative and citizen journalism, we believe we will be catalyzing transparency efforts that will positively affect millions of people,” said King. “True to the tenets of our Government Transparency initiative, we’ll pay particular attention to innovative organizations utilizing technology platforms to scale their impact with a recognition that effective technologies will vary by country and region. In some geographies, the technology will take the form of an online platform, mobile in others, and broadcast in yet others.”
The African Media Initiative is a non-profit, pan-Africa program that seeks to strengthen the continent’s media sector though advocacy, investments, technology and training. The initiative is led by private media owners operating in Africa who believe a strong media is required for social development, economic growth and empowered citizens. For more information, please visit: http://www.africanmediainitiative.org
Sahara Reporters is a citizen media website that encourages citizen journalists to publish evidence of ongoing corruption, abuses of human rights and government malfeasance in Nigeria. It is one of the principal sources of independent investigative journalism and breaking news on Nigeria’s government. For more information about Sahara Reporters, please visit: http://www.saharareporters.com.
Media Development Loan Fund is a mission-driven investment fund for independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression. Working in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Southeast Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the fund provides low-cost capital and technical know-how to help journalists in challenging environments build sustainable businesses around professional, responsible, quality journalism. For more information, please visit: http://www.mdlf.org.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. By publicly revealing abuses against the press and by acting on behalf of imprisoned and threatened journalists, CPJ effectively warns journalists and news organizations where attacks on press freedom are occurring. CPJ publishes articles and news releases; special reports; and Attacks on the Press, the most comprehensive annual survey of press freedom around the world. For more information, please visit: http://www.cpj.org.