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For funders working inside of hostile nations, sometimes the only solution is to leave

When the board of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) decided in spring 2018 to close its operation in Hungary, many local activists and NGOs were outraged, asserting that the charity— endowed by philanthropist George Soros—should stay and fight the populist, immigrant-bashing government of prime minister Viktor Orban. OSF’s decision to leave was prompted by the […]

A holistic approach to operational and digital security

A shrinking civic space and advanced technological means of attacking, surveilling, and silencing critics should concern all those who support civil society and other development objectives, and especially those who work with independent, investigative and community news organizations. According to Reporters without Borders’ 2018 report, “The climate of hatred is steadily more visible… The line […]

Lessons from citizen journalism—the promise of citizen philanthropy

More than a decade ago, a set of smart technologists predicted that social change would spring directly from the crowd, rather than managed by formal organizations controlling what gets done and by whom. How right they were. Today, technology is giving people access to systems and institutions that allow them to connect, communicate, and engage […]

Funding media freedom and digital rights: Taking a demand-driven approach to facilitate coordination and collaboration

Over the past decade, the challenges facing media funders have expanded at an alarming pace. It has now become hackneyed to note the vast changes wrought by the rapid global proliferation of the internet and communication technologies: from the crisis of disinformation and misinformation to decreased readership of traditional news providers to the Orwellian-seeming surveillance […]

Coalition-building as an approach to media development

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last two decades of international development, it’s that politics matter, yet this lesson has not been fully assimilated into the media assistance sector. In governance, health, education, and nearly every other area, there is a growing recognition that durable solutions to the world’s problems need to get […]

Pulitzer Center support for regional reporting in Africa

The Pulitzer Center’s primary mission since its founding in 2006 has been to raise awareness of underreported global issues, with a focus on reaching U.S. news audiences through American media outlets and leveraging that in-depth reporting to teach students in K-12 schools and universities. As a nonprofit run by accomplished journalists, we award grants based […]

I have nothing against philanthropy

Not to be misunderstood: It is wonderful if an ailing media house that has missed out on the challenges of digitalization and changing consumer-habits is saved from bankruptcy. It is beautiful if an online-only start-up, like the Premium Times in Nigeria, gets funding from Bill Gates, George Soros and others. But how long can media […]

It’s time to rethink philanthropy journalism in East Africa

If we consider that journalism is about freely exchanging information based on news, views or ideas, then the context within which journalism is practised matters. In East Africa, this context is challenging. Intimidation and harassment of journalists is rife. Critical media outlets are being shut down on flimsy grounds and others starved of government advertisement. […]

Things we don’t talk about (but should): An open letter to media funders

Next week, several hundred people from national, community, and place-based foundations, as well as newsrooms and other nonprofits, will come together at the Knight Media Forum in Miami. The conference focuses on philanthropy’s role in strengthening local news and information, which is essential for healthy communities and a vibrant democracy. We believe there’s an important conversation missing […]