US Government Media Assistance Funding Increased in 2016

US government assistance to media freedom and freedom of information around the world rose sharply in 2016, with the largest share of the increase benefiting Europe, Eurasia, the Near East, and South and Central Asia.

According to newly released figures, in 2016 the US Department of State and USAID together allocated approximately $90.2 million to support projects whose overall goal is to strengthen news media ecosystems and promote accountability and transparency. This represents a 37 percent increase from 2015 when $65.4 million was allocated for these efforts.

The funding increase was not equally disbursed across bureaus. Three regional bureaus saw a significant increase in funding levels between 2015 and 2016: Europe and Eurasia (109 percent), the Near East (132 percent), and South and Central Asia (117 percent). Likewise, the Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DHCA) Bureau’s funding increased 71 percent year over year. However, funding for Africa, East Asia and Pacific, the Western Hemisphere, and Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor all fell in 2016.

Media Freedom and Freedom of Information - State Department and USAID Funding by Bureau

BUREAUFY 2013FY 2014FY 2015FY 2016
East Asia and Pacific3,751,8342,711,7766,003,8435,360,000
Europe and Eurasia14,789,41014,588,44512,765,20326,804,300
Near East10,000,00014,999,2299,000,00020,890,000
South and Central Asia1,649,7002,030,8492,597,3215,641,150
Western Hemisphere9,967,1046,243,0003,495,5003,450,000
DCHA - Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance3,489,8163,995,0003,520,0006,040,950
DRL - Democracy, Human Rights and Labor8,866,50017,450,00020,800,00018,550,000

When compared to CIMA’s analysis of donor funding  compiled before this data was made available, it becomes apparent that in 2016 the US government was, in fact, the largest media assistance donor in 2016. The next highest donors included the EU Commission ($80.8 million), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – SIDA ($42 million), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands ($28.7 million). For more of CIMA’s research and analysis of media development donor funding, please visit of Media Development Donors web page.

Daniel O’Maley is the Deputy Editor and Digital Policy Specialist at the Center for International Media Assistance.  Follow him on Twitter at @domaley

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