The International Fund for Public Interest Media aims to enable global media markets to work for democracy.
"For the sake of democracy, for our future prosperity and for our citizens’ ability to forge their own destinies, we urgently need a fresh strategy and institutions to protect and advance a free media."
President of Ghana (2001-2009)
In the foreword to IFPIM’s feasibility study (2020)
Around the world, independent public interest media is under threat. Traditional business models, which had been eroding for a decade or more, are beginning to collapse, particularly as sources of advertising revenue shrink and move online. These problems, which are most acute in low- and middle-income countries, were only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through unlocking new financial resources to support public interest media in low- and middle-income countries, the International Fund hopes to address these challenges and forge a sustainable future for global media ecosystems.
The International Fund’s unique structure is designed to enable a broad multilateral coalition to unlock new resources in support of public interest media globally while maintaining the independence of both the Fund and its public interest grantees.
At the 2022 Paris Peace Forum, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna reaffirmed France’s commitment to IFPIM following President Macron’s endorsement of the Fund. France will host the International Fund’s headquarters in Paris and provide up to €15 million EUR in support to the Fund for between 2022 and 2024.
The International Fund is co-chaired by Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and co-founder and CEO of Rappler, and Mark Thompson, former president and CEO of The New York Times Company.
“Globally, only 0.3% of development funds go to media, and independent news groups will need help to survive the next few years of our information dystopia. This is why there is an effort to establish an International Fund for Public Interest Media.”
Co-founder and CEO, Rappler
Pilot funding round
Following significant early resource mobilization and the dire need expressed by media organizations in focus regions, the International Fund announced its inaugural open call for grant proposals at World Press Freedom Day in May 2022. That call resulted in more than 200 funding applications, from which the International Fund’s first cohort of 11 grantees was selected.
Located across eight countries, these initial grantees comprise a broad diversity of organizations in terms of geography, language, editorial content, content distribution platforms, business models, and organizational maturity. The cohort is roughly evenly split across commercial, non-commercial, and hybrid business models. A majority are digital natives, publishing content primarily via their website and/or social media channels, and a little under one–third are primarily broadcast or print media.
Support for the fund
Leading up to its launch, the International Fund had received endorsements from a range of world leaders, including UN Secretary General Guterres, US President Biden, French President Macron, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and former Ghanaian President John Kufuor.
Generous financial support from a range of government, corporate, and philanthropic donors has provided the resources needed to build and launch the International Fund, which will continue to scale up as additional funds are mobilized. To date, IFPIM has received nearly $50 million USD in financial contributions to support its set-up and launch, which is expected in the first half of 2023.
News & Resources
Maria Ressa and Mark Thompson to spearhead global effort to save public interest media
A global initiative to support embattled independent media today announced two renowned media leaders as its founding co-chairs.
Our co-chair Maria Ressa awarded Nobel Peace Prize
The International Fund for Public Interest Media is thrilled by the news that its co-chair, Filipino journalist, Maria Ressa has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Russian journalist, Dimity Muratov.
President Biden announces ‘up to $30 million’ in US support for new global fund to bolster free press as ‘bedrock of democracy’
President Biden announced ‘critical seed money’ for International Fund for Public Interest Media in opening remarks at Summit for Democracy. The independent, multilateral fund aims to avert global extinction crisis for public interest journalism.