New Report: Are Donors Taking the Journalism Crisis Seriously?

Washington, D.C. — As crises unfold around the world, the importance of a free and independent global media sector is increasingly apparent. However, a new report by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy found that despite greater global awareness of media freedom as a cornerstone of democratic development, the world’s major democracies committed just 0.3 percent of official development assistance to support media freedom, pluralism, and independence from 2010-2019.  

Are Donors Taking the Journalism Crisis Seriously? An Analysis of Official Aid to Media 2010–2019, by Mary Myers, independent media development researcher, and Heather Gilberds, CIMA’s deputy director, analyzes a decade of foreign assistance allocated to support independent media among members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.  

The report finds that DAC donors provided between $300 million and $400 million annually to the media sector out of the roughly $200 billion per year of official development aid. The amount stands in sharp contrast to what is spent on other sectors, such as health, which received over $20 billion per year between 2014-2018.  

“The amount of aid allocated to independent media does not begin to address the enormity of challenges the sector faces,” Gilberds said. “The world’s established democracies must make more robust and sustained financial commitments to advance the transformational agenda needed to save independent journalism.” 

In addition to investigating what major donors have allocated to media development between 2010-2019, Myers and Gilberds highlight current and future commitments through interviews with several development agencies. Several bilateral donors affirmed that support to independent media and the free flow of information is a priority in the face of declining press freedom and deepening polarization in countries around the world. 

Read more on CIMA’s website. 



The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy works to strengthen support for independent media development throughout the world. The center conducts analysis, builds networks, and publishes action-oriented research reports that aim to bolster the effectiveness of media assistance and highlight the indispensable role independent media play in the creation and development of sustainable democracies.  


The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation dedicated to the development and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. With an annual appropriation from Congress, NED funds more than 2,000 grants in 100 countries. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studies; the World Movement for Democracy; and the Center for International Media Assistance. 


Christine Bednarz, Director of Communications;; +1-202-200-6872