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Promoting Free Expression in Angola

Organisation: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)

Status: Closed

  • Grant
  • Freedom of expression

Funding Size: Up to $2,250,000

Deadline: 23/02/2024

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    – DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
    – Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs.
  • Type of funding: Programmatic
  • Target countries: Angola
  • Application language: English

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that support free expression in Angola.


To respond to this challenge, DRL is seeking proposals to protect and promote free expression in Angola. DRL’s goal is that Angolan citizens have increased access to diverse and independent sources of information, which will contribute to the country’s democratic opening. In support of this goal, programs should work towards the following programming objectives:

  • Objective 1: Independent media in Angola has the skills and resources to produce fact-based reporting. Angola’s existing independent journalists and media outlets face a host of challenges. The cost of licenses for new stations effectively prohibits newest entrants, and it can be difficult for outlets to attract ad revenue from businesses who wish to maintain good relations with the state. Interventions to respond to these challenges should center around strengthening the institutional strength and financial viability of journalists and media outlets to operate. Approaches can build investigative journalism networks, invest in the next generation of reporters and editors, improve newsroom management and financial viability; and support the production and dissemination of high-quality journalism. Applicants should ensure robust activities outside of Luanda, where independent outlets are most lacking.
    As most Angolans receive their news from radio, applicants should ensure part of this outreach focuses on building partnerships with radio stations to improve their journalism, management, and communication with the communities they serve. To invest in future generations of journalists, applicants may propose partnerships with universities to strengthen the quality of journalists.
  • Objective 2: Journalists in Angola are better equipped to protect themselves, both physically and online. Journalists also face a host of more direct threats to their safety. In recent years this has included reports of office break-ins and physical intimidation. While the growth of online media has been a positive development, it has also been met with cyber tactics to silence voices, such as hacking of websites and computers. Applicants should design interventions around developing and advancing proactive, holistic approaches to safety and security support for journalists. Activities should focus on improving overall situational awareness and the basic digital hygiene of members of the press, while ensuring they are able to recognize and plan for on and offline attacks. Activities can also include legal assistance and psychosocial support. Proposed approaches should employ best practices in digital safety, including ensuring digital training uses a whole community approach, and as much as possible, conducted at the organizational level in a way that is not individual-staff-dependent.
  • Objective 3: Angola’s legal framework and regulatory environment for press freedom ensures that the media is free to publish without fear of repercussion. While Angola’s constitution provides for freedom of expression, including for members of the press, many legal and procedural barriers remain to media independence. Licensing fees for new outlets are prohibitively expensive and libel laws favorable to the plaintiff make it possible to silence outlets that report on topics such as governance, corruption, and human rights abuses. Activities under this objective should work towards reforming the legal and regulatory environment to better allow for independent voices in the press. DRL understands that reform is a political, as well as technical, challenge. As such, applicants are encouraged to focus on building an inclusive and broad-based coalition that can produce feasible legal and operational reforms to the media sector. Applicants may propose specific areas – potentially illustrative during the proposal stage – for reform. Applicants should demonstrate a realistic understanding of the political and legal environment, even if that means some goals might not be feasible in the life of the project.
    Activities can include identifying shared reform priorities among citizens, journalists, media owners, and other stakeholders; conducting advocacy campaigns and dialogue sessions around potential reforms; providing technical assistance in drafting necessary reforms; strategic litigation; and providing technical assistance in implementing any new reform agenda, including conducting trainings for judges or officials on any new policies and procedures.

Applicants are encouraged to take a holistic approach to reform, working through the executive, National Assembly, journalism schools, the business community, and civil society, to build a framework for increased media independence. DRL does not expect applicants to have existing relationships with these institutions but should demonstrate the ability to build them during the life of the project.

Funding Information

  • Total Funding Floor: $2,250,000
  • Total Funding Ceiling: $2,250,000
  • Type of Award: Grant or cooperative agreement
  • Period of Performance: 24-36 months
  • Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 6 months

See here to learn more and apply.

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