GFMD AND OCCRP WORK TOWARDS ESTABLISHING FUND FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

On April 5th, The Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) hosted a working meeting on the potential establishment of a fund for investigative reporting at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. As background research for the meeting, Anya Schiffrin and Ellen Hume prepared a report “Creating a Global Fund for Investigative Journalism” to explore some untapped revenue sources and to outline potential mechanisms for the distribution of funds in order to bring more funding into investigative journalism.

The fund for investigative reporting initiative was developed in response to the unique challenges faced by investigative journalism – namely, it is expensive, does not scale easily, requires a lot of time to develop, and is not easy to do. Annual investment in media development is currently estimated to make up only 0.4% of global overseas development aid (ODA). In numbers, this amounts to 400-600 million USD. Of this, only 3-5% goes to investigative journalism, i.e. approximately $30 million USD. The participants of the working meeting estimated that annual ODA spending on media should be increased to 1 billion USD to meet urgent needs. The aim of the meeting, and the initiative in general, is to locate and establish alternative revenue streams for investigative journalism while still ensuring that it does not undermine its independence or cause conflict with existing investigative journalism funders.

During the meeting, BBC Media Action’s Director of Policy and Learning, James Deane, briefed participants on his current efforts toward a feasibility study on the establishment of a Global Fund for Public Interest Media. A global fund would be an efficient way of supporting media institutions around the world and would source revenue from non-traditional donors. The Global Fund for Public Interest Media is meant to be a comprehensive approach with three arms: an investigative journalism arm; an international media support arm; and a national-level media arm. GFMD and OCCRP aim to work together with BBC Media Action to avoid potential overlap and duplication of their respective initiatives.

Having brought together key stakeholders from across the media development, donor, finance, and investigative journalism communities, the meeting has provided a valuable starting point in GFMD and OCCRP’s efforts to promote the initiative and to continue working to increase funding dedicated to investigative reporting on a global level. GFMD and OCCRP intend to present the initiative at the 11th Annual Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Hamburg, Germany from September 26th to 29th.

If you are interested in the initiative, get in touch by contacting coordinator@gfmd.info.