FACT SHEET: Balkan Media Assistance Program

Project Snapshot

Total Funding:  $7 million
Start Date:  September 2017
End Date:  March 2021
Implementing Partner:  FHI 360 and Internews

The Challenge

Press freedom is under threat in the Balkans. Political-economic interests have captured much of the mainstream media sector through opaque ownership structures, direct state support, and consolidated advertising markets, substantially limiting competition in the media marketplace and the public’s access to objective, balanced reporting. Such a consolidated, captured market, which operates alongside poorly functioning legal protections, further distorts the watchdog role the media should play in society and creates an uneven playing field for independent media. Against this backdrop, support for freedom of expression is needed to ensure that the independent media sector can advocate more effectively as a community and that citizens recognize the value of a free press and demand access to high-quality, fact-based reporting. 

Our Program

USAID’s Balkan Media Assistance Program is making media practitioners in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia more competitive in the local and regional marketplace and strengthening the sustainability of independent media in the region. 

Implementation and Results

The program works with 10 selected media (two per each participating county) as key program partners. In addition to technical assistance and training, the program will have a $2.2 million small grants program for engaging content and for technology investments. The program is designed around three main objectives:

  • Provide outlets and media partners with more substantial and stable resources to operate as viable enterprises.
  • Strengthen the ability of content producers to engage wider audiences and expand reach across the region.

  • Foster stronger partnerships to advance solutions on common challenges in the digital space: In-person collaboration is crucial for developing relationships that support cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial goals. 

  • Strengthen the digital security of at-risk media partners.

Last updated: October 07, 2019

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