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NOFO: DRL Strengthening Independent Media

NOFO: DRL Strengthening Independent Media

Deadline: 10-Jul-24
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for a project to strengthen independent media’s ability to increase access to objective and quality information in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region.

Independent media outlets and journalists in the EAP region are operating under an increasingly restrictive environment. Governments and malign actors seeking to tighten control over available information and public discourse have overseen a deterioration in the protection of fundamental freedoms and access to information across the region. Leaders have passed and amended legislation repressing press freedoms to silence critical voices and have weaponized laws and regulations to restrict and criminalize freedoms of expression.  Further, the region is home to some of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists. In these countries, governments have pursued policies of media’s mass imprisonment, and in some cases systemic torture.GRAB YOUR EBOOK NOW

Impactful Small Grants for Development Initiatives

To address the closing space for freedom of expression, DRL seeks proposals that will provide financial and technical assistance to small and medium-sized media outlets to strengthen their ability to safely produce and disseminate accurate information to audiences in the Asia Pacific. The goal of this project is to support the independence of regional journalists and media outlets to increase access to information within the domestic and regional media ecosystems.

Mis- and disinformation, often promoted by malign actors, further undermine the media environment and access to quality information. These trends have resulted in a restricted and hostile operating environment for independent media and civil society organizations in the Asia Pacific.

Funding Information
  • Total Funding Floor: $100,000
  • Total Funding Ceiling: $200,000
  • Anticipated Number of Awards: 2
  • Period of Performance:  18-24 months
Project Activities
  • Illustrative project activities could include:
    • Enhance independent journalists and media outlets’ ability to produce timely, ethical, and fact-based reporting on the region’s political, economic, and social developments through technical and financial assistance.
    • Strengthen civil society and journalists ability to more readily identify and report on mis- and disinformation narratives as well as legal restrictions to freedoms of expression.
    • Continue to support existing efforts, tools, and creative opportunities used by local journalists to share credible information with regional audiences.
    • Develop business development strategies to ensure media outlets can sustain independence in the face of increasing repression.
    • Provide digital and physical security training and resources, as well as psychosocial support and legal aid to journalists and civil society supporting freedoms of expression;
Ineligible Activities
  • Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:
    • The provision of humanitarian assistance;
    • English language instruction;
    • Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
    • Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
    • External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
    • Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary per security concerns;
    • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
    • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
    • Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.
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 prefer 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. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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