Internews, a nonprofit that supports independent media in 100 countries, has launched an ambitious $10 million Risk and Response Fund, a pioneering effort to support journalists and media outlets under existential threat, calling on donors to help meet the target.
Speaking on September 19, 2023, in a special session featuring Secretary Hillary Clinton at the 2023 Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Jeanne Bourgault, President and CEO of Internews, while launching the Fund said: “Every year, from Sudan to Afghanistan, we answer as many urgent pleas as possible, but the scale of attacks against the media continues to grow. We at Internews have unique expertise and access, cultivated over 40 years of work, that allow us to provide a lifeline of support to reporters virtually anywhere, even in the worst circumstances. But we need flexible financial resources to be able to help with the speed that’s needed when a crisis strikes.”
The fund is meant to serve as a pool of resources that Internews can deploy with speed when a crisis strikes. It will also ensure that Internews has unrestricted funds to cover the organizational risks and costs inherent in operating a multinational nonprofit with programs in the places that need information most.
So far, Internews has been able to secure $2.5 million in funding but is now calling on donors to help it meet the $10 million target.
With the funds already raised, Internews has provided urgent support in dire situations including when Russia invaded Ukraine, Internews was the first to deliver flak jackets and other safety equipment to journalists in occupied Kherson; when the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, Internews provided emergency living stipends, flight support, and lodging to evacuate journalists at extreme risk; and when the recent conflict broke out in Sudan, Internews provided urgent support to radio stations in Chad to distribute life-saving information for Sudanese refugees.
At the session on protecting freedom of the press, Secretary Clinton said: “I want to thank you for the commitments to action that are being made in this really important area, particularly Internews with its 10-million-dollar commitment for a Risk and Response Fund.”
In her response, Bourgault said: “Our democracy, our people, and our planet need trustworthy information to survive – and we are immensely grateful to the Clinton Global Initiative for standing with us in our mission to support the truth and those who report it.”
The Clinton Global Initiative, founded by President Bill Clinton in 2005, is a community of doers representing a broad cross-section of society and dedicated to the idea that we can accomplish more together than we can apart. Through CGI’s unique model, more than 9,000 organizations have launched more than 3,900 Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable projects and programs.