Investment Profile

Media Development Investment Fund

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The Media Development Investment Fund advances affordable debt financing to independent media companies that provide news and information and foster debate.
A group of people at desks watching a presentation
Participants in the Media Development Investment Fund’s South Africa Media Innovation Program develop work on audience and revenue generation. Courtesy Media Development Investment Fund/SAMIP
Investment size $1.9M
Type Indirect
Geography Global
Sector Media
Date 2016

Theory of Change

Investment in the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) was made with a view to addressing the deficit of funding faced by small, independent media organizations in many parts of the world.

Challenge and Context

Independent news is critical to political, social and economic development. Yet almost seven billion people—some 85 percent of the world’s population—live in countries without a free press, unable to trust the news. 

Independent media companies provide the news, information and debate that are essential for free and thriving societies. Yet particularly in countries where dominant media companies are closely aligned with the government, independent outlets often struggle to get access to the funding they need to expand and compete.

Proposition

MDIF has invested in independent media outlets around the world for more than 25 years. The Fund provides affordable debt and equity financing, supported by tailored technical assistance and advisory services, to help independent media thrive and safeguard their editorial independence.

Impact

The provision of financing will enable media organizations to expand their reach and safeguard them from takeovers by major competitors and/or parties without a commitment to independent media.

To date:

  • An estimated 130 million people receive news from MDIF clients
  • MDIF currently funds 45 media outlets in 25 countries

Why SEDF?

The Open Society Foundations have supported independent journalism since first giving grants in post-Communist East and Central Europe in the early 1990s. SEDF’s investment in MDIF reflects Open Society’s continued deep commitment to the field.