In these regions, independent media face constant pressure from various internal and external sources, the ministry noted.
The U.S. Department of State announced a grant for $3,496,295 to “strengthen regional media in Europe and Eurasia.” The corresponding written statement was distributed by the press service of the Foreign Ministry.
“Throughout Europe and Eurasia, independent media face constant pressure from various internal and external sources who seek to manipulate and/or control the media information picture in their interests. Independent publications often struggle in isolation from others facing similar problems, both within one country and beyond its borders,” the statement says. According to the Department of State, the pressure exerted on the media may “limit the ability of an independent press to provide accurate reports.”
The document states that “with a full understanding of the current situation in Ukraine,” the goal of the program is “to support a strong independent media sector in the region, resistant to the interests of influential parties seeking to manipulate, isolate or control the press.”
The allocated funds will be used to “improve the quality of international content production and contextualization of national messages taking into account regional perspectives, as well as increase the level of communication between the media and the audience in the target countries”, “production and distribution on platforms of high-quality and reliable content that addresses issues important to local communities and counteracts disinformation”.
In addition, the Department of State indicated, the proposals may also include “support for the development of new and/or improved online and mobile platforms that offer multimedia features that enhance interactivity and communication with audiences at the local level and in different countries.” As a result of this program, according to the Department of State, regional media “should become reliable sources of information, establish strong ties with the communities they serve, increase their share in the market of ideas, as well as strengthen international cooperation and exchange of high-quality content between independent media in the region.”
The eligible countries include, in particular, Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine and the South Caucasus region. At the same time, the proposals should include at least five countries covering several regions of Europe and Eurasia, and $ 1.2 million from the grant should be allocated for work in Central European countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia). The duration of the grant program should not be less than 24 months.