Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 04/2013

U.S. Government Funding for Media: Trends and Strategies

Peter Cary

March 2013

National Endowment for Democracy


U.S. government support for international media development is declining. Spending by the Department of State and USAID for media freedom and freedom of information programs has dropped 43.5 percent in the past five years–from $135 million in Fiscal Year 2008 to approximately $76.3 million in FY 2012, according to figures supplied by the State Department. This trend and others related to U.S. government support for media development are the subject of this report, which analyzes how U.S. government grant making for media assistance has changed over time and looks at possible reasons those changes have occurred. The data underpinning the report is drawn from two main sources: the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assistance Resources, which tracks allocations for foreign aid, and from an in-depth examination and analysis of grant proposals solicited by the U.S. government over the past five years containing at least one media development component.