25 years of media investing

What we have learned

In 2021 we celebrated our 25th anniversary – a quarter of a century since we provided our first loan to Slovakia’s SME to help it survive the rule of autocratic prime minister Vladimír Mečiar. Read our story and SME’s recollections of that first loan.

Over 25 years, MDIF (or rather, MDLF as we were at the time – we switched ‘Loan’ for ‘Investment’ in 2013) has changed significantly, as have the media companies we work with. It has been an amazing journey and we decided to capture some of the most important things we have learned in a way that sought inspiration from the past but has real relevance to the present.

On this and the following pages, we’re pleased to share some of the lessons we have learned. They include practical insights from team members about helping media develop robust businesses, like the critical questions all media entrepreneurs should ask themselves when launching a startup, as well as lessons relating to how we carry out our work, such as how best to provide media advisory and startup assistance, and wider media environment issues, like the scourge of SLAPPs and legal harassment.

We think this stimulating content from across MDIF is a fitting tribute to 25 years of investing in independent media.

Lessons from 25 years

Here is a collection of articles from our anniversary year that share learnings and insights from across our work.

SAMIP: Innovation in the time of Covid-19

By Bilal Randeree, Program Director for Africa & MENA. In a time of global crisis for independent media, only worsened by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the South…

Strengthening media ecosystems

By Tessa Piper, Program Director for Southeast Asia. In addition to the financial investments that make up the core of MDIF’s work, over the past six years we have been…

The need for constant evolution

By Magdalena Skrzypek, Impact and Communications Manager. For a decade, the media industry has been undergoing one of the most intensive periods of disruption in its history, with rapid technological…

Lessons from India

By Koreel Lahiri, Program Director for South Asia. News media in India is going through a challenging period – both politically as well as business-wise. However, the market is large…