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MDIF only provides financing in countries which have been approved by our Board of Directors. On receiving an application from a news outlet in a country in which we have not worked, the Board will decide whether it is a country we can work in after analysing its media, legal and business environments. Only once that has been confirmed will we consider the merits of an application.
To be considered as a qualified beneficiary, a company or an organization applying for MDIF funding must fulfill the following conditions:
- The applicant must have reputation for contributing to the provision of unique, credible, independent news, information or debate in the public interest.
- A significant part of the content produced, delivered or facilitated by the applicant must be (a) news and information (including news reporting, analysis, data, photo-journalism or imaging, audio-visual documentary programming, or similar content), and/or (b) provide a range of political opinions and promote informed societal debate. Such content must be produced, delivered or facilitated with the aim to provide timely, accurate and relevant information and debate that contribute to building a free, thriving society. The applicant must be independent from the government or of any other interest group.
- The applicant must have a record consistent with the fostering of democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, including the rights of women and minorities, and inter-ethnic coexistence.
- The applicant must work in a country (i) with a history of media oppression or ownership concentration, (ii) that is in a state of democratic transition, and/or (iii) suffers from information poverty.
- The applicant must be legally registered according to all applicable laws and must have licenses required by local laws for media of its kind. The Board of Directors may, in extraordinary circumstances, waive this requirement.
- The applicant must have been in operation for a sufficient period of time to be able to demonstrate the quality of produced content and the ability to repay the financing, preferably for at least a year. The Board of Directors may, in compelling circumstances, waive this requirement.
- Notwithstanding anything above to the contrary, MDIF’s Digital News Ventures subsidiary may invest in experimental digital products and businesses, including start-ups, anywhere in the world that contribute to the provision of independent information in the public interest.
- No part of the applicant may be owned by the government or any state agency, a foreign legal entity or any political or economic interest. The Board of Directors may waive this restriction with respect to an applicant where the level and nature of such ownership do not put the applicant’s editorial independence in question. If, during the life of a PRI, the ownership structure of the beneficiary changes in a manner that incorporates any government or state agency or any foreign legal entity, the Board of Directors may decide to accelerate the repayment of the loan and/or equity exit.
- The applicant must demonstrate that it could not obtain adequate financing from commercial sources on an economically feasible basis, or that it could do so only under conditions that would threaten its editorial independence.
- The applicant must have a capable and responsible management and must apply for funding with a detailed business plan. The plan must aim to broaden and strengthen the applicant’s operation, must have strong prospects that the loans will be repaid and/or invested capital recovered, and should have the goal of turning the applying organization into, if not a profitable, then at least a self-sustaining entity. The applicant must also agree to provide MDIF with unrestricted access to its accounting records.
While MDIF favors locally based and owned companies or organizations, MDIF may consider on a case-by-case basis making PRIs to companies or organizations that are not locally based or owned. MDIF may also consider making PRIs to associations of companies or organizations that meet the above criteria as qualified beneficiaries or to other companies and/or organizations that provide media assistance or provide tools, platforms and/or infrastructure that support the operations of qualifying companies or organizations. However, before considering such PRIs, MDIF must obtain the specific approval of the Board of Directors.