Why is independent media important?

Why is independent media important?
Photo: Children's Radio Foundation

Independent news is critical to political, social and economic development. Yet more than 80% of the world – more than 7 billion people – live in countries without a free press, unable to trust the news they read, hear or see.

Independent media provide the news and information that people need to have a say in how their cities, regions and countries are run. They:

  • expose corruption;
  • hold authorities to account;
  • provide a platform for debate.

Studies show that independent media lead to better governance and that reliable, timely information is important in making good economic decisions. But because of their role as a watchdog of the powerful, in many societies critical media are at constant risk of harassment, persecution and closure.

One of the most effective ways for governments to stifle criticism is to starve independent news businesses of finance – news outlets that don’t have capital to grow are condemned to die, unable to compete with competitors subsidised by politicians and their allies. In many countries, the only capital available comes with strings attached: investment in return for editorial influence.

MDIF provides the financing and business support that independent news outlets need to develop financially sustainable businesses, strong and enduring institutions for change that provide objective news and critical comment to people denied reliable information.

Media not only foster peace, justice, and strong institutions through enabling public access to information under SDG 16.10, but they also drive change towards all Sustainable Development Goals and more informed, inclusive and sustainable societies.