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Media Development Investment Fund

Overview

Media Development Loan Fund is a non-profit mission-driven investment fund for independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression. We provide low-cost capital, solutions, and know-how to help journalists in challenging environments build sustainable businesses around professional, responsible, quality journalism.

In many developing countries, independent news organizations are starved of affordable finance – accepting credit usually means compromising editorial independence. MDLF provides resources that empower its clients to make the most of their dedication to objectivity and accuracy, building solid businesses around the core values of independent journalism.

Mission

Media Development Loan Fund seeks to secure a strong and independent press in countries with a history of media oppression. Through low-cost capital, in-depth training and long-term advice and support, it helps news outlets committed to responsible journalism become commercially sustainable and able to promote accountability and fight corruption.

History

MDLF brings more than 10 years of experience in providing loan finance to developing independent news businesses. From 1996 to December 31, 2008, MDLF has:

• Financed 184 projects for 69 independent media companies in 23 countries
• Provided $74 million in low-cost financing
• Collected $8.5 million in interest and dividends
• Written off only 2.2% of total loans invested.

MDLF ended December 2008 with a $36 million portfolio of outstanding loans and investments.

Program

At work in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the CIS, and the Balkans, MDLF provides media companies with the financing they need to strengthen and grow without compromising their editorial independence. With the printing presses, transmitters, and production studios they purchase with MDLF loans, courageous journalists build news organizations that can challenge state-controlled media and empower their audiences with independent and objective news and information. MDLF supports each loan and investment with intensive financial monitoring, on-going advice, specialized consulting, management training and technology assistance. This special relationship allows news outlets to develop in ways that would otherwise be impossible.

MDLF maintains a segregated, revolving pool of funds for its loans and investments. Loan repayments are recycled through the pool to provide financing for other news businesses.

Impact

In 2007, nearly 29 million people in developing democracies got their news from 30 MDLF clients.
After five years with MDLF, current clients on average have increases their sales by 327 percent.

In 2007, 31 clients generated nearly $166 million in sales.

In 2007, after five years with MDLF, current clients on average have increased their readers, listeners, or viewers by 43 percent.

For every $10,000 invested in 2007, MDLF supported access to independent news for 7,952 readers.

CEO

 

Sasa Vucinic has been managing director of MDLF since co-founding it in 1995. Previously, he worked in Prague as a media consultant to the Soros Foundations. In that position, he designed and oversaw projects assisting independent media organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. From 1990 to 1993, Mr Vucinic was the editor-in-chief and general manager of Radio B-92 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia's most important and respected independent radio station. He began his journalism career as a reporter at the weekly political newsmagazine Non, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief.

Board

Kenneth Anderson (Chairman), Professor of Law, American University Law School, Washington, DC.
Annette Laborey, Executive Director, Open Society Institute, Paris.
Gerald Nagler, Founder, Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute.
Alexander Papachristou, President, Near East Foundation.
Bernard Poulet, Chief Editor, L'Expansion.
John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology, Bard College, New York, and Chair of the Rift Valley Institute, UK/Kenya.
Sasa Vucinic, Founder and Managing Director, MDLF.

 

Countries 

Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Bolivia, Nepal, Senegal, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, India, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Malawi, Paraguay, Peru, Somalia, Venezuela

States 

New York

Contact

37 West 20th Street
Suite 801
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 807-1304
www.mdlf.org
EIN: 13-4052259


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