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About Us

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


New York


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

A Gift Card

Empower Journalists

Loans for free media

Your gift will go into our loan pool to help independent journalists buy printing presses and broadcasting equipment. In eastern Russia, the state monopoly printing house tried to force the independent daily Yakutsk Vecherny out of business by charging inflated prices and banning issues that criticized the authorities. When it finally refused to print the newspaper at all, and with the next printing house more...


Empower the Press

Loan for a printing press

Your gift will go into our loan pool to help independent publishers buy printing presses and printing equipment. In 1996, SME was Slovakia’s only independent daily newspaper when it received MDLF’s very first loan. SME was barred from every printing house in the capital Bratislava but with MDLF financing it bought its own printing press and broke the government's control over what news the public...


Share Solutions

Peer-to-peer support

Your gift will pay for a media leader to spend one day with a colleague who has found a solution to a common problem. For example, independent publisher Altapress from the Siberia region of Russia helped Krestyanin newspaper in Rostov-on-Don develop a publishing structure that provided it with a solid economic foundation from which to grow. In return, Altapress drew inspiration from Krestyanin’s editorial innovations...


Plan For the Future

Business development

Your gift will provide a leading journalist with one hour of one-on-one consultancy with a specialist analyst to produce a business plan for their company. Working on a business plan not only helped Mail & Guardian in South Africa plan for the future, it also helped it identify newspaper distribution as a problem that had to be addressed. As Financial Director Hoosain Karjieker said: “The...


Spread the Word

News for 36 people

Your gift of $50 can provide 36 people in a transitional country with access to independent news for one year*. MDLF financing helped the journalists who founded elPeriodico, Guatemala’s leading source of investigative journalism, buy back majority ownership of the paper from a large media group, narrowly averting a loss of control. With MDLF’s help, they transformed the daily into a viable, stand-alone company while...