Former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson and veteran Filipino journalist and activist Maria Ressa will be joining forces to lead a new initiative aimed at supporting independent media outlets and journalism around the world.
As was first reported by Axios, Thompson and Ressa, the founding editor of Rappler, will co-chair the board of the initiative, which will be named the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM).
In explaining the purpose of the fund, IFPIM stated on its website, "In recent years, independent media has faced increasing political attacks, financial challenges, and weakening business models."
IFPIM will aim to increase long-term interest in journalism, combat misinformation and advance press freedom.
"Corruption can be expected to rise. Violent extremism – often fuelled by corruption – finds more fertile ground. Social cohesion is diminished, particularly where media falls into the hands of those who co-opt it to advance their own political or factional agendas. Conflict and instability become more likely," IFPIM's statement read, noting the drastic loss of revenue journalism has seen around the world.
“If you can make people believe your lies, then you can control them,” Ressa said in a statement. "That’s what authoritarians are doing and that’s why it’s so critical we have vibrant independent media in every country, to uncover truth and hold power to account.”
“Fearless reliable journalism from independent media organisations is one of the essential pillars of democracy,” Thompson said.
Having secured an initial sum of $100 million, the organization is seeking to raise at least a billion dollars in additional funding for public interest media globally.
"We are seeking to partner with government, big tech and other private sector companies, development agencies, philanthropists, and others to ramp up their support and funding to public interest media and protect its critical role in our societies," IFPIM stated.
Sheetal Vyas, the founding executive director of the fund, said it would make supporting independent global media "simple, effective and most likely to develop the long term strategies that can address the business model collapse.”