Funding report confirms challenging situation for free expression groups
The pioneering research looking into recent trends in free expression funding describes a situation where the majority of IFEX members say they are finding it harder now than five years ago to acquire the basic resources to carry out their work - core funding - and what appears to be a shrinking field of possible donors specifically supporting freedom of expression work. Changing donor priorities, finding a suitable fit with members' work and onerous reporting are just a few of the biggest funding challenges IFEX members face.
As one respondent said, "It's just getting tougher and tougher, especially for core needs. Who will pay the salaries, rent and supplies?"
Dr. Lee Becker, director of the Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia presented the research findings during the six-day conference, organised by IFEX, Fritt Ord (The Freedom of Expression Foundation) and Norwegian PEN.
Sessions held in Oslo with a variety of free expression organisations and donors provided the opportunity to collect ideas and suggestions for possible follow-up work in this area. Ideas included the possibility of surveying donors about their free expression funding, as well as creating mechanisms and opportunities for more frequent and transparent communication between donors and the free expression community.
The research was funded by the Open Society Institute, and conducted by the Cox Center.