Omidyar Network has announced a $100 million commitment to tackle the root causes of what it calls a "global trust deficit."
Announced at the 2017 Skoll World Forum, the three-year initiative will focus on strengthening independent media and investigative journalism, tackling misinformation and hate speech, and enabling citizens to better engage with government on critical issues. Initial awards made through the initiative include up to $4.5 million over three years to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a network of more than a hundred and ninety investigative journalists in more than sixty-five countries who work collaboratively to report on global issues such as cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power; last year the group exposed the so-called Panama Papers, a cache of more than eleven million leaked documents revealing offshore business entities linked to fraud, tax evasion, and international sanction evasions.
ON also announced grants to Alianza Latinoamericana para la Tecnología Cívica, for a project launched this year by ON, Fundación Avina, and Avina Americas; and the Anti-Defamation League, which will use the funds to build a state-of-the-art command center in Silicon Valley focused on the growing threat posed by hate online.
The initiative builds on the $220 million that ON has committed over the last decade through its Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative to foster greater government accountability and transparency.
"Across the world, we see a worrying resurgence of authoritarian politics that is undermining progress toward a more open and inclusive society," said Omidyar Network managing partner Matt Bannick. "A lack of government responsiveness and a growing distrust in institutions, especially the media, are eroding trust. Increasingly, facts are being devalued, misinformation spread, accountability ignored, and channels that give citizens a voice withdrawn. These trends cannot become the norm, and we must protect the principles of openness, participation, and accountability. These are the foundations of a healthy democratic society."