To explore the extent to which our support impacts on client businesses, we evaluate how a given media company's reach, revenues and viability evolve over the course of their involvement with MDIF. For the first time, this year we also present client evaluation of impact, including clients' accounts of how MDIF has impacted on their companies.
In 2018, 92.5 million people received their news from MDIF clients, 51.9 million online and 40.6 million through traditional media, such as TV, radio and newspapers. For the third consecutive year, more people received news from MDIF clients online than through traditional means.
After five years of working with MDIF, client reach increased on average by 191.1% (a median of 33.2%), with a median year-over-year growth rate of 7% (CAGR) over the same period. In mission terms, increased reach means that more individuals have access to quality, independent news. In financial terms, audience growth is critical to the long-term sustainability of the media companies we support.
In 2018, MDIF clients generated $355.2 million in revenues. Revenue leverage – the ratio of total client revenues to the amount we have invested – stood at 1:5.97 in 2018, meaning that each dollar invested by MDIF leveraged $5.97 in client revenues.
After five years of working with MDIF, clients increased their revenues by 218.3% on average (a median of 80.1%), with a median year-over-year growth rate of 16% (CAGR) over the same period. The increase in revenues contributes to the long-term financial well-being of the media we support, which in turn enables high-impact journalism.
In 2018, 76.7% of MDIF loan clients were classified as having low or moderate risk. The median risk rating of our loan portfolio was 5.65, squarely within the moderate risk range on the nine-point scale and consistent with previous years.
In 2018, according to the survey responses of the companies we support, economic and business challenges have posed the greatest risks to their work. The results validate our mission to provide financing that helps independent media companies to provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.
In 2018, 70.3% of MDIF clients agreed or strongly agreed that there had been changes in their company because of their involvement with MDIF. 82.4% of MDIF clients who received capacity building support from MDIF in 2018 agreed or strongly agreed that there had been changes in their company because of that support. 100% of the changes that occurred as a result of the involvement with MDIF or as a result of capacity building support were viewed as positive.
To explore the extent to which the independent media supported by MDIF impact on their societies, we look at their reporting on corruption and accountability, elections and social issues, like the environment, gender, minorities, immigration and LGBT.
In 2018, 92.9% of MDIF clients, declared that their corruption reporting created impact. Institutional changes, such as an official response, hearing, government investigation, reorganization and change in law or policy, were the most mentioned category of tangible effects that followed this crucial journalistic work.
32 Corruption Perceptions Index
PARTLY FREE The World Press Freedom Index
In Poland, leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza broke a story on corruption involving the head of the country’s financial market watchdog KNF who, according to a recorded conversation, sought a multi-million-dollar bribe from a private bank owner in return for lenient treatment for his bank, which was in trouble due to large numbers of non-performing loans. The implicated official resigned and, soon after, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Polish Central Anti-Corruption Bureau started an investigation into the allegations. On the grounds of possible obstruction of justice, the former head of KNF spent two months in detention. Meanwhile, Gazeta Wyborcza faced pressure from the National Bank of Poland (NBP), whose head had recommended the implicated official for the post. NBP sought six injunctions to prevent the publication of media articles implicating its head in the KNF corruption scandal, yet the court rejected all requests.
In 2018, 82.1% of MDIF clients, declared that their accountability reporting created impact. Institutional changes, such as an official response, hearing, government investigation, reorganization and change in law or policy, were the most mentioned category of tangible effects that followed this crucial journalistic work.
0.03 World Bank Voice and Accountability Indicator
PARTLY FREE The World Press Freedom Index
In Ecuador, a series of scandals revealing that sexual violence against children is much more widespread than many people had been willing to acknowledge shook the public. In 2018, digital news company GK published a report that told the story of a child who was sexually abused by his teacher at school. The report detailed negligence by different state institutions including the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, revealing a lack of a systemic response to incidents of sexual abuse of children. After publication, the Director of Communications from the Ministry of Public Health personally praised GK for shedding light on the issue and called for negligent professionals to be held accountable. Moreover, the Ministry of Health modified protocols to improve care for victims of sexual violence and workshops were given to hospital managers to train them on how doctors should report cases where they suspect that there may have been abuse.
In 2018, 39.3% of MDIF clients, declared that their election reporting created impact. Civic changes, such as protests, petitions, community engagement and increased donations to a cause, were the most mentioned category of tangible effects that followed this crucial journalistic work.
-0.08 World Bank Voice and Accountability Indicator
NOT FREE The World Press Freedom Index
In Malaysia, Najib Razak’s coalition was toppled after 61 years in power. Paving the way for the momentous democratic transition was online outlet Malaysiakini. For two decades, the independent news site tirelessly shined the light of truth on Malaysia’s shady politics, despite being raided by police and dragged to court numerous times. Although regulators tried to block access to the site, more than 17 million people, almost 4/5 of the entire adult population of the country, used Malaysiakini or its internet TV channel KiniTV to track the election results on polling day. Pulling together data from various sources, Malaysiakini was the first outlet to conclusively call the election for the opposition. Moreover, a week after the election of Malaysia’s new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, jailed opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison and specifically thanked Malaysiakini for its work and its independent journalism.
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