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. Yet the best people to speak to about the quality of our support are clients themselves. Thus, we also present client evaluation of impact, including clients' accounts of how MDIF has impacted on their companies.
In 2019, 120.4 million people received their news from MDIF clients, 76.5 million online and 43.9 million through traditional media, such as TV, radio and newspapers. For the fourth 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 187.2% (a median of 32.3%), with a median year-over-year growth rate of 7.2% (CAGR) over the same period. Overall, eight out of ten clients increased or maintained their reach from the beginning to latest year of their relationship with MDIF, while four out of ten doubled their audience or better.
In 2019, MDIF clients generated $441.5 million in revenues. Revenue leverage – the ratio of total client revenues to the amount we have invested – stood at 1:3.83 in 2019, meaning that each dollar invested by MDIF leveraged $3.83 in client revenues.
After five years of working with MDIF, clients increased their revenues by 218.1% on average (a median of 89.2%), with a median year-over-year growth rate of 17.3% (CAGR) over the same period. Overall, seven out of ten clients increased or maintained their revenues from the beginning to latest year of their relationship with MDIF, while three in ten doubled their revenues or better.
In 2019, 80% of MDIF loan clients were classified as having low or moderate risk. The median risk rating of our loan portfolio was 5.75, squarely within the moderate risk range on the nine-point scale and consistent with previous years.
In 2019, according to the survey responses of the companies we support, economic and business challenges posed the greatest risks to their work. The results validate our mission to provide financing and technical assistance that help independent media companies to build resilient businesses.
In 2019, 74.2% of MDIF clients agreed or strongly agreed that there had been changes in their company because of their involvement with MDIF. 95.5% of clients who received capacity building support from MDIF in 2019 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 2019, 86.2% 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.
45 Corruption Perceptions Index
PARTLY FREE The World Press Freedom Index
In Montenegro, national station TV Vijesti broadcast a video showing footage of two officials from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism asking for and accepting bribes in a building permit process. In the video, the inspectors are heard demanding a kickback from a businessman who wants to continue construction of a building in the town of Budva despite the expiration of his permit. The filmed encounter suggests the ministry inspectors are given 5,000 euros ($5,600). Having failed to eradicate this type of behaviour, Montenegro’s minister of sustainable development and tourism resigned after the video was released, telling a press conference that disciplinary proceedings were already under way before the video was leaked, but that no one had been punished. A day later, the two inspectors were arrested after a new procedure against them was initiated.
In 2019, 78.6% 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 Serbia, digital and TV production company Insajder investigated the unreliability of the pension fund’s record system, which often prevents citizens from exercising their right to retire and claim their pension benefits. It described a story of an older citizen, who upon applying for a disability pension discovered that he was not in the system, despite a lifetime of paying contributions. For four years he sought help from the authorities but only after Insajder reported on the injustice did the local Pension and Invalidity Fund office take steps to clarify his situation. Two months later the man officially received a disability pension decision, with his first payment following soon after. Unfortunately, he has not yet managed to claim benefits for the previous four years when he did not receive any pension due to the system error. “Better something than nothing. (...) If it wasn’t for the help of your team I would probably still be out of the system,” said the pensioner to the Insajder journalists.
In 2019, 48.3% 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.
0.29 World Bank Voice and Accountability Indicator
NOT FREE The World Press Freedom Index
In India, 2019 was a busy election year, with multi-phase general elections, local elections and numerous other by-elections taking place. Digital outlet Scroll traveled to Jharkhand where state assembly elections were to be held and where a local protest movement was a major issue during the campaign. The outlet revealed how, as a part of a crackdown on the movement, police filed cases against 10,000 people using a colonial-era sedition law that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Those facing charges were said to be the largest number of people booked for sedition at one time in one district anywhere in India. The day the story broke, a senior advocate cited the Scroll report in a passionate plea before the Supreme Court in another case, warning that the country is “becoming a police state”. Rahul Gandhi of India’s main opposition party also cited a Scroll report, criticizing the government for letting this slip under the radar. Just a day after coming to power the new local government dropped all cases against all the accused, fulfilling its election promise.
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