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USAID Launches New Program to Bolster Investigative Journalism in Europe and Eurasia

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Today, on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching the Strengthening Transparency and Accountability through Investigative Reporting (STAIR) program and building on nearly 15 years of support for investigative journalism in Europe and Eurasia.

This new five year, $20 million program, subject to the availability of funds, will be implemented by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global investigative journalism network. STAIR will support collaborative investigative journalism networks, foster investigative outlets’ organizational and financial viability, and advance proactive, holistic approaches to safety and security.

Investigative journalism is an essential element in addressing the endemic corruption that continues to act as a barrier to the economic and democratic aspirations of the citizens of Europe and Eurasia. Over the past decade, increased awareness of crime and corruption have helped unite citizens across ethnic, age, and geographic divides who seek greater accountability and transparency from political and financial elites.

Investigative journalists, often at great risk to themselves, invest months and sometimes years to conduct complex, transnational investigations that expose how the powerful manipulate financial, regulatory, and legal systems to enrich themselves, corrode democratic institutions, and open the door to foreign manipulation of economies and political processes. Investigative journalism requires a substantial investment of time, effort, and financial resources beyond the reach of most news organizations, many of which already struggle to turn a profit.

USAID’s support, through STAIR, aims to make that investment financially viable, enable cross-border collaboration, and ensure journalists have the tools they need to protect themselves from retaliation.