13:22 May. 27, 2016
Forbes journalist investigates origins of funding of the Ukrainian mass media outlets
The best way to raise funds for a media project in Ukraine? Go full-bore anti-Russia to easily woo North American and European governments to give you money.
Kiev-based Hromadske.TV is the symbol of the info wars between Moscow and the Western world, a war that the West claims it is losing to the big guns in Moscow. So worried are the Europeans, Canadians and Americans that the Russians are beating them at their own game –the sexy world of news and entertainment — that they're funding the company.
According to their financial report for the year ending 2015, they have nearly a dozen foreign backers. Some long term, some more fly-by-night.
Who are they? They are the Canada International Development Agency (CIDA); the Embassy of The Netherlands in Ukraine; another Canadian charity called the Ukrainian World Foundation; independent DC-based Pact World; the U.S. Embassy of Ukraine's Media Development Fund; California based Internews Network; Swiss Cooperation Office and the Swiss International Development Agency; eBay EBAY +0.37% founder Pierre Omidyar's fund is one of the four biggest donors; the Swedish International Liberal Center; Thomson Foundation; the German Embassy of Ukraine and the biggest funder of all, the European Commission's Ukrainian delegation office.
The U.S. is the smallest donor while European and Canadian government backed agencies are the biggest.
Many of the donations are harmless funds from organizations like Pact and Thomson that train young reporters. But donations from the European Commission are a particularly interesting reveal given the anti-Russian government news flowing coming out of Hromadske.