This report was developed by Anežka Hlinovská and Nesle de Schutter – two students from the University College Maastricht – within the framework of a research internship at Free Press Unlimited, Amsterdam. The supervisors were Dr Christine Gutekunst and Ms Saskia Nijhof.
The assignment was to re-assess the challenges that independent exiled media are facing, using the research framework of Bill Ristow (2011), developed for a report written for the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), an initiative of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.
Constant efforts of the governments to mute journalists’ voices, cyber-attacks, or permanent online harassment are only some of the problems that media in exile have to face in a digital environment. Digital security is even more pressing, as the Internet is vital to spread the journalists’ work and maintain contact with their audience and sources. Media in exile also experience significant insecurity regarding financial sustainability. Operating as a media in exile is costly, and the available options for generating income suddenly become heavily restricted. Media in exile thus have to rely on donors. Yet, especially for new media, access to donors can be difficult, and the funds tend to be inconsistent, which hinders the outlet’s ability to grow.