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Central Asia Media Program (CAMP)
Since the 1990s, USAID has played a critical role in supporting the development of independent media in Central Asia through building basic technical and professional capacity and helping media leaders obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to participate in their countries’ governance systems and policy development processes. Throughout the last two decades, USAID made significant efforts to support the media sector as broadly as possible.
USAID’s work in the media sector has revolved around increasing the availability of credible, trusted information on critical social, economic, and political issues throughout Central Asia, and enhancing technical skills and institutional capacities of independent media outlets in the region. This has been done through a mix of locally-driven media production, content distribution, professional development for journalists, and media advocacy.
While Central Asian governments have pledged to support the development of free and independent media, the political and operational environment remains volatile and challenging with nuances from country to country. However, despite some improvements in the sector, it is still difficult for media outlets in Central Asia to be self-sustaining. Government control and struggling economies, together with an absence of healthy competition, make it nearly impossible for media to run efficiently or profitably.
Populations’ disengagement from the civic sphere and a general loss of interest in public affairs, or even just participation in community governance, plays a crucial role in hindering media’s ability to ensure that citizens are well informed about the actions and performance of government institutions and officials, and that citizens have the means to freely influence public policies. Individuals and groups prefer not to question the authorities and employ self-censorship to avoid harassment. The widespread narratives against “universal” concepts like democracy and human rights on local and Russian TV also contribute to a sense of impotence. In addition to these external factors, media as a tool to advance these concepts struggle to build popular support for democracy and lack vital constituency engagement skills, rarely going beyond familiar circles and oft-used methods. (This activity will include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan will only participate in regional activities as appropriate.)
Deadline: June 8, 2018
Subject to funding availability, USAID intends to provide up to $15,000,000 in total USAID funding over a five year period. The ceiling for this program is $15,000,000. Actual funding amounts are subject to availability of funds. USAID intends to award one Cooperative Agreement pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. USAID reserves the right to fund any one or none of the applications submitted.