Office of Internet Freedom
Since 2002, USAGM has been involved in activities to circumvent internet censorship by foreign governments in order to distribute news content and better provide a forum for free expression in closed societies. This portfolio has since grown to be an increasingly critical component of the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
USAGM has supported internet freedom projects through the Office of Internet Freedom (formerly the Internet Anti-Censorship Division) and the Open Technology Fund (OTF), USAGM’s newest non-profit grantee. The USAGM’s internet freedom program supports, per congressional appropriations guidance, global internet freedom for the expansion of unrestricted access to information on the internet. Over the past seven years, USAGM has invested more than $100 million in projects to promote internet freedom in the world’s most restricted environments. Together, these programs have supported the tools and systems necessary for USAGM networks to report and disseminate content in information-restrictive markets, and for USAGM audiences to receive and share content safely online.
While previously OIF directly supported certain circumvention at-scale projects, OTF now supports all the agency’s internet freedom needs. OIF’s role is to maintain a strong partnership with OTF, to provide oversight to ensure continued OTF compliance with relevant rules and regulations in the execution of congressionally mandated use of internet freedom funds for technology projects, ensure uninterrupted circumvention services for USAGM entities and their training needs, provide critical field-driven feedback loop, and manage the assessment of particular OTF projects to inform USAGM strategy and oversight.
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