by Paul Treanor (5-21-00)
The new FreeB92 website carries an appeal for funds in solidarity. http://www.freeb92.net/donations/index.html
It asks for money to be sent to a New York Bank account of the Media Development Loan Fund. This is a US Foundation, part of the network of Soros' Open Society Institute, and listed as such at their main site: http://www.soros.org/minidir.html
Here is the main MDLF site: http://www.mdlf.org/about.html
Its activities are described as follows:
Staff are listed at http://www.mdlf.org/contact.html
The Board is listed at http://www.mdlf.org/board.html
The Media Development Loan Fund is therefore a main channel for Soros funding of media in eastern Europe. However, as with many of Soros' projects, it has other sources of funds:
- Eurasia Foundation (http://www.eurasia.org) - J.M. Kaplan Fund - Knight Foundation (www.knightfdn.org) - MacArthur Foundation (www.macfdn.org) - Open Society Institute (www.soros.org) - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) (www.sida.se)
It works closely with the Swedish Helsinki Committee, which in turn acts as a channel for funds from the Swedish government. Their site says this about its cooperation with the MDLF:
According to the site of the International Center For Journalists MDLF started in 1995, and now works with the USAID agency on the Media Viability Fund, indirectly controlling newspapers in Russia and the Ukraine.
"Money loaned would be provided by the Prague-based Media Development Loan Fund, an independent, non-profit agency established in 1995 by the Soros Foundation."
Sasa (Sasha) Vucinic is according to the IWPR site http://www.iwpr.net/iwpr/about.htm
"executive director of the Media Development Loan Fund (Prague and New York) and former director of Radio B-92 in Belgrade"
Vucinic is also an IWPR Trustee.
The MDLF in Praha (Prague) also runs the Center for Advanced Media Prague: http://www.mdlf-camp.net/about.html
"established in early fall 1998 with the aim of introducing new media concepts and solutions to independent media and non-governmental organizations in Eastern Europe"
Now, the question is, why should anyone send money to George Soros? I think that he has enough already. No doubt the other funds financing the MDLF also have a lot of money already. So has USAID, a US government agency.
It seems bizarre to send these wealthy organisations money, so that they can control the media in eastern Europe. Probably, the idea is to create the impression of political solidarity with B92 rather than collect money. The Soros funds and other financiers of the so-called "independent media" in eastern Europe have been very successful in presenting their campaigns as grassroots solidarity actions, making good use of the Internet. But it is certainly an extraordinary hypocrisy to deceive people into thinking they are sending their 10-dollar donation to a struggling "radical" radio station - when in fact it is going to the Foundations of one of the worlds richest men.