The US White House has just released a wide-ranging policy document aimed at fighting corruption around the world. In the plan, titled the “United States Strategy on Countering Corruption,” the US warns that corruption poses a “fundamental threat to the rule of law” that “hollows out institutions, corrodes public trust, and fuels popular cynicism toward effective, accountable governance.”
As part of its efforts to reduce global corruption, the Biden Administration spotlighted the value of civil society groups and investigative journalists in fighting illicit financial crimes and promoting democracy. To further promote this objective, the White House touted its continued funding of the USAID PROSAFE project, which is under the joint direction of GIJN members International Center for Journalists and Connectas. Under this project, journalists in several Latin American countries are being trained in cross-border collaborations, data analysis, physical and digital security, and multi-media reporting. PROSAFE also provides an alternative publishing outlet for stories “too dangerous to be published with an individual byline.”
In addition, the US anti-corruption strategy seeks to create “defense-only” liability coverage for investigative reporters and newsrooms, to help them fight off SLAPP and defamation lawsuits aimed at censoring critical coverage.
“The United States will boost its ongoing efforts to support, defend, and protect investigative journalists and other civil society and media actors on the front lines of the fight against corruption,” the report stated.
Efforts to promote investigative journalism and anti-corruption will also be promoted on a media freedom panel — featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa — during the Biden administration’s Summit for Democracy, which runs from December 8 – 10.