Media Center


Fact Sheet: Center for Media Integrity of the Americas

  June 7, 2022


  • Democracy is unquestionably under siege in many countries throughout the Americas, and its consolidation since the 1970s has been uneven. Multiple surveys and academic studies have concluded that democratic backsliding and a democratic deficit are dangerous realities in today’s hemisphere.
  • Impartial, fact-based, news reporting and analysis are fundamental to any healthy, thriving democracy. This, too, is under siege in all OAS member states.
  • Governments, opposition parties, foreign governments, corporate interests, and organized crime have all increasingly entered traditional and newer social media spaces to promote narrow, interest-based agendas.
  • A truly independent formal media or informal information influencer must remain outside the reach of such efforts. This requires skilled and supported, independent journalists, editors, publishers, as well as social and streaming media content providers capable of informing publics with facts and perspective, while remaining immune to the financial incentives or physical security threats of a more partisan brand of journalism and information dissemination.

Why the OAS?

  • The Organization of American States (OAS) is the undisputed, premiere intergovernmental body that supports and defends democracy in the Americas. Through the Inter American Democratic Charter and the offices of Secretary General Luis Almagro, the OAS is a champion of transparent, representative, democratic governance among its member states.

What is the OAS Center for Media Integrity?

  • It will be a minimally staffed hub, nested within the Organization of American States that financially incentivizes the practice of independent, non-interest affiliated journalism and social media production throughout the Americas.
  • The Center will facilitate recurring journalism and social media seminars for both traditional and new media creators conducted by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland
  • The Center will also promote an annual awards program hosted by the OAS Secretary General 
  • The Fundación Gabo (Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation), based in Cartagena, Colombia and the Washington Post are founding partners of the Center as well, serving on the Council of Advisors and as convening centers, possibly hosting future activities, will be a strategic partner of the Center as well, serving as a convening center and possibly hosting future workshops.
  • Other activities will follow to recognize and support this desired type of journalism and social media information dissemination.
  • The Center will strive to expand its partnerships among journalists, media outlets, academia and NGOs throughout the Hemisphere, in order to conform a wide ranging, pro-active network of shared values and goals 
  • Initially begun as a project of the Secretary General of the OAS, the Center will transition to be structured as a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit, independent organization that is supportive of the OAS policy focus on strengthening democratic governance but divorced from OAS budgetary processes. The Center will be funded entirely by voluntary donations from private sector, academic, civil society, and philanthropic concerns throughout the hemisphere.

How will the Center be governed?

  • A Board of Directors will oversee fundraising activity.
  • A separate and independent Council of Advisors comprised of award-winning hemispheric journalists and media thought leaders shall develop the awards program and, collaborating closely with the Philip Merrill College, structure and support the training curriculum. The full composition of the current Council of Advisors is available here.

Reference: S-006/22