According to a recent article in The Jerusalem Post, the Obama Administration plans to distribute around $25 million to certain activist groups in authoritarian countries in order to encourage using the internet as a way of communication in places where the government commonly restricts access.
So far, there has not been mention of what countries and groups will receive the money. In the article mentioned earlier, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner was quoted:
“This administration believes that democratic change must be home-grown. That means empowering democratic activists to get their own messages out- and they need internet freedom to do that,”
The U.S. government has spent billions over decades trying to promote democracy – but the best way to do that is to support democracy activists and give them the tools they need to prevail. Allowing them to use the internet freely means they can continue to give voice to the kind of democratic future they want for their own societies,”
While many have rejoiced after hearing the news of a planned monetary support from the U.S. government, some are skeptical about the semantics involved. There is the possibility of a nit-picking involved with the process of choosing which countries or groups get what amount of money, which can make for a sticky situation.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this funding plays out in the future, and just how much it will effect the power these authoritarian countries have over the internet as a way of communication.