In December 2022, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, providing $1.7 trillion for the government through fiscal year (FY) 2023. The omnibus appropriations bill included funds allocated for Internet freedom programs, earmarked in the appropriations bill under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
For FY 2023, Congress allocated $90.5 million for programs to promote Internet freedom globally, representing a $13 million increase from FY 2022. Of the funds allocated for Internet freedom, $40 million was designated for Open Technology Fund (OTF) through the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the federal agency through which OTF is appropriated. The FY2023 budget for OTF – an increase of roughly $13 million from the previous fiscal year – recognizes the importance of OTF’s work in advancing internet freedom in repressive environments and securing digital rights globally.
The additional funding granted to OTF by Congress will greatly assist OTF’s work in advancing internet freedom by supporting the applied research, development, implementation, and maintenance of technologies that provide unfettered access to the internet and counter attempts by authoritarian governments to control the internet and restrict freedom online. This funding increase is also further recognition of the increasing need for the tools and technologies OTF supports.
If you are working to advance Internet freedom and are in need of support, please explore OTF’s available funding mechanisms through our Funds and Labs, which are available on a rolling basis. In addition, OTF’s Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) recently opened applications for its ninth fellowship cohort. The deadline to apply for the ICFP fellowship is February 20, 2023.
OTF receives, reviews, and contracts projects on an ongoing basis, and the additional support to the budget will only strengthen OTF’s ability to support internet freedom across the globe. We encourage you to apply if you think your idea is a good fit. We look forward to hearing from you.