Gates Foundation partnerships with the Guardian and ABC News further complicate global health coverage
The independence of the Guardian’s global health journalism has a new guarantor: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Manchester, U.K.-based paper recently announced a global development section co-sponsored by the foundation. Such non-profit funding deals are not unusual in the media today and, like many others, the partnership agreement states that the Guardian has editorial independence.
The Gates Foundation is not just any foundation, however. It is the largest charitable foundation in the world, and its influence in the media is growing so vast there is reason to worry about the media’s ability to do its job. With Gates’s support, the Guardian aims “to hold governments, institutions and NGOs accountable for the implementation of the United Nations millennium development goals,” according to its press release. The site unveiling came in the run up to a September U.N. meeting to assess progress on the goals, which are supposed to be met by 2015.
The project, which is described as an action-oriented, “global development website,” is reminiscent of the Guardian’s 10:10 climate campaign to get people to reduce their carbon emissions. However, neither 10:10 nor the environment section sits within the Guardian’s news section (nor do they or any Guardian section have a site sponsor). But that is exactly where the global development page can be found on the Guardian’s home page. That alone stands to confuse readers and blurs the line between journalism campaign and advocacy campaign.