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Independent media development led by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports the national security goal of developing sustainable democracies around the world. Independent media institutions play a role in supporting commerce, improving public health efforts, reducing corruption, and providing civic education. According to the Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2005 survey, despite important gains in some countries, the overall level of press freedom worldwide continued to worsen in 2004. GAO was asked to examine (1) U.S. government funding for independent media development overseas; (2) the extent to which U.S. agencies measure performance toward achieving results; and (3) the challenges the United States faces in achieving results. The Department of State generally concurred with our report and USAID offered technical comments that were incorporated, as appropriate. In addition, State indicated that it plans to develop additional performance indicators and promote best practices in the future.

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