eBay Founder Pledges £154m To Glenn Greenwald-Backed Media Venture

Pierre Omidayar and Glenn Greenwald want to support independent journalists amid fears of lack of press freedom in the US and abroad

On by Steve McCaskill 0

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of auction site eBay, has pledged $250 million towards a “mass media organisation” he is setting up with journalist Glenn Greenwald, teh Guardian journalist who broke a number of stories on the NSA based on leaked documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It is unclear what form the venture will take, or when it will launch, but Omidyar has said the aim is to promote independent journalists and help them reach audiences with stories that are in the public interest.

eBay and Greenwald

newspapers news media © kret87 ShutterstockThe company will be online only and will use the methods of tech companies to engage with readers as Omidyar believes they invest a lot in understanding their audience.

Omidyar says the venture will cover both general news and investigative journalism and is a response to what he perceives to be a lack of press freedom in the US and around the world. He says he explored the possibility of acquiring The Washington Post before it was eventually taken over by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, but the process convinced him to start up a completely new organisation.

Greenwald will be part of the project, having left The Guardian earlier this week, and all proceeds generated will be reinvested in journalism.

Edward Snowden is currently in Russia after being granted asylum in the country, meaning he cannot be extradited back to the US, which has revoked his passport. Snowden revealed the existence of several government surveillance projects operated by the US government, including PRISM, and fears he will not be given a fair trial if he returns.

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Steve McCaskill
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