11 April 2023- The Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) has recently announced that Luat Khoa Magazine will be participating in Amplify Asia, an innovative coaching program aimed at building the business capacity of independent media outlets throughout South and Southeast Asia.
Since its inception in 2019, Amplify Asia has helped to enhance financial stability and promote training opportunities for participating media outlets, each specializing in their unique form of journalism from the aforementioned regions. With regards to this, MDIF Program Director, Tessa Piper, states, “Building their [Amplify Asia participants] business capacity should have the dual function of enabling them to reach a wider audience while also strengthening their potential for financial sustainability.”
Regarding the Luat Khoa Magazine’s acceptance, MDIF has recognized the publication’s status of being “one of the very few independent media outlets focused on Vietnam,” a country that censors media content that the government deems too critical or subversive. They also state that despite operating from outside Vietnam, the publication is able to “ serve a Vietnamese audience interested in legal and political news by publishing high-quality long-form magazine articles.”
Amplify Asia is one of the many projects of the MDIF. Its inception dates back to 2019 and it was originally known as the Southeast Asia Technical Assistance Initiative (SEATAI). However, due to the expansion of the program to include Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, it was necessary to reevaluate the program’s objectives and align them with MDIF’s other regional Amplify programs. As a result, the program was revamped to better reflect its regional scope and goals. Financial investment into MDIF or the Amplify program itself is not a requirement for acceptance into the program.
Amplify Asia's coaching program is a comprehensive initiative that goes beyond traditional training in business capacity and financial stability. One of its most unique features is its personalized coaching, which connects independent media outlets with senior regional media executives. These coaches work closely with participants to develop individualized capacity-building plans and other strategies tailored to their specific needs. In addition to personalized coaching, Amplify Asia participants also have access to a network of regional specialists who can provide short-term assistance on a variety of topics. These specialists offer expertise in areas such as SEO optimization, web design, marketing training, and more. Likewise, participating media outlets that meet Amplify Asia's criteria are also eligible for grants and seed equity investment.
This year, in response to the pervasive spread of mis- and disinformation across South and Southeast Asia, Amplify Asia has expanded its program by selecting seven additional independent media outlets to join alongside Luat Khoa Magazine. The inclusion of these outlets is aimed at further strengthening the fight against misinformation and amplifying credible news sources in the region. The inclusion of this new batch brings the total number of participants in Amplify Asia to 14, further bolstering the program's efforts to combat misinformation and promote trustworthy journalism in South and Southeast Asia.
The Luat Khoa Magazine’s inclusion in Amplify Asia highlights the importance of supporting independent media outlets that fight for transparency and accountability in places where the government controls the prevailing narratives. By supporting the Luat Khoa and other news outlets like it, the MDIF and Amplify Asia help ensure that facts and truth remain accessible to those living in countries where freedom of press is limited.