Free Media Online is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and advancing free speech and freedom of the press worldwide through journalistic, educational and information sharing activities. It was founded in 2006 by a group of media specialists with backgrounds in international broadcasting, media marketing, and media research.
The organization's founder and president, Ted Lipien, was a journalist, broadcast manager, and media marketing specialist at the Voice of America (VOA) and the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). He was in charge of VOA Polish radio programs during the Solidarity labor union's struggle for democracy in Poland in the 1980s and helped place VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) programs on stations in the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan, and in the Middle East. Other founders and associates also had careers in journalism, human rights organizations and academic institutions.
Free Media Online's stated goal is to help create a media environment supporting greater freedom, understanding and tolerance. The organization advocates for the rights of independent media and works to make free information available to journalists in media-at-risk countries. It also offers training programs in journalism and media marketing. Free Media Online is registered in California as a nonprofit public benefit corporation.
Free Media Online offers free information sharing and program delivery assistance to journalists and media organizations whose right of free expression is denied or restricted. Its reports and analysis of media freedom and independence issues around the world are available for use free of charge by any media organization or independent journalists.
Recent FreeMediaOnline.org reporting covered issues of censorship and other violations of freedom of the press in Russia, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. FreeMediaOnline.org has published articles critical of President Putin's clampdown on independent media in Russia and Moscow's efforts to restrict rebroadcasting of RFE/RL and VOA news programs on Russian stations. FreeMediaOnline.org reports have been critical of the Bush Administration and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for their plans to eliminate VOA radio programs in Russian and for insufficient support for media independence in Eurasia.
FreeMediaOnline.org also publishes articles analyzing issues of journalistic balance and objectivity in U.S. media reporting dealing with issues of press freedom.