Democracy activists stranded after Trump administration pulls funding for anti-censorship tools

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The Trump administration has undercut democracy activists in Belarus and Hong Kong by abruptly ending funding to a US internet freedom organization that provides technological tools to evade censorship and surveillance, according to cyber experts and lawmakers. The organization, a nonprofit called the Open Technology Fund, said the sudden disappearance of $20 million has forced it to cancel plans to deliver emergency aid to journalists and civil society groups facing authoritarian clampdowns in Belarus and Hong Kong. The funding halt forced the Open Technology Fund to issue stop-work orders for all of its projects in Belarus, where it has operated for years, said Karen Kornbluh, a former senior U.S. diplomat who is chair of the fund's board. The $20 million represented the bulk of the Open Technology Fund's 2020 budget. The freeze was ordered by the new CEO of the US Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, a conservative documentary filmmaker and ally of Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Donald Trump.

Democracy activists stranded after Trump admin pulls funding for anti-censorship tools