Washington, Feb 26 (PTI) The Trump Administration today announced a USD 40 million initiative to counter propaganda and initiatives from foreign countries. Also Read - 'Another Phase of Greatest Witch Hunt', Says Donald Trump After US Senate Acquits Him in Historic Impeachment Trial

To be led by the Department of State, the announcement of such an initiative comes in the wake of the massive anti-US campaign on various social media platforms and other platforms by countries like North Korea, Russia and China. Also Read - US Court Seeks Status Report On Visas To Family Members Of H1-B Holders

The Pentagon, which under the Trump Administration has seen substantial increase in its budgetary allocation, has transferred USD 40 million to the Department of State to bolster operations to expose and counter foreign propaganda. Also Read - The Weeknd Performs Live At Super Bowl Halftime Show, Fans Share His Then-And-Now Photos

“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said.

“It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive,” Goldstein said, adding that the transfer of funds reiterates the US’ commitment to the fight.

One of those initiatives is the creation of an Information Access Fund to support public and private partners working to expose and counter propaganda and disinformation from foreign nations, the State Department said.

Under the Information Access Fund, civil society groups, media content providers, non-governmental organisations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, and academic institutions will be eligible to compete for grants from the Global Engagement Center (GEC) to advance their important work to counter propaganda and disinformation.

The State Department said it plans to award an initial USD 5 million in grants from the Information Access Fund.

In consultation with Congress, this funding will include USD one million in initial seed money from the Department of State’s public diplomacy account in order to kick-start the initiative quickly.

The fund will be a key part of the GEC’s partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques, it said.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding, the State Department said. PTI LKJ ZH ZH

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.