Ebay Founder Pierre Omidyar Pumps $250m in Media Venture with Edward Snowden NSA Scandal Journalist Glenn Greenwald (Photo: Reuters)
Ebay Founder Pierre Omidyar Pumps $250m in Media Venture with Edward Snowden NSA Scandal Journalist Glenn Greenwald (Photo: Reuters)

Ebay's founder Pierre Omidyar has committed a quarter of a billion dollars in funding for a new media venture with the journalist responsible for breaking National Security Agency stories stemming from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In an interview with media critic and New York University professor of journalism, Jay Rosen, the auction site founder said his decision to stump up $250m (£156m, €184m) in cash was based on his "rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world".

"[The project is in the] very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don't yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like," said Omidyar, initially in a blogpost when exploring a possible purchase of the Washington Post, which was ultimately bought by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

"As part of my learning process, I recently reached out to Glenn Greenwald to find out what journalists like him need to do their jobs well. As it turns out, he and his colleagues Laura Poitras [video documentarian] and Jeremy Scahill [author and national security expert], were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists. We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces."

"I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy."

Greenwald Leaves the Guardian

Greenwald revealed this week that he was leaving the Guardian newspaper to pursue a "dream" opportunity.

"My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved," said Greenwald in a written online statement.

"The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I was presented with a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline.

"Because this news leaked before we were prepared to announce it, I'm not yet able to provide any details of this momentous new venture, but it will be unveiled very shortly;"

NSA Programmes

The NSA's surveillance practices have faced severe criticism across the globe following revelations by Snowden, a former contractor at the agency, who is currently in exile in Russia.

He leaked top secret documents about NSA's surveillance programmes that tapped telephone conversations and spied on internet activities of citizens, prominent leaders, bureaucrats, businesses and government agencies across the globe.

Earlier, fresh allegations against the NSA reported by the Washington Post said that the agency set up secret arrangements with telecom companies outside the US for collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists via email and instant messaging accounts.