Moscow Now Targeting Media Attorneys

Not content to brand independent media outlets as "foreign agents," Russian authorities are now going after their lawyers. Yevgeny Smirnov – an attorney defending Ivan Safronov, an investigative reporter on military affairs, is the second lawyer to flee Russia in the past three months. The head of the country's Mass Media Defence Centre, which offers legal assistance to media, has also been placed on the foreign agents list. Over the past year, officials have put 85 entities and journalists on the list. To avoid fines and prosecution, these “media foreign agents” must add a declaration to every post identifying themselves as foreign agents and send quarterly financial reports to the Justice Ministry. “These proceedings and this use of the ‘foreign agents’ label against media lawyers is designed solely to put additional pressure on the journalists they defend, to isolate these journalists and to deter those who could assist them,” said Jeanne Cavelier, head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

Source: RSF

Posted on: December 4, 2021

European Cross-Border Environmental Investigation Grants

JournalismFund.eu's Environmental Investigations Programme is now accepting applications for its latest round of reporting grants. These grants, which total up to €400,000 ($450,000 USD), are earmarked for cross-border collaborations focusing on "illegal, unreported and unregulated abuse of nature that involves European affairs in and outside Europe." To apply, candidates are asked to provide team member details, the focus of the investigation and expected publication plan, and a detailed budget. Note: Teams can use the grant money to support preliminary research into the issue as well as working time and logistical expense related to the investigation. The deadline for applying is January 27, 2022.

Source: JournalismFund.eu

Posted on: December 3, 2021

Help GIJN Support Watchdog Journalism

We hope you will join GIJN in celebrating GivingTuesday and supporting investigative journalism at this pivotal moment. As the year nears an end, we take stock of a climate of growing hostility toward journalism around the world—not only in frontline states, but even in countries where press freedom seemed long established. This is a critical time for upholding the values of accountability, transparency, and democratic tradition. As the “network of networks” for watchdog journalists, GIJN will continue to link together and train the world's most enterprising, most determined reporters to fight abuses of power. But to do this, we depend on you. GIJN’s work to get cutting-edge tools and training to our colleagues worldwide—including some of the toughest places on Earth—relies on your support. Here’s a chance to join the fight against the global assault on democracy and its essential component, an independent, watchdog press. Thanks!

Source: GIJN

Posted on: November 30, 2021

2022 Sigma Award Entries Now Open

Applications for the 2022 Sigma Awards honoring the best data journalism around the world are now open. In its third year, the Sigma Awards are no longer requiring journalists to choose between applying for the single project or portfolio prizes. Instead, members of the Sigma jury and pre-jury, which includes GIJN Turkish editor Pinar Dag, will determine which submissions are awarded the $5,000 USD prize in which category. Submitted work can be in any language, but English translations of the reporting must be included to allow the award committee to assess the application. The deadline for applying is January 7, 2022 and the final list of prize winners will be announced next summer.

Source: Sigma Awards

Posted on: November 29, 2021

Global Demand that Mexico Stop Spying on Journalists

Mexican authorities secretly opened investigations into acclaimed investigative journalist Marcela Turati and two other experts on disappeared people, human rights attorney Ana Lorena Delgadillo and forensic anthropologist Mercedes “Mimi” Doretti. The probes allowed officials to spy on the three women, who were working to uncover the truth behind one of Mexico's most notorious massacres, the 2011 murders of 193 people in San Fernando. José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch, called the actions the result of "a dysfunctional, incompetent judicial system that is routinely used for abuse of power.” The news comes on top of revelations that Mexican authorities tried to place Pegasus spyware on the phones of Turati and three other co-founders of GIJN member Quinto Elemento Lab. A petition, already signed by journalists in 60 countries, is underway that demands the government stop the investigation and remove information on Turati and the others. (See link below.)

Source: Quinto Elemento

Posted on: November 26, 2021

Free Online Mobile Journalism Course in Africa

Aga Khan University's Graduate School of Media and Communications is offering a three-day introduction to mobile journalism for reporters located in Uganda and Burundi.  The free, online course will walk attendees through the foundations of multimedia storytelling and feature practical tips on how to storyboard, shoot, and edit to create a video story using a smartphone. The course, which runs for seven hours each day from December 1 - 3, 2021, has a limited number of spaces and will be conducted in English only.

Source: Aga Khan University

Posted on: November 26, 2021

Free Digital Security Training for Conflict Zone Journalists

Reporters Without Borders is offering a fully-paid, four-month residency next year to assist conflict zone journalists with digital security. Between March 1 to November 30, 2022, the organization will host 12 reporters from war zones or other crisis areas in Berlin, Germany, as part of its "Empowering Journalists in the Digital Field" scholarship program. The training will provide recipients "practical knowledge and skills to protect themselves against digital threats such as surveillance or hacker attacks in their journalistic activities." Candidates must have a very strong command of the English language and past experience as a working or citizen journalist. The deadline for applying is Monday, November 29.

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Posted on: November 24, 2021

Scots Mull Public Interest Media Fund

The Scottish government is considering whether to launch a Public Interest Journalism Institute to foster "a diverse, pluralistic, and sustainable Scottish public interest media sector.” The group would have an independent board and give out grants of £3m per year (about US$4m), a third of that, at least initially, from the government. An advisory council, which recommends the action, also urged Scottish officials to let public interest news providers register as charities and get tax breaks, and to let community groups take over endangered media. 

Source: PressGazette

Posted on: November 22, 2021

UN Warns of Growing Threat to Press Freedom in Hungary

After concluding a week-long visit to Hungary, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression warned that the country was continuing to jeopardize press freedom and human rights. The UN representative, Irene Khan, spoke to the international press in Budapest, where she expressed concerns that media capture via state advertising could lead to a "toxic environment of violence [and] hatred" in the lead up to that country's elections next year. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's nationalist party has taken control of large swaths of the private media since his rise to power in 2010, all but silencing critical reporting of his government. "I see a distorted media environment in Hungary where pluralism, diversity, and independence of media is being questioned," Khan said.

Source: Reuters

Posted on: November 22, 2021

Greek Reporter Discovers Intel Service Tracking Him

Stavros Malichudis, a journalist with GIJN member Reporters United, discovered that he was being tracked by the government after reading another news report about Greece's National Intelligence Service (known by the acronym EYP). Malichudis had been working on a story about migrant camp conditions that involved finding a 12-year-old Syrian boy, Jamal, whose artwork depicting the grim fate of refugees in Greece had been featured in an article for the French newspaper Le Monde. After reading an internal intel service communiqué published in a Greek newspaper, Malichudis recognized that he fit the description of a reporter being surveilled for his interest in Jamal's story. Citing "information from a highly credible source," the Greek spy service detailed his reporting efforts and also sought to identify Malichudis' sources as well as more information on the boy. "If the function of EYP is to protect national security, then keeping tabs on my movements is nothing more than a waste of money, and cannot be justified under any circumstances," Malichudis said.

Source: Reporters United

Posted on: November 19, 2021