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Call for Partnership for Global Media Defence Fund

Call for Partnership for Global Media Defence Fund

Deadline: 10 May 2020

The Global Media Defence Fund is a Multi-Partner Trust Fund/Program at UNESCO developed with the goal of enhancing media protection and improving the access of journalists to specialized legal assistance. It was established at the initiative of the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada in the framework of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom – and under the overall umbrella of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

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This Fund complements UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists and the International Programme for the Development of Communication, as well as UNESCO Funds-In-Trust projects. Its particular niche is legal defense, and part of its activity will consider applications for funding from external organizations.

The objective of this call for partnerships is financing local, regional and international projects that will enhance journalists’ legal protection and their access to legal assistance –always in line with international freedom of expression/press freedom standards– by advancing at least one of the following Global Media Defence Fund’s outputs.

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Administered by UNESCO, the Global Media Defence Fund contributes to a free and safer environment for journalists via four key approaches or outputs:

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Output 1: Fostering international legal cooperation, as well as the sharing and implementation of good practices to promote the defense of journalists under attack;
Output 2: Reinforcing the operationalization of national protection mechanisms and peer support networks, including by supporting governments and other institutions to develop national frameworks, action plans and legislation relevant to the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, to ensure journalists’ rapid access to legal assistance, bolster their defense and enhance their safety;
This output includes initiatives such as:
Setting up and/or reinforcing legal units within media associations and specialized CSOs;
Supporting the work of media lawyers’ networks and organizations, as well as capacity-building in favor of specialized or in-house media lawyers;
Supporting new/existing initiatives of pro bono media legal assistance or other initiatives aiming at enhancing legal assistance;
Establishing and reinforcing existing peer support networks for journalists, including freelance ones, focused on legal issues.
Output 3: Supporting investigative journalism that contributes to reduced impunity for crimes against journalists, and enhancing the safety of those conducting this line of work;
This output concerns actions that will:
Advance journalistic investigation for the purposes of ensuring judicial followup and holding relevant authorities –including prosecutors, justice systems and law enforcement– accountable with regard to cases involving attacks against journalists, thereby contributing to ensuring rule of law and reducing impunity for the crimes committed against these journalists;
Pursue or draw awareness to investigative work that risks being terminated or censored when journalists are attacked, threatened, arbitrarily imprisoned or murdered;
Ensure that the work of journalists who have been deterred or impeded from further pursuing it, can be continued by peers who will bring those stories to light and make them widely visible;
Enhance the safety of those conducting investigative journalism (through the creation or reinforcement of existing peer-network supporting mechanisms, for instance).
Output 4: Enhancing structures for fostering strategic litigation in order to protect environments where the legal frameworks are conducive to an independent, free and plural media ecosystem.
This output includes, but is not limited to, initiatives:
Expected to help advance cases with significant strategic potential (strategic litigation), which are likely to result in innovative/progressive rulings related to key/emerging challenges to freedom of expression, with an impact beyond an individual journalist/media outlet.
Supporting strategic litigation through/by, amongst others:
The sharing of related jurisprudence;
Encouraging amicus curiae briefs in relation to strategic litigation cases before higher courts and regional/international human rights courts;
Enabling, promoting or reinforcing legal collaboration between local, regional and international experts, in a way that contributes to reforming legal frameworks and improving/sharing jurisprudence conducive to an independent, free and pluralistic media ecosystem;
Strengthening national/regional associations of lawyers or media lawyers, law school legal clinics, and CSOs focused on supporting the legal practice based on international and regional standards.
Note: This call for partnerships does not cover any activities pertaining Output 1, as described above.

Funding Information

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The indicative total amount available for all three Outputs is USD $500,000.
Any grant requested under this call for partnerships must fall between a minimum USD $15,000 and up to a maximum USD $60,000. UNESCO may decide to grant only part of the funding requested by an applicant.
Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, the applicant must be a not-for-profit entity (e.g. NGOs, media or lawyers’ associations, media development agencies, foundations, academic institutions, noncommercial media institutions), and fully respect the following criteria:

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Legal Status: The organization must be registered as a not-for profit entity that has been active for at least two years.
Capacity: All applicants must:
Be able to make a minimum 5% financial or in-kind contribution for the implementation of the proposed project;
Have the capacity to manage the volume of funds and to implement the agreed upon activities in an efficient and effective manner;
Have a sound financial status;
Have the capacity to participate in planning, monitoring and evaluation activities (the latter, if applicable);
Prove their capacity to operate in all the target countries/areas;
Display basic managerial and record-keeping competencies (including project management and oversight procedures), as well as a commitment to defend and respect human rights, freedom of expression and gender equality;
Have a gender-sensitive approach;
Assign a staff to carry out or lead the implementation of the project as focal point.
Applicants who have already been awarded funding under UNESCO’s regular program or under other extra-budgetary modalities (such as the Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists) may also be eligible apply for a grant under the Global Media Defence Fund, if they meet the requirements listed above.
Individuals, for-profit organizations and unincorporated associations or networks are not eligible to apply for a grant under this call for partnerships.
For more information, visit https://www.ungm.org/Public/Notice/106231

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