Building peace in the minds of men and women

Global Media Defence Fund

2022 Call for Partnerships – LIVE NOW

From Wednesday 4 May and until Friday 1 July 2022 at 23:59 (GMT+2), UNESCO will be seeking partnerships with specialized not-for-profit organizations to support the undertaking or upscaling of projects that bolster journalists’ legal protection and/or enhance media freedom by advancing at least one of the following Outputs:

  • Output 2: Reinforcing the operationalization of national protection mechanisms and peer support networks to ensure journalists’ rapid access to legal assistance, bolster their defense and enhance their safety, taking into account the gendered nature of the threats against them;
  • Output 3: Supporting investigative journalism that contributes to reduced impunity for crimes against journalists by holding the justice system accountable and by pursuing investigative work that risks being censored when journalists are attacked; imprisoned, or murdered; and to enhancing the safety of those conducting this line of work;
  • Output 4: Enhancing structures for fostering strategic litigation in order to protect environments where the legal frameworks are conducive to an independent, free, and pluralistic media ecosystem.

The 2022 Call for Partnerships of the Global Media Defence Fund will make nearly USD $1.4 million available in financial grants, ranging from a minimum USD $15,000 to a maximum $35,000.

 

How can my organization submit a proposal to the Global Media Defence Fund?

All information you require on how to submit a partnership proposal under the 2022 Call can be found here, and is available in English, French, and Spanish. 

Partnership proposals (including mandatory forms and supporting documents) must be submitted via email only to gmdf@unesco.org

If you have any questions connected to the 2022 Call, you can contact the UNESCO/GMDF team at gmdf@unesco.org

 

 

About the Global Media Defence Fund

 

Media freedom is under threat around the globe. The ability of journalists to report the news and bring verified information to the public is being hampered by a wide range of attacks and violations, including threats, harassment, economic pressures, abusive judicial prosecutions (e.g. SLAPPs), arbitrary detentions, and a lack of access to specialized and gender-sensitive legal assistance. An increasing number of journalists is being killed outside of conflict areas, silenced for reporting on issues of corruption, crime and politics – while cases of online threat and harassment continue are on the rise.

The Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF) is a Multi-Partner Trust Fund established within 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 (“UN Plan of Action”). It was established in 2019 with major initial contributions from the United Kingdom and Canada, and as a result of the identification of a need on the ground for a mechanism to reinforce the legal defense of journalists in need of legal protection, ensure judicial follow-up and hold perpetrators accountable for crimes against journalists (and the widespread impunity for these crimes), and foster environment where legal frameworks are conducive to a plural, free and independent media ecosystem.

The GMDF is administered by UNESCO, the specialized UN agency responsible for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and press freedom and the global coordination of the UN Plan of Action.

Within the framework of the GMDF, UNESCO supports not-for-profit organizations from all around the globe in the implementation of local, regional, and global projects that seek to bolster journalists’ legal protection and/or enhance media freedom through relevant investigative journalism and/or strategic litigation. 

The GMDF operates through four key approaches or Outputs:

  • 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 to ensure journalists’ rapid access to legal assistance, bolster their defense and enhance their safety, taking into account the gendered nature of the threats against them;
  • Output 3: Supporting investigative journalism that contributes to reduced impunity for crimes against journalists by holding the justice system accountable and by pursuing investigative work that risks being censored when journalists are attacked; imprisoned, or murdered; and to enhancing the safety of those conducting this line of work;
  • Output 4: Enhancing structures for fostering strategic litigation in order to protect environments where the legal frameworks are conducive to an independent, free, and pluralistic media ecosystem.

Under Output 1, the GMDF supports the work of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) as Secretariat to the High Level Legal Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, and backs the efforts of the Media Freedom Coalition’s Consultative Network (formerly Advisory Network) to ensure civil society, media and journalists’ engagement in the promotion of media freedom worldwide.

Under Outputs 2, 3 and 4, UNESCO launches annual or biannual competitive calls for proposals (“Calls for Partnerships”) open to relevant stakeholders willing to undertake or upscale local, regional, and global initiatives that contribute to advancing these Outputs.

The GMDF contributes to UNESCO Global Priorities: Gender Equality and Africa:

  • All partnership proposals seeking funding under the GMDF are required to mainstream gender throughout the development and implementation of the actions they propose, in accordance with a gender-responsive and/or a gender-transformative approach.
  • UNESCO employs its best efforts to prioritize eligible partnerships with organizations based in or targeting one or more African countries.

The GMDF also complements and synergizes with projects implemented under UNESCO’s regular program and other extra-budgetary funding modalities supporting the Organization’s work on freedom of expression and safety of journalists, such as the Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP) , the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), and UNESCO Funds-In-Trust projects. While keeping a specific focus on enhancing the legal protection of journalists and safeguarding the normative environment in which these professionals undertake their work, the GMDF synergizes with other activities implemented by UNESCO, including UNESCO’s initiative to support the role of security forces and the Judiciary in protecting and ensuring an environment conducive to freedom of expression, the Organization’s existing partnerships with judges’ and prosecutors’ networks and regional courts (including the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Ibero-American Network of Judicial Schools), and the action of OHCHR on the ground.

 

How?

Within the framework of the implementation of the GMDF, UNESCO seeks partnerships with specialized not-for-profit entities working at a grassroot, national, regional and/or global level to defend journalists and media freedom, including NGOs, media associations, journalists’ unions, human right defenders, lawyers’ associations and pro bono legal aid organizations, lawyers’ and investigative journalism networks, foundations, and academic institutions, among many others.

 

Where:

Over its first two years of implementation, the GMDF has been supporting nearly 80 projects around the globe. The geographical coverage of the activities supported by the GMDF extends to all regions of the world, including UNESCO Global Priority Africa – in addition to the Arab States region, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Donors of the Global Media Defence Fund:

As a Multi-Partner Trust Fund, the GMDF is open to voluntary contributions from donors. All contributions are pooled into a single, special account, and expenditures are not linked to specific donations. This approach contributes to ensuring programmatic coherence, reducing transactional costs, and ensuring coordination for a greater impact and sustainability of the Program, while avoiding the fragmentation of activities.

As of 4 May 2022, the following countries have pledged a contribution to the GMDF:

  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Luxembourg
  • New Zealand
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Resources

Promotional Materials

Other Relevant Resources

  • Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Online Courses: available here.

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