2021-03-09

BRUSSELS - Journalismfund.eu gladly welcomed the European Commission’s new call to support investigative journalism. Together with OBC Transeuropa, Journalismfund.eu submitted a proposal for a grant and training programme to support European cross-border investigative journalism, including a special track for local journalism.

Both organisations are convinced to have submitted a very strong proposal that benefits the European community of investigative journalists and the general public. Our project guarantees the independent allocation of resources and safeguards the independence of the journalists.

EU funding

The European Commission (EC) makes €1.5 million available for one consortium of organisations to run a grant programme for cross-border journalistic investigations. Since Journalismfund.eu can only grant less than one in four applications for our existing European Cross-border Grants programme, we are convinced that the need is more urgent than ever.

Moreover, for already more than two decades we successfully administer grants to investigative journalists while safeguarding their complete independence, by functioning as an intermediary and firewall between governments and private donors on the one hand and investigative journalists on the other hand. Journalismfund.eu is therefore very keen on using the EC’s budget in an efficient way to further foster independent cross-border investigative journalism.

In 2019, the EC issued a similar call.* Journalismfund.eu also applied then, together with n-ost. The EC decided to allocate the funds to another consortium (IPI, ECPMF, EJC). You can read the Commission’s evaluation of our 2019 proposal here.

Our proposal

Together with our partner, the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), we designed an ambitious proposal for the 2021 call:

  • The heart of the action is a cross-border investigative funding scheme, allocating €1,055,000 of direct funding to cross-border investigative journalism through 3 grant tracks.
  • The funding scheme also has a special grant track for cross-border local investigative journalism, and another one for enabling activities.
  • The action will also provide practical support and training, by giving access to several hands-on training and consultancy opportunities, and building journalists’ capacities in preventing and tackling legal, security, professional and editorial challenges.
  • Among the estimated results of the action are at least 86 supported investigative teams, 428 publications of investigative cross-border journalism, directly reaching 18 million Europeans.
  • The action will be executed by Journalismfund.eu and OBCT Transeuropa, two organisations close to the needs and realities of journalists and familiar with the very different media realities throughout Europe.
  • Moreover, Journalismfund.eu is the pioneer and expert organisation in funding schemes for cross-border investigative journalism in Europe. By supporting Journalismfund.eu, donors contribute to bolstering an organisation that is specialised in and long-term committed to this matter: this is cost effective, and has a positive institutional impact.

Why does Journalismfund.eu think it is best suited to make a change?

  • Journalismfund.eu has very extensive experience – 22 years – in running grant programmes for cross-border investigative journalism. Journalismfund.eu has ‘invented’ or introduced the concept of a cross-border grant programme through an intermediary in Europe in 2009. Journalismfund.eu has an impressive track record of supported projects and impactful journalism.
  • Journalismfund.eu was set up by citizens. Its ultimate focus is to better inform citizens. Journalismfund.eu was born to serve the community.
  • Journalismfund.eu has a large knowledge of the investigative journalism field. First of all, because of its yearlong experience with project applications: 2,719 since its start.
  • Journalismfund.eu’s value chain is built around risk management. Through each stage of the application process and the investigative journalism projects there are careful measures to safeguard the security of the journalists, of the project and of Journalismfund.eu, and to ensure a maximal efficiency of the allocated resources: digital security, confidentiality, contracting, follow-up, reporting, financial control, publication, dissemination, etc.
  • Journalismfund.eu has a very high degree of public transparency. It published its ethical funding policy, conflict of interest policy, annual accounts, auditor’s reports, general grant rules, privacy policy, etc.
  • Allocating resources for this funding scheme to Journalismfund.eu is sustainable. Journalismfund.eu’s grants are not put on hold or paused – it continues its efforts to provide resources for European investigative journalists.
  • Journalismfund.eu also brings together investigative journalists through its large online database of investigative journalists from Europe and elsewhere. Based on the grants it allocates, since its start Journalismfund.eu has been building this database, listing the supported journalists’ fields of expertise, location, previous supported stories, etc. This is a very useful tool for journalists interested in potential collaborations.
  • Journalismfund.eu has an overload of applications. For its European Cross-border Grants programme it is only able to grant less than one in four applications, and only 16% of the funding applied for.
  • By supporting Journalismfund.eu, donors contribute to bolstering an organisation that is specialised in this matter (i.e. organising grant programmes for cross-border investigative journalism), is cost effective, and will continue its commitment to its mission in the future.
  • Investigative journalism is at the core of Journalismfund.eu’s mission, and its main focus. This is a plus both in terms of institutional impact and future sustainability of EU funding. By strengthening the core capacity of a grass-roots actor which is widely acknowledged as being successfully committed in the long term to the very goal of this lot, the call would have a significant institutional impact on the wider community supporting independent journalism. By prioritising expertise and focus, it would result in a higher degree of pluralism of the actors supported by the European Commission.

According to the European Commission’s call, the decision will be made in March. You will be able to read the result here. We’ll keep you informed.

Image: design programme logo from the Journalismfund.eu-OBCT project proposal.


(*) In 2010, we made a first bid for a European call for tenders "aiming to provide supporting services to the management of the Pilot Project on Investigation Journalism". However, the Commission then "abandoned" the procurement procedure.

Brussels debate on funding of journalism is awakening (02/12/2010).

€ 1,5 million to investigative journalism withdrawn upon struggle about editorial independence (20/12/2010).

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Earth Investigations Programme

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