The European Union is making EUR 3.9 million available for actions to support media freedom and investigative journalism.

graphic showing a magnifying glass with eye on colourful background and text call for proposals Media freedom and investigative journalism - apply by 20 January 2021 hashtag  MediaEU

Media freedom and pluralism are essential pillars of any democracy and crucial conditions for an open and free democratic debate. They are enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 11(2)).

Physical attacks on, online incitement and abusive lawsuits against, death threats to and, even, assassinations of investigative journalists in the EU have brought to the fore the dangers which investigative journalists often face and, consequently, the need to enhance their protection.

Journalists increasingly investigate issues of common interest to citizens of several Member States. However, such cross-border investigations tend to be complex and resource-intensive and often lack adequate funding.

While digital transformation has led to new working methods in the media sector and the emergence of a collaborative journalism community in Europe, it has also had a disruptive effect on all types of media, including news media. There is a clear need to promote quality journalism, to help journalists acquire the relevant skills and technological know-how and to support media freedom and media diversity in the European Union.

In 2019, the European Commission published a first Call for proposals for Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions on media freedom and investigative journalism.  Details about the selected projects can be found on this page.

The EU is launching a Call for Proposals for the following three Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions:

Pilot Project: A Europe-wide response mechanism for violations of press and media freedom (Action 1)

The Europe-wide rapid response mechanism for violations of press and media freedom is meant to mitigate the consequences of the deterioration of press and media freedom in certain Member States and Candidate Countries. It will ensure a systematic monitoring of violations of press and media freedom, make such violations visible and provide legal and practical support to journalists under threat. It will be carried out in collaboration with European, regional and local stakeholders in the field of media freedom.

This project is expected to support the activities of one consortium of organisations working together to uphold media freedom and safety of journalists in the EU and Candidate Countries.

Total budget: 1.380.119 €

Preparatory Action: Cross-border investigative journalism fund (Action 2)

It is a challenge to sustain quality journalism and especially (resource-intensive) investigative journalism in the current fast-evolving media landscape. The preparatory action will contribute to ensuring such sustainability. The action will fund grants supporting journalistic investigations involving journalists from at least two Member States, thereby highlighting issues of common interest to citizen of several Member States and strengthening the European media sphere. This preparatory action will build on the ‘European research grants for journalistic investigations, #IJ4EU’ project.

This action is expected to fund activities of one consortium of organisations.

Total budget: 1.500.000 €

Pilot Project: Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU (Action 3)

Activities to be conducted under this project will be geared at providing support to independent, collaborative journalism in the EU Member States and at promoting media freedom and media diversity across the EU. It will also help raising awareness on the importance of media freedom and quality and ethical journalism for democracy. The project should facilitate building a community of media professionals and organisations that are active in the field.

This project is expected to fund activities of one consortium of organisations.

Total budget: 1.000.000 €

  • Total budget available for the three actions: 3.880.119€
  • Maximum co-financing rate: 90% of eligible costs.
  • Duration of the actions: one year.

Questions for this call should be sent at the latest on 13 January 2021 to CNECT-I1-CALLS@ec.europa.eu

The questions and answers will be published, anonymously, on this page (more information on your personal data).

For download:

  1. Call for proposals
  2. Grant application form
  3. Model grant agreement
  4. Estimated budget
  5. Balance Sheet & Profit and Loss
  6. Declaration on honour
  7. Financial identification form
  8. Legal entity form - private law body
  9. Legal entity form - public law body
  10. Privacy Statement for Legal Entity and Bank Account Validation
  11. Clarifications (30 November 2020)