Public interest journalism
Protecting the backbone
of public debate
As a source of information, a voice for civil society, a forum for discussion, a catalyst for critical and diverse thinking, and a check on abuse of power and corruption, independent public interest journalism plays a crucial role in protecting and promoting public debate and democracy.
Concurrent challenges, ranging from globalization and the oligopolies it enables to digital transformation, including new information and communication practices and the increased competition from social networks it has spawned, have profoundly affected the media landscape in recent years. This changing environment poses growing structural and financial threats to all traditional media, but is particularly endangering independent, public interest journalism.
In addition, the closing space of civil society and decline in media freedom in many countries, as well as an alarming rise on attacks against journalists, such as online and offline harassment or legal threats, further hamper independent public interest and watchdog media and organizations to survive and operate safely.
In response to these growing pressures on public interest journalism, the Foundation focuses on:
- Strengthening the field of public interest journalism to uphold its ability to feed and inform public debate and call for transparency and accountability;
- Supporting the protection and safety of public interest journalists and media organizations to counter the rise of private and state-sponsored silencing and intimidation tactics;
- Facilitating the production and distribution of quality investigative reporting to ensure access to independent, fact-based, and reliable information.
Our funding priorities
The promotion of a strong public interest journalism sector is essential to ensure the availability, reliability, and diversity of information which, in turn, empowers citizens to participate in educated public debate and decision making. To this end, we support in priority civil society organizations, independent public interest media, and collaborative initiatives aiming to:
- Build networks and coalitions providing training, resources, peer exchange and learning, organizational support and collaboration opportunities for independent investigative journalists and local public interest media organizations.
- Provide legal support and emergency assistance, as well as safety training, technology, and equipment to independent journalists and media organizations under threat for their reporting, with particular attention to the growing phenomenon of SLAPPS.
- Provide collective and/or transnational investigative grants to independent public interest journalists, as well as practical and editorial support.
On an exceptional basis, we also support outstanding independent watchdog publications calling for transparency and accountability on issues of international public interest that receive insufficient coverage despite their global reach and urgent need.