A year in review: Journalism is not just a job

  • December 21, 2022
  • News

“In some parts of the world, journalism is simply a job. But where truth is imprisoned, where people die for its sake, journalism is a tribune of inestimable value. A bastion that must be defended for the sake of democracy.”
Can Dündar

The JX Fund was founded in April 2022 to defend this bastion – even in exile. In the last months we have been able to support 44 media outlets in exile in eight countries with over 900 journalists profiting from our work.

Press freedom continues being pressurized worldwide. The annual review published on December 14 by Reporters Without Borders shows that in 2022, both the number of journalists imprisoned, and the number of journalists killed increased significantly. These escalations are often the result of acute political crises and wars – followed by the flight of individual journalists, and in some cases the exile of entire independent media landscapes.

The JX Fund supports the (re)establishment of media in exile, which are confronted with challenges ranging from difficulty of opening a bank account to circumventing blockage in their home country. At the start, however, the success or failure of an operation in exile is often determined by the possibility of simply entering a country of exile and the rights of residence, employment, and incorporation there.

Additionally, relocation comes with a financial burden and most media in exile are confronted with the loss of their previous sources of income. The restoration of financial independence, just like the development of new channels, formats and technical solutions that can help circumvent blocking and continue to reach audiences in the countries of origin, are part of editorial, strategic and entrepreneurial considerations that are necessary to rebuild a medium in exile.

In close exchange with civil society actors, project partners and other experts, the JX Fund developed both short- and long-term programs and projects that responded flexibly to those variant needs of exiled media. To name just a few of the projects in 2022:

  • In July 2022 the “Critical Voices” fellowship program was set up together with MiCT (Media in Cooperation in Transition) to respond directly to legal difficulties, and enabled a total of 45 media professionals from Russia and Belarus to continue their work in Germany.
  • In September 2022 the information platform Shpargalka | Exile (“Cheat Sheet”) was launched together with the Mass Media Defense Center, where threatened media professionals from Russia and Belarus can find answers to many of the legal questions that arise in connection with leaving their home country.
  • Building and expanding sustainable structures is at the core of what the JX Fund aims for. This includes physical infrastructure as well as the development of business models and strategies. For the latter, the “Berlin Incubator for Media in Exile” (BIMEX) was implemented in cooperation with Dekabristen e.V. in October 2022.
  • An additional incubator was launched with n-ost e.V. at the same time for Ukrainian media.
  • End of November 2022  the results of our study “Rebuilding Russian Media in Exile – Successes, Challenges and the Road Ahead” were presented together with our research partners The Fix Media, London, and the Media Center of the Stockholm School of Economics, Riga, which examines the status quo of Russian media in exile and shows the possibilities of a sustainable, transnational support program for the future.

We thank our implementing partners Dekabristen, ECPMF, MiCT, n-ost, The Fix Media, MMDC, JINN, as well as the many experts that gave us guidance. Without you we couldn’t have done any of this.

We thank our donors Alfred Töpfer Foundation, Deutsche Telekom Foundation, ERSTE Foundation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt Media Group, King Baudouin Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Mercator Foundation, German Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Press Freedom Defence Fund, Robert Bosch Foundation, ZEIT-Stiftung and verdi. Without your support none of this would have been possible.

We thank our founders, Reporters Without Borders, Rudolf Augstein Foundation and Schöpflin Foundation. Without your initiative and conduct, we wouldn’t be here.

And, most of all, we thank the media who continue their work in exile.

“Whoever wants to fight lies and ignorance and write the truth has at least five difficulties to overcome: they must have the courage to write the truth, although it is suppressed everywhere, the wisdom to recognize it, although it is veiled everywhere, the artistry to make it manageable as a weapon, the judgment to choose those in whose hands it will become effective, the cunning to spread it among them.”
Bertold Brecht

We wish all of you courage, wisdom, artistry, judgment and cunningness in 2023.