Open Call for Afghan Media Start-Ups in Germany

Deadline 26/05/2024

  • May 13, 2024
  • News

Since the Taliban took over Kabul in August 2021, many Afghan journalists have been compelled to seek asylum abroad, forming a dispersed community facing significant obstacles in continuing their professional activities. Since then, many original media projects have been created in exile. At the same time, a large number of media professionals still finds it difficult to implement their relevant and viable ideas. With this project, we are addressing this potential.  


The Media Incubator Program is tailored to support exiled Afghan journalists and media professionals living in Germany who are currently developing new media projects. It aims to provide comprehensive support by offering training, guidance, and financial assistance for the best start-up teams to start and sustain media outlets in Germany after the training is completed. The program also seeks to foster connections and partnerships with established media organizations to enhance the integration and sustainability of exiled journalists and their initiatives within the media landscape.


Who Can Participate:

Exiled teams of Afghan journalists based in Germany, currently establishing media start-ups in an advanced phase of concept development or not older than with first publication in the last six months, to disseminate independent and high-quality journalistic content to audiences in their home country, are invited to participate in the Media Incubator Program. Participation is limited to projects explicitly focused on media endeavors.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Projects must center on non-fiction content; arts or literature initiatives will not be considered;
  • No activist or educational projects;
  • Emphasis on original content creation. No pure reproduction of external publications;
  • Projects should have a realistic target audience in Afghanistan; diaspora-focused initiatives will not be considered;
  • Demonstrated expertise in professional media management and journalism is required;
  • The start-ups shall be in an advanced phase of concept development or have had their first publication within the last six months;
  • The core team must be based in Germany;
  • Teams must consist of at least three members;
  • Media support organizations are ineligible for participation.

The Media Incubator Training Program consists of five intensive offline sessions covering various aspects of entrepreneurship, media management, and audience engagement. Participants will gain expertise in business model development, revenue generation, legal considerations, market research, content creation, and audience engagement strategies. Additionally, online sessions will be organized to help the start-up create a competitive pitch and learn more about the fundraising/donor landscape, how to approach different funding opportunities, and how to be capable of successfully managing them.

Travel and accommodation costs will be covered.


After the training program, participants will get a chance to pitch their media startup ideas. An independent jury will select will select the most promising media concepts (up to three projects will be funded) to receive targeted financial support of €15,000 each for their initial setup phase and business development. The financial support can be used for media development between September and November 2024.


The deadline for applications is May 26th 2024, 11:59 pm (CET).

After the application deadline, independent jury members will assess the applications for formal compliance and completeness of answers. Based on these criteria, they will determine who will be part of this project.
Applicants will be informed about the decision around ten days after the official deadline.

  • June – August 2024: Media Incubator Training Program
  • End of August 2024: Pitch Competition
  • September – November 2024: Start-up Pilot Launch
  • December 2024: Reporting and Finalization

Interested teams can submit their team members’ CVs, project ideas, and motivational letters via the application form. Applications will be evaluated based on innovation, feasibility, societal impact, and alignment with assessment criteria.

Assessment Criteria: 

  • Afghan Audience Reach: We will evaluate the capacity of new media start-ups to connect with Afghan audiences effectively. We will consider the project strategies for targeting them, innovative approaches to engage with the Afghan audience, and the potential to overcome barriers and effectively reach diverse segments of the population within the Afghan context;
  • Innovation and Creativity: We will evaluate the proposed business model’s originality and creativity. We seek innovative content creation, distribution, revenue generation, and community engagement approaches;
  • Feasibility and Viability: Determine the feasibility and viability of the proposed business model. We are looking for realistic, achievable, and economically sustainable ideas in the context of Afghan exiled media;
  • Community Engagement and Impact: Your ideas must involve and empower audiences in Afghanistan, amplify their voices, and address their needs;
  • Sustainability and Scalability: We are looking for a well-designed project idea that focuses on ensuring long-term financial stability and has the potential for growth and expansion;
  • Team Expertise and Diversity: We seek diversity and expertise within the proposal team. We look for diverse skills, backgrounds, and perspectives that can contribute to the business models’ success.

Benefits of Participation:

  • Empowerment through training and guidance;
  • Financial support for selected projects;
  • Networking opportunities with other journalistic start-ups and newsrooms;
  • Advocacy for press freedom and media independence.

Contact Information:

Please submit your application using the application form. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to

We look forward to receiving your applications!

This project is supported by funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).