JX Fund supports first media projects

  • April 14, 2022
  • Reporters Without borders
  • News

Reporters without Borders (RSF) together with the Rudolf Augstein Foundation and the Schöpflin Foundation launch the JX Fund for journalism in exile, which is intended to help media workers quickly and flexibly, to enable them to continue their work immediately after they have fled war and crisis zones. An initial program is supporting Novaya Gazeta Europe and two other independent outlets.

The international organization Reporters without Borders (RSF), which has 7 offices and sections on the European continent, together with the Rudolf Augstein Foundation and the Schöpflin Foundation launch the JX Fund for journalism in exile, which is intended to help media workers quickly and flexibly, to enable them to continue their work immediately after they have fled war and crisis zones. With an inclusive and agile structure, it will support media professionals and will offer advice and assistance to develop sustainable models for new exile media in the long term.

Among the first projects supported by the JX Fund are Novaya Gazeta Europe and two other projects by Russian media professionals in exile. Immediately after their flight from the increasingly severe repression of the media in Russia, the JX Fund provides them with support to continue their work. While initially focusing on the media situation in Russia the JX Fund aims at creating structures to react quickly to similar situations in other parts of the world. 1,5 Million Euros have been raised so far and the overall goal amounts to 3 Million Euros.

A clearing house for resources supporting journalism

Strategically, the JX Fund is intended to act as a clearing house that bundles the numerous offers of help and directs resources to where they are most urgently needed. This is to avoid that support is wasted, only has short-term effects, or that different initiatives are accidentally duplicating efforts.

A team has already been hired by RSF Germany in Berlin, which works directly with RSF International’s headquarters in Paris. It is supported by a broad alliance of diverse media and civil society organizations.

So far, these include the Correctiv research center, the PUBLIX House for Journalism and Democracy, the media and science platform dekoder, the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the NGO Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT), the taz Panter Foundation, the Dekabristen network and the Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe (n-ost).

The First Look Press Freedom Defense Fund is the first non-European supporter of the JX Fund.

“Securing the future of journalism is crucial in respective countries, but also abroad and even overseas”, states Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters without Borders (RSF). “Would Russian journalism die, for instance, it would be a catastrophe for people in Russia, are they conscious or not, but also for European countries, its democratic institutions and societies. The future of peace and democracy requires investigations and reports about Russia’s regime and society, from exile if there is no other possibility. That’s the reason why we created this European fund, as a collaborative effort to shed light on blackholes.”

An initial campaign to support Russian journalism

Distributing helmets, bulletproof vests and safety manuals, providing online training, psychological support and financial aid, and taking legal action: RSF has been moving ahead on all possible fronts via its Press Freedom Centre in Lviv, Ukraine since 11 March to meet the needs of journalists risking their lives to cover this war.

But Putin’s attack on Ukraine has also tightened censorship in Russia to such an extent that there is hardly any room left for reports that go beyond official statements. New laws forbid labeling the war in Ukraine as such, and threaten years of imprisonment if the fighting is reported differently than the Ministry of Defense dictates.

Hundreds of Russian media professionals, who had defied pressure from the authorities for a long time and countered the Kremlin propaganda with their independent reports, then left the country within a very short time. The JX Fund is starting a campaign to support the numerous journalists and media workers who have fled Russia and Belarus, and reaches out to donors to contribute to this unprecedented effort.

The JX Fund’s first grants will benefit three projects by Russian media professionals who worked for established Russian independent media. The editorial teams, currently scattered across seven countries, have already drafted concepts for their work in exile, the concrete implementation and further development of which will now be supported by the JX Fund. One pilot project is Novaya Gazeta Europe, the other two will not be named publicly for security reasons.

The campaign will encompass the whole journey from the road to exile to the building of sustainable media outlets accessible from their home countries. RSF and partners will undertake to prioritize a list of the most urgent relocations of journalists and family members seeking passage to the EU in the coming weeks. A call towards hubs will be launched to identify structures who could host media in exile within the EU and to start mainstreaming processes and services offered to these outlets.

In addition to the initial funding provided by the initiators Reporters without Borders (RSF),  Rudolf Augstein Foundation and Schöpflin Foundation, the JX Fund team would like to express special thanks to the first supporters:

  • Alfred Toepfer Foundation
  • Deutsche Telekom Foundation
  • ERSTE Foundation
  • The First Look Press Freedom Defense Fund
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Handelsblatt Media Group
  • The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, BKM
  • Ver.di
  • ZEIT Foundation