The “Critical Voices” fellowship program supports media professionals after they have fled conflict zones to continue their work in exile. In addition to support in acquiring the necessary residence permit, the media professionals were offered various training courses.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the media crackdown in Russia led many independent cultural workers and journalists to flee the country and caused a new wave of Belarusian journalists going into exile. Many of these people arrived in the EU with a 90-day visa for the Schengen Area, but with no real plan for what they would do once their visa ran out. Given the threat of persecution faced by critical journalists in these countries, there was – and still is – no option of returning home.
SUPPORT IN SECURING A STABLE RESIDENCY PERMIT AND FIRST STEPS
The “Critical Voices” grant program was designed together with Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT) as a quick-response fund for journalists whose residency permits are about to run out. Through this program, 46 journalists from Russia and Belarus have been provided with support in getting their German residency permit extended or applying for a more long-term visa, so that they can continue their work in exile.
CREATING LASTING CAREER PROSPECTS
In addition to monthly stipend payments, this program offers a suite of targeted services, such as legal advice, counseling, workshops, and language courses aimed at maximizing participants’ prospects of building a sustainable professional practice in their country of exile. These services are designed and delivered by MiCT together with external partners. The recipients of these grants were also provided with a place to work as well as access to production facilities, enabling them to efficiently continue their journalistic projects while participating in the program.
Project period: July – December 2022
Project partners: Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT), Reporters Without Borders
The project was supported by funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).