East Africa Journalist Defence Network

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ARTICLE19 Emergency Support Fund for Journalists in Distress

ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa operates an Emergency Support Fund to help journalists in distress from Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. This fund is managed from Nairobi by the Senior Programme Officer in charge of safety and security, assisted by the Steering Committee. The Committee is made up of representatives from all four countries.

How it works

The Emergency Support Fund provides small-scale financial and/or material support to journalists who are unable to perform their work as a result of violence or intimidation in Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

  • The support is provided on a one-off basis and includes medical and legal assistance.
  • In some cases, it can be extended to members of the journalists’ families if they are also affected.
  • It can also help with relocation when a journalist is forced to flee his/her country.
  • Preference is given to journalists working in their home countries but those in exile can also be supported  at the discretion of the Steering Committee

Cases can either be brought directly to the attention of Article 19, or can come through its partners or through the Fund’s Steering Committee. The journalists in distress or a referee/contact person starts by completing a form which is used by the Steering Committee to verify the case. A thorough evaluation of each case is made by gathering information about eminent risks and the most effective ways of dealing with them.

These could include:

  • Issuing a public statement to draw international attention to a case
  • In high risk cases, evacuating the journalist from his/her country temporarily
  • Giving the journalist practical advice, support and information on reducing risk levels and threats.
  • Making referrals to partners and other organisations to help the journalists find other sources of support.

The Steering Committee processes applications on a case-by-case basis. They do this as quickly as possible once all the required information has been submitted. The Committee reserves the right to refuse any application. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision either by email or phone.

If approved, the Emergency Support Fund will pay a maximum of $5,000 per case. In very exceptional circumstances, the Steering Committee will consider larger amounts.

Who is eligible?

The first priority is journalists who are at immediate risk in their home countries due to their professional work are eligible for support. Cases of journalists who are in exile will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please note: Applications will not be approved if the following conditions apply

  • The journalist has received similar assistance for the same case from any other organisation.
  • The facts are misrepresented or false information provided about the case.
  • The support being sought is for an organisation rather than individual journalists.

The Fund is intended to help journalists in distress. The final decision will be made by the Steering Committee and will depend on sufficient funds being available from the Emergency Support Fund.

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