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EU to launch 'rapid response mechanism' for press freedom violations as part of €4.2m fund

The European Union has opened up €4.2m (£3.8m) in funding for projects supporting media freedom and investigative journalism, including a “rapid response mechanism” for press freedom violations.

The pilot response mechanism is said to be “geared at mitigating the consequences of the recently observed deterioration of press and media freedom in certain EU member states and candidate countries”.

It will “provide tangible protection for journalists and will encompass fact-finding, advocacy, monitoring, informing the European public and awareness raising”, according to the European Commission.

The project will receive €1.5m from the funding pot and looks set to support the activities of a consortium of press freedom and journalist safety organisations working within the EU and candidate countries.

The Commission said the mechanism will “bring violations to the forefront, and will provide practical help to journalists under threat”

The proposal follows the alarming murders of European journalists in recent years, which have failed to deliver justice to families.

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb near her home in Malta in October 2017. Slovakian investigative reporter Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February last year.

Also, TV journalist Victoria Marinova was killed in October last year, although her death may be unrelated to her profession.

Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul in October last year. Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership.

Also set to receive EU funding are proposals for a cross-border investigative journalism fund (€1.4m) and a fund for between three and five projects supporting independent, collaborative journalism within the EU (€1.3m).

The European Commission’s call for proposals opened on 18 July and runs until 27 September this year.

Its maximum rate of co-financing for any project proposal is capped at 90 per cent of eligible costs.

The EU called for three similar proposals for projects promoting “quality journalism” and media cooperation across borders back in February,  with a total budget of €2.2m made available.

The UK Government has also announced it is establishing a £2m fund to back public interest journalism focused on local news outlets.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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