Digital Rights Programme Grants for Journalists, Researchers and CSOs

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Journalists, researchers, civil society organisations and media outlets from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Romania are invited to apply for two types of grants to create material exploring the links between digital rights violations and the decline of media freedoms.

Illustration: BIRN/Igor Vujcic

According to numerous reports, the lack of awareness about the influence of digitalisation on professional reporting in the region is directly linked to the lack of research. Media in the region are struggling to reach their target audiences while also combating the immense growth of media operated by government-organised NGOs, smear campaigns and cyberattacks, fake news ‘factories’ and coordinated attacks on people’s reputations.

Over the past decade, journalistic techniques have evolved as well, as the fast-changing world of technology needs professional journalism that can respond to these emerging challenges without sacrificing ethics or standards.

BIRN is offering two types of grants to interested parties from the target countries to explore, expose and address digital rights challenges through different formats:

  1. Research Paper Grants
  2. Digital Rights Story Grants for Journalists and Media

Research Paper Grants

BIRN Hub is calling for proposals for three research papers from the six Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro), focused on the following issues:

1.1. Big tech companies and local media in the Balkans;

1.2. Media and their role in influencing the digital environment;

1.3. State and non-state actors regulating/influencing online media outlets.

The three research papers that are being commissioned by BIRN are intended to provide stakeholders and other interested parties with comprehensive reports that provide reliable data to help them better understand the digital environment as well as enhance their planning processes by providing them with clear insights into the effects of digital development. All the research papers should be finalised and sent to BIRN by February 15, 2022.

To find out more about the grants, application process and requirements, see the detailed explanation here.

Deadline: October 30, 2021.

All clarification requests should be submitted to Aida Ajanović: [email protected]

Digital Rights Story Grants for Journalists and Media

As technical attacks on online media, pressures on journalists and misuse of digital tools have increased, BIRN is calling on interested journalists, media organisations and media outlets to apply for story grants to shed light on the links between trends in the digital ecosystem and the problems of the media landscape in the region.

Whether you would like to write a feature, investigation, analysis or op-ed, we would be interested to see your proposal.

Financial and editorial support will be provided to individuals, teams and organisations who can explore the link between the state of media freedoms and:

  • Information security breaches;
  • Information privacy and personal data breaches;
  • Pressures due to statements and activities on the internet;
  • Manipulation and propaganda in the digital environment;
  • Holding technological intermediaries liable;
  • The blocking and filtering of content.

Story requirements

  • The story must deal with the link between the state of media freedoms and digital rights violations in the targeted region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Romania).
  • The story must be relevant to the Balkan region.
  • We are looking for in-depth articles that provide new information or have a unique angle on the issue.
  • Each story should be around 1,500 words long.
  • Each selected story must be published within a maximum of two months of receipt of the first installment of the grant.

We are offering a comprehensive, two-month programme that includes: financial support, on-the-job mentoring and editorial sessions to produce high-quality journalism, and educational sessions focused on digital security for media.

Each journalist will receive a story-grant of 1,000 euros to support their reporting. If you are a journalist or media organisation and you have explored some of the above-mentioned challenges and their effects on the media landscape, send us your story proposal.

BIRN’s Digital Rights Programme aims to contribute to media freedom in the South-East Europe region by identifying the main types of digital rights violations and informing key stakeholders on the most pressing digital rights challenges that are jeopardising professional journalism and fact-based reporting. Find out more about such violations in BIRN’s regional database.

How to apply

Send us your story proposal using the grant application form, downloadable here:

Download the story grant form

Download the required declaration

Deadline: October 30, 2021.

Please send the completed form together with a signed declaration and your CV to [email protected] no later than October 30, 2021.