Reporting Democracy

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Western Balkans and Visegrad Four (V4) Countries


Reporting Democracy is a cross-border journalistic platform dedicated to exploring where democracy is headed across large parts of Europe.


In addition to generating a steady stream of features, analysis and interviews by our own correspondents, we support local journalists by commissioning stories and providing grants for in-depth features and investigations.


ERSTE Foundation

Main Objective

The overall goal is to establish an international journalism network and distribution platform aimed at strengthening the capacity of media to report systemically on populist, authoritarian and other illiberal trends in V4 and WB countries, thus contributing to public understanding of these trends and their consequences.

Specific Objectives

  • Create a networking and granting scheme for journalists from the V4 and WB regions.
  • Set up a journalistic network that will enable them to explore populist and authoritarian phenomena in depth, locally or through cross-border collaboration, and to communicate their findings to as wide a section of the public as possible through multiple channels.

Main Activities

RD Launch Event – Reporting Democracy Conference in Budapest

Around 100 journalists, academics and activists gathered for the May 31 Reporting Democracy Conference, held to mark the launch of the initiative.

  • Correspondents’ Network:

For the project, BIRN has recruited one correspondent/coordinator in each V4 country: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. This model is based on BIRN’s experience and lessons learned from developing the network in the Balkans. It ensures a consistent local media presence and helps guarantee the visibility, quality and relevance of journalistic production.

Correspondents/coordinators are accomplished early-to-mid-career journalists engaged on a part-time basis, delivering articles in various genres – interview, analysis, feature, multimedia, et cetera. Articles are published by BIRN on a special page created for this project. They are made available for republication by the ERSTE Foundation and are offered for syndication to media partners in the V4, Balkans and beyond. (BIRN has over 100 established media partnerships in the WB region and internationally.)

BIRN will later expand the network from the core group of journalists.

  • Story grants:

Three open calls are planned for journalists interested in reporting on illiberal tendencies and becoming members of the network.

Reporting Democracy offers a limited number of reporting grants to journalists in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe to pursue in-depth features or investigations on issues affecting democracy in Visegrad Four countries and the Balkans.

Grants are available for individual journalists or teams with ideas for in-depth features or investigations with a substantial cross-border element.

  • Annual round-up report and public debate:

The editorial team will prepare an annual round-up report marking key trends, actors and events in the targeted countries. The annual round-up will give a comparative overview of key trends and developments throughout the targeted countries, all related to illiberal tendencies, and serve as a basis for cross-regional debate. The debate will feature advisory board members, project partners and journalists that have participated in the programme in the past year.

Target Groups

Journalists, media professionals, editors, the expert community.

Main Implementer



Opening Conference in Budapest