Across Europe, populist movements are changing the political landscape and eroding faith in democratic institutions. In some countries, governments are cracking down on independent media, the judiciary and civil society. They are rolling back progressive social policies and demonising minorities and migrants. Amid rising nationalism, Euroscepticism, far-right extremism, inequality and disenchantment with globalism, they have brushed aside values at the heart of the European project: pluralism, multilateralism, respect for the rule of law.
The result is Europe’s biggest political transformation since the end of the Cold War. At stake are not only the liberal democratic foundations of the Western postwar order. Many fear for democracy itself, as authoritarian alternatives enter the mainstream.
Our goal is to unleash the power of independent journalism to scrutinise the issues, trends and events shaping the future of democracy in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe.
Our geographical focus spans Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, from the Baltic Sea to the Aegean. We have correspondents in the Visegrad Four countries of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary as well as in the Balkan states of Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia. Our coverage also touches on Greece, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia.
ERSTE Foundation, Nicholas Puech Foundation
The specific objective is to create a networking and granting scheme for journalists from the V4 and WB regions and set up a system of financial and editorial support that enable them to explore in-depth trends and phenomena, locally or through cross-border collaboration, and communicate this to the widest possible audience through multiple channels.
The overall goal of the initiative is to establish an international journalism network and distribution platform aimed at strengthening the capacity of journalists to report systemically on populist, authoritarian, and other illiberal trends in the V4 and WB countries and so contribute to public understanding of these trends and their consequences.
There are two main activity streams:
- Strengthening journalistic production of public-interest content:
– Prominent correspondents’ network in V4 to provide regular coverage and be a focal point in the targeted countries.
– Fellowships for Journalistic Excellence – 10 fellows will be selected each year to participate in the renewed professional development program.
– Grants for journalists – up to 20 grants awarded annually through open calls on topics of digital rights and democracy trends
– Fund for collaboration with authors and outlets, to foster quality coverage of topics related to democratic developments
– Outreach of stories produced to be secured through social media and syndication to media partners on a national, regional, and international level.
- Networking and outreach opportunities:
– Working visits and newsroom placements for journalists from the Visegrad region who want to do research and field reporting in Balkan countries,
– Annual networking event, featuring an annual round-up report, marking key trends, actors and developments, gathering fellows, contributors and partners.
- Journalists and media
- Public at large