Competitive Call from ARIJ’s AFCN and FPU
September 28, 2023
Free Press Unlimited (FPU), in collaboration with Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN) from Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), is implementing a programme called “Core Support for Independent Media in the Southern Neighborhood” funded by the European Union from 2021 to 2026. The main objective of this programme is to provide comprehensive bespoke core support to pluralism, independence, and resilience of the media sector in the Southern Neighborhood to withstand existing threats. The overall strategy of the programme aims to:
1-Improve sector capacities to safely produce and share more high-quality content within and outside the Southern Neighbourhood.
2-Improve business viability and resilience among the independent media outlets in the Southern Neighbourhood.
3-Strengthen existing regional networks to more efficiently convene communities of practice in the Southern Neighbourhood.
Within the framework of this programme and on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information 2023, a grant of 20,000 EURO maximum will be available for each media outlet who wins the tender. This grant will be awarded to three media organisations operating in the MENA region, specifically targeting the following Arab countries: Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The grant is designed to support media organizations in enhancing their pre-publication fact-checking capabilities, thereby promoting accountable and trusted journalism in the region.
Organisations are invited to submit an application, including a budget in which 70% maximum of the total costs will be covered by the programme, with the expectation that the remaining 30% of the total budget comes from other sources of funding (co-financing). Please note that the part covered by the programme cannot exceed 20,000 euros.
The project aims to support media organizations in the MENA region through a competitive call for proposals. The grant will be distributed to selected organizations based on their proposed activities in the following three primary areas:
Secondment of a fact-checker: The grant will fund the secondment of a fact-checker to work within the selected organization for a period of six months (between January and June 2024). An allocation of 3000 EURO will be dedicated to ARIJ/AFCN from the fund to be disbursed to the seconded fact-checker as monthly payments based on set key performance indicators.
Capacity Building: Resources will be allocated for capacity-building initiatives, including fact-checking training sessions and workshops throughout the six month period (between January and June 2024). The organization can choose to use a part of the fund to attend ARIJ16 annual forum – the only expense to be accepted in retrospect.
Operational Support: Financial assistance will be provided to cover various operational expenses, ensuring the organizations have the necessary resources for day-to-day functioning for a period of six months (between January and June 2024).
Area 1 – Secondment of a fact-checker:
- The grant will facilitate the integration of pre-publication fact-checking procedures into the editorial processes.
- An Arab fact-checker will be selected from the MENA region (based on the location of the organisation) through a pre-selection process conducted by the AFCN team and experts, to work with the organization on-site at their office and online.
- ARIJ/AFCN will provide coaching and mentorship to ensure a smooth and productive collaboration between the media organization and the seconded fact-checker.
- The process will be executed through the ARIJ – AFCN Marketplace, promoting cross-functional opportunities between media organizations and fact-checkers.
Area 2 – Capacity Building:
- Media organizations will present proposals for capacity-building initiatives focused on combating misinformation and enhancing fact-checking skills.
- ARIJ/AFCN will offer three spots for interested organisations to participate in its fact-checking workshop, held in conjunction with the 16th Annual Forum. In addition, ARIJ/AFCN will cover registration fees for media organizations interested in sending representatives to attend ARIJ 16th annual forum in Amman, Jordan between Dec 1 and 3. The specific details and costs related to travel and accommodation will be the responsibility of the interested organisations and can be allocated from the overall budget calculation.
Area 3 – Operational Support:
- This area focuses on supporting the operational costs, fostering a mindset that recognizes the importance of fact-checking before publication. Operational costs may include travel and logistics to approved events, tools and subscriptions, and editorial support for members/departments working with the seconded fact-checker.
Therefore, the following expenses are considered permissible:
- Compensation at a fair percentage for pertinent staff, considering their partial engagement with the fact-checker and the project.
- Costs associated with training to promote fact-checking within media organizations and address misinformation and disinformation within the mentioned organizations.
- Travel and logistical costs linked to training sessions, workshops, and conferences (e.g., ARIJ 16th annual Forum).
- Tools and subscriptions pertinent to enabling fact-checking within media organizations.
- Editorial assistance for departments collaborating with the seconded fact-checker and fostering a fact-checking mindset.
Expenditures not eligible for reimbursement include:
- Staff and/or contractuals whose tasks do not directly align with the call’s objectives.
- Inflation adjustments and losses due to currency exchange rates.
- Taxes unrelated to the project’s scope.
- Legal costs for matters not pertaining to the project.
- Costs related to vehicles, equipment or construction.
- Reserves for contingencies, emergencies, or general purposes.
- Payments towards existing debts or interests.
- Expenditure on political, religious or entertainment activities.
- Expenses incurred before or after the project contract’s specified duration.
Media organizations interested in this grant opportunity are invited to submit proposals that clearly outline their plans and strategies in the three areas of support.
Proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee, composed of members from FPU and AFCN/ARIJ, based on specific criteria. You can check the Selection Criteria.
Application deadline: Wednesday October 18 – at 16:00 Amman Time (+3 GMT).