Reliable and critical information about COVID-19 is essential for people to protect themselves against the coronavirus, to mitigate risks, and to limit the number of casualties. In order to ensure that independent media and journalists in Africa can fulfill their role in providing reliable information, Free Press Unlimited set up the COVID-19 emergency fund.
The COVID-19 emergency fund is specifically geared to assist media professionals from African countries severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis and for emergency situations related to COVID-19. The goal is to ensure that media professionals can resume work as quickly as possible.
Please note that this emergency fund cannot support requests of financial hardship of livelihood due to COVID-19.
The following types of support are possible:
1. Protection measures
Journalists planning to cover the COVID-19 outbreak should take preventative measures to protect themselves against infections. The following protection tools/gear can be granted through the emergency fund:
- Hand sanitiser
- Protective gloves
- Face masks
- Body suits
- Antimicrobial wipes
2. Security measures
Free Press Unlimited can support media professionals and their families receiving severe threats because of their COVID-19 coverage with security measures, including costs to temporarily flee an unsafe or vulnerable situation, temporary support for a safe house, or protection tools (cameras, security guards, etc.).
3. Digital security
Media professionals and media organisations covering the COVID-19 situation in repressive or authoritarian regimes might be monitored. In order to protect these journalists and their data, Free Press Unlimited can offer the following:
- Protection: digital tools such as VPNs and UB keys
- Digital security courses through Totem
- Referrals to digital security experts for risk assessments and advice
4. Psychological support
Journalists covering COVID-19 could face unusual challenges and situations which can contribute to stress or trauma. They can receive advice, referral and funds to seek psychological assistance.
5. Legal assistance
Free Press Unlimited can provide support for a lawyer or a legal expert for journalists who are detained or face prosecution because of reporting on COVID-19.
Requirements for support
- The application concerns a media organisation or a practicing media professional in an African country;
- The media organisation or media professional is covering COVID-19 or is affected by it;
- The emergency situation is a direct result of your work in the media;
- The applicant understands assistance is not structural but provided on an incidental (one-time) basis;
- The applicant understands that the aim of our support is to continue the work or resume to work as soon as possible;
- The situation can be confirmed by at least two trusted sources.
To apply to for emergency support, please fill in the secure application form here.
For additional questions you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Free Press Unlimited office by calling +31 20 8000 400. You will receive a response to your request as soon as possible.