Following an in-depth assessment spearheaded by UNESCO in consultation with its Field Offices, 42 proposals have been preselected for funding under the GMDF. Over two thirds of these proposals were submitted by national/grassroot organizations (29), in addition to those submitted by regional (5) and global (8) entities.

In terms of geographic scope, 12 of the preselected submissions have activities in Africa, including in new beneficiary countries in Africa and at the regional level. The numbers of projects focused on Asia and the Pacific (12) and the Arab States (5) have increased vis-à-vis the proposals preselected out of the 2020 Call for Partnerships.

The preselected proposals will help advance the Outputs of the Global Media Defence Fund through a diverse array of innovative activities, going from strategic litigation cases to challenge legal provisions preventing journalists from doing their job, to the establishment of a mobile legal assistance channel for journalists seeking legal protection and the creation of specialized protection teams for the legal defense of women journalists.

The support to the projects selected out of this Call for Partnerships will start in the Fall 2021 and continue throughout 2022, for a total of USD 1.3 million.

The Global Media Defence Fund is a UNESCO Multi-Partner Trust Fund established within the framework of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom, triggered by the initial donations of the United Kingdom and Canada, and under the overall umbrella of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Administered by UNESCO, the Fund is a responsive and effective mechanism to support not-for-profit organizations working on the ground at the local, regional, and international level in the undertaking or upscaling of projects that bolster journalists’ legal protection and/or enhance media freedom through investigative journalism or strategic litigation.

The 2020 Call of the Global Media Defence Fund has supported the implementation of 41 projects around the globe, for a total of USD 1.3 million. These initiatives are directly benefitting over 1700 journalists, 170 lawyers and 65 civil society organizations, among many others. The GMDF is contributing to a safer and free environment for journalists by supporting over 850 cases of legal assistance (legal consultations, representation, etc.), 46 strategic litigation cases, and 110 investigations on crimes against journalists, as well as the establishment of over 10 networks of lawyers, the operationalization of over 10 legal units for the provision of legal assistance to journalists and media, the production of 12 legal handbooks for journalists, and over 35 capacity-building activities for journalists and lawyers – among many other activities.

To learn more about the projects being supported by the Global Media Defence Fund, you can read our interviews with some of the beneficiaries of the Fund’s 2020 Call for Partnerships.

The Global Media Defence Fund is implemented with the generous financial support of:


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