The new realities, dominated by disinformation and fake news, are turning the media into a vital tool for ensuring democracy and freedom of expression. In our country, a special role in this respect belongs to the local media. To strengthen this sector, on Wednesday, October 26, the call for grants was launched within the project “Capacity-building program and grants for media start-ups and regional media”, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Agency of Development of Slovakia.
Thus, at the end of November, ten local media institutions will be selected, which will benefit from the project.
“For the EU, media freedom is a pillar of democracy. At a time when war has returned to our continent, it is necessary that journalists not only speak and tell the truth but also have the conviction that they are telling the truth. For this reason, it is extremely important to ensure a favorable environment for the mass media, so that citizens have full access to any transparent, impartial, and fair information”, said the Head of the EU Delegation in the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks.
According to the official, in the Republic of Moldova, the local press plays a vital role for the population in rural areas. For this reason, in 2021, the European Union, in partnership with SlovakAid, decided to launch the project for local media.
“Slovakia has been supporting the Moldovan people for more than 13 years. I am proud that the EU has decided to show its trust in the Slovak Agency for Cooperation, in the implementation of this very relevant and significant project, which focuses on the transfer of experience and media culture from European countries. We are talking about a professional approach to journalists and the media, and we believe that these are the key factors for the success of the project. It is very important to show smaller newsrooms how professionals work and how work processes could be improved”, said the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovakia to the Republic of Moldova, Pavol Ivan.
The executive director of People in Need Slovakia, Andrea Najvirtová, claims that the primary goal of the program is to help local media in Moldova to improve their content creation skills, but also to be able to provide relevant and reliable information, using a variety of formats.
“This will help local media to improve their financial sustainability by capitalizing on new income diversification strategies. The project will start in January 2022 and run until January 2024. The selection process involves two stages. In the first stage, participants will fill out a form. The second stage involves a series of online interviews. The selection committee is made up of the five organizations that implement the program: the NGO “People in Need” from Slovakia and Poland, the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, the CU SENS project, as well as an independent expert representing the Moldovan mass media”.
Investigative journalist Olga Ceaglei, the co-founder of the CU SENS project, was also present at the event to launch the call for grants.
“Doing journalism in the Republic of Moldova is a big challenge. We managed to become a voice that puts pressure on the authorities, only with the support of media NGOs. This is the only way we were able to secure the necessary financial support to exist and maintain our independence. With a media market controlled by interest groups, it is very difficult to rely on advertising money. Then, the only alternative is granted”.
“The program is a great opportunity for journalists who have to work in newsrooms where they don’t feel comfortable, just because they face fewer financial challenges. They can create independent media projects, in which they can exercise their profession honestly”, concluded Olga Ceaglei.
All organizations selected for participation will have the opportunity to apply for and benefit from the grant. The maximum amounts are up to 10,000 euros for start-ups and up to 20,000 euros for already existing institutions. The amounts will largely depend on the needs of the institutions.
The program is financed by the European Union and implemented by the Slovak Development Agency. The partnership is provided by Thomson Media gGmbH, the CU SENS project, People in Need Slovakia, People in Need Czech Republic, and the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (ASPE).
More details about the project can be found HERE.