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Call key data
NEWS - Journalism Partnerships – Pluralism
Creative Europe - Cross-Sectoral Strand
Estimated EU contribution per project
max. € 3,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Topic 2. “Journalism Partnerships - Pluralism”. Besides a purely economic aspect, independent media play a crucial and valuable role in societies and contribute to upholding the essential principles of media freedom and pluralism. This support seeks to protect news media sectors of special relevance to democracy and civic participation, such as local and regional media, community media, investigative journalism and organisations delivering public interest news. Support will target organisations with experience in media to put in cascading grants (i.e. regranting / support to third parties).
The European news media sectors play a crucial and valuable role in Europe. Yet, they are facing multiple challenges. Partially as a result of the digital shift, with readers shifting to online sources and traditional news outlets losing advertising revenues, the economic sustainability of professional journalism has come under pressure. Many media at the local level as well as those putting their public interest mission before profits, have had to close down, weakening media pluralism and posing risks for the good functioning of democracy.
- Increased innovation and creativity in business models, journalistic production processes and distribution processes;
- Increased interest in journalism, among various social groups, language groups and age groups;
- Increased viability of professionally produced journalistic content.
- Increased resilience, pluralism and editorial independence of media sectors at European level, such as local, regional and community media, investigative media or media specialised in public interest topics.
- Increased resilience of organisations active in the news media sectors and protection of the news media landscape.
- Improved uptake of new technologies across the targeted media sectors in as much this contributes to media pluralism and a diverse media landscape.
- Fostering repositories of knowledge about media sectors delivering public interest news (e.g. by detecting areas with low provision of high-quality content and/or in which media pluralism is strained).
This topic covers media sectors that are particularly relevant for democracy. Certain sectors having an important role for democratic debate lack the means to adapt to the digital environment, and phenomena such as shrinking newsrooms or media deserts can lead to a deterioration of pluralism. Support is thus needed for them to improve their position, adapt their methods, continue providing a first-hand source of original reporting to citizens, help keep decision-makers accountable and ultimately contribute to a more diverse and independent sector. Proposals must put in place funding schemes for news media entities and independent journalism. Accompanying activities may be proposed. Applicant organisations should be in a position to set up funding schemes (support to third parties) targeting news media outlets, organisations and, if needed, professionals, and in ways that enhance pluralistic media landscapes across the European Union. Non-profit and civil society organisations are particularly encouraged to apply.
The proposed activities must focus on news media sectors of special relevance to democracy and civic participation, i.e. the role they play in enhancing democracy, shaping the public debate and bringing benefits to their audiences and communities, instead of focusing just on profit. For the purpose of this call, these sectors are in particular:
- Local and regional media
- Independent and investigative journalism
- Organisations delivering public interest news/public service journalism (such as community, legal and civic journalism and media, news increasing transparency about the media)
Applicants must present, develop and implement a fund for independent media and organisations primarily active in one or more of these sectors. The funding schemes shall take the form of financial support to third parties. They will cover as many areas and news media organisations as possible.
They shall focus on activities that contribute to sustaining, improving or transforming the work of the targeted parties. Activities can among others consist of:
- Innovations in editorial production (e.g. formats, content), coverage and revenue models
- The improvement of distribution and dissemination of news
- The development and engagement of audiences and community-building strategies
- The development of technical tools applying to the above topics
- Training on the above topics
In addition to funding schemes, accompanying activities to the fund can be proposed (e.g. development of deontological and governance standards, budgetary readiness, development of criteria and indicators framing their support, repositories of knowledge, legal advice or trainings).
While putting in place a fund is compulsory, accompanying activities are optional, if relevant and based on the needs analysis.
A majority of the budget must be spent in the European union and activities must take place in a minimum of 4 European Union countries. Proposals should focus on areas with low provision of the specific news described above or in media markets where media pluralism is strained. The needs of smaller newsrooms may also be addressed.
Activities must include concrete deliverables and set clear, objectively verifiable and quantifiable performance indicators for the mid-term and the end of the project. The estimated reach must be more precise than the sum of available distribution channels, and should be substantiated by a detailed outreach plan as well as proof of interest from the target groups.
All projects need to respect widely accepted professional media standards. The chosen standards and criteria should be indicated in the proposal and confirmed with a signed Declaration on Standards & Independence (Annexed to the Application form). In cases of support given to editorial work, third parties need to operate with full editorial independence.
All Partnerships should consider the ecological footprint of the activities they propose, and where relevant, describe the strategies to ensure a more sustainable and environmentally-respectful media sectors.
Regions / countries for funding
Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Liechtenstein, Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна)
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries i.e.:
- Creative Europe Participating Countries:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories)
- non-EU countries (listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Creative EuropeProgramme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature - list of participating countries)
- Creative Europe Participating Countries:
Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person.
International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’ . Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
The host organisations of Creative Europe Desks are eligible as coordinator or beneficiary in open calls, if they have procedures to segregate the project management and the information provision functions and if they are able to demonstrate cost separation (i.e., that their project grants do not cover any costs which are covered by their other grant). This requires the following:
- use of analytical accounting which allows for a cost accounting management with cost allocation keys and cost accounting codes AND application of these keys and codes to identify and separate the costs (i.e., to allocate them to either one of the two grants)
- recording of all real costs incurred for the activities that are covered by the two grants (including the indirect costs)
- allocation of the costs in a way that leads to a fair, objective and realistic result.
Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).
other eligibility criteria
Proposals must be submitted either by single applicants or by a consortium of at least two applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities).
The call is open to organisations which are active in the news media sector (incl. media associations, NGOs, non-profit organisations, civil society organisations, public authorities, international organisations, universities, research centres, journalistic funds and training organisations focusing on media professionals, profitmaking entities, foundations, etc).
Financial support to third parties is allowed for grants and prizes under the following conditions:
- the calls must be open, published widely and conform to EU standards concerning transparency, equal treatment, conflict of interest and confidentiality; − the calls must remain open for at least two months;
- the outcome of the call must be published on the participants’ websites, including a description of the selected projects, award dates, project durations, and final recipient legal names and countries;
- the calls must have a clear European dimension.
- Financial support to third parties will be accepted in projects which foresee exchange programmes for journalists and other media professionals, support to attend trainings or events, support to journalists and media outlets for collaborative journalistic productions, support for legal advice, support for the acquisition, development or maintenance of technical tools for collaborative journalism, support for events in these fields and/or prizes for collaboration or innovation (topic 1) and which put in place funding schemes for news media entities and independent journalism (topic 2).
- Your project application must clearly specify why financial support to third parties is needed, how it will be managed and provide a list of the different types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support. The proposal must also clearly describe the results to be obtained.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
Proposal page limits and layout:
- Part A to be filled in directly online (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
- Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system
- Part C to be filled in directly online (containing additional project data)
mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
- Declaration on Standards and Independence (from coordinator and all partners) (template available in the Submission System)
Page limit - part B: 70 pages