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Grants awarded to teams of freelance journalists for cross-border investigations


Grants awarded to teams of freelance journalists for cross-border investigations

Picture of Zlatina Siderova
Zlatina Siderova — Programme Lead Grants
April 11, 2023

The IJ4EU Freelancer Support Scheme will support fourteen freelance teams in its second round with €236,000.

An independent jury has selected fourteen teams from across Europe to receive support in the second round of the European Journalism Centres IJ4EU Freelancer Support Scheme, offering funding, mentoring, training and networking opportunities.

The Freelancer Support Scheme is designed for teams of journalists working predominantly outside of newsroom structures who collaborate on cross-border investigations on topics of public interest in Europe and beyond.

The selected projects 

The external jury selected fourteen proposals on topics ranging from migration, and sexual abuse towards asylum seekers,  to corruption, disinformation and the environment. The awarded teams include members based in seventeen different countries. 

The fourteen projects and the respective amounts they have been awarded are, in no particular order:

  • a cross-border investigation team explores how EU countries handle the bodies of people who have lost their lives en route to Europe, mapping the proliferation of unmarked grave sites along the EU borders, and asking whether bodies' rights to identification and family reunification are being upheld - €20,000.00
  • a cross-border team of journalists from Lebanon, Spain and Germany will investigate sexual violence against asylum seekers - €18,910.00
  • a cross-border team of three freelance journalists will investigate the distribution of medicines and psychotropic drugs to people on the move along the Balkan route - €15,003.00
  • An investigation about the dirty underbelly of the bluefin tuna business in the sea between Malta, Italy and Libya. What makes illegal fishing thriving while traditional fishermen continue to bear the brunt of an industry in which a few have become millionaires or billionaires while others, the Mediterranean and European consumers suffer the consequences of corruption, criminality and environmental damage? - €20,000.00
  • a cross-border investigation by three freelance journalists on the impact of heat on the health of agricultural workers in Italy and Spain - €9,650.00
  • an investigation by a team of journalists from Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Romania, exposing companies based in EU & NATO countries that accept to fuel Russian military vehicles based in Transnistria, a territory controlled by Moscow, despite the sanctions against Russia - €19,900.00
  • a team of four journalists on two continents unpick the persistence of a few selected environmental issues. The project is also testing a collaboration model between local and regional titles in a Romanian press network - €20,000.00
  • a cross-border investigation by a team of freelance journalists from Italy, Romania, and Turkey exploring seismic code application in European countries with the highest earthquake risk, uncovering evidence of negligence and corruption - €17,500.00
  • two freelance journalists based in Italy and Spain will investigate nurdle pollution in the EU, describing its sources, analysing the risks it poses to both marine life and human health, and exploring the regulatory loopholes that make it difficult to hold polluters accountable -  €17,650.00
  • two freelance journalists based in Lithuania and Latvia will investigate the migration situation on the Lithuania - Belarus and Latvia - Belarus border, the criminalisation of humanitarian aid and dangerous human rights situations - €13,682.00
  • two freelance journalists will embark on an investigative project involving in-depth interviews with Russian Prisoners of War, exploring their sense of responsibility in taking part in the war of aggression - €19,520.00
  • a team of two freelance journalists from Finland and Belgium will investigate the daily cross-border road transport of puppies within the European Union in a project combining journalism and scientific research - €15,640.00
  • a cross-border investigation exploring the spread and impact of pro-Russian propaganda through deepfake images and videos in Italy and Spain - €9,995.00
  • a cross-border team of journalists will investigate how disinformation systems perpetuate unrest or undermine governments around the world - €18,900.00

About the Freelancer Support Scheme

Managed by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), the Freelancer Support Scheme is one of the two grants of the Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund, which supports cross-border, collaborative journalism in the European Union and beyond. The Freelancer Support Scheme runs in parallel to the Investigation Support Scheme, managed by the International Press Institute (IPI).

Altogether, IJ4EU has allocated more than €1.23 million in grants in 2022/23, alongside other forms of assistance such as mentoring, practical support and legal help. Approximately €900,000 has been distributed through the Investigation Support Scheme and more than €330,000 through the Freelancer Support Scheme.

IJ4EU also honours excellence in cross-border investigative journalism with cash prizes. The winners of this year’s IJ4EU Impact Award, managed by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, were announced on 31 March.

Read more about the IJ4EU fund and why we’re dedicated to supporting investigative journalism.

IJ4EU is co-funded by the European Commission as a Preparatory Action. It is implemented by a consortium led by the International Press Institute (IPI) in partnership with the European Journalism Centre and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom in Leipzig.

Interested in learning more about projects previously funded by IJ4EU? Check out the projects section on the IJ4EU site.


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