January 26, 2023

New consortium in support of independent media in the Middle East and North Africa

IMS (International Media Support) and Free Press Unlimited (FPU) have launched a programme to support the independent public interest media sector in the Middle East and North Africa as a complement to the two organisations’ existing engagements in the region

Independent media and journalists in the Middle East and North Africa face significant systemic challenges that undermine and severely restrict sector capacities to effectively serve public interests; remain independent and relevant to their audiences; and counter polarising discourses and disinformation.

As a consortium, with the financial support of the EU, the two organisations FPU and IMS are launching a new five-year programme to provide financial core support to independent media outlets and journalists. The financial support is combined with tailored capacity building, hackathons, training, mentoring and opportunities for networking and collaboration.

The aim of the programme is to provide long-term financial core support to improve sector capacities to safely produce and share verified information and high-quality public interest media content that more effectively reaches relevant audiences, including under-served groups.

IMS and FPU will work with media outlets and journalists to create greater business viability and to further develop content production. This will be done in combination with facilitation of regional coproduction and sharing of knowledge based on local ownership to provide a more sustainable and inclusive media sector.

First media outlets have been selected

Sixteen independent media outlets have been selected for a first round of financial core support for a period of two-and-a-half years via an open call for applications. The financial support will be blended with capacity building on organisational and business development and ensuring gender responsive content production.

Further, the Febrayer Network won an open call for tenders, which aim to strengthen a locally owned network of media outlets and advance regional collaboration on content and income generation. This is a key part of the programme’s ambition to cultivate a sustainable independent media environment in the region. The Network is an alliance of leading media organisations in the Middle East and North Africa officially stablished in 2019. The Network does joint projects with the Counter Academy being its flagship endeavour and providing peer-to-peer support, which has strengthened the work of independent and critical media in the region to provide reliable information and compelling narratives. Read more about the Febrayer Network here.

For more information about the launch of specific activities, please follow IMS and FPU. The programme is co-funded by the EU. Its contents are the sole responsibility of IMS and FPU and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. The programme ends 31 October 2026.

Source: IMS