Hannah Arendt Initiative
We are a network of civil society organizations that, at the initiative and with funding from the German Foreign Office and the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, protects and supports journalists from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus who are under threat as they conduct their important work.
Among the initial Hannah Arendt Initiative pilot projects are training measures, regional scholarship programs and exile journalism centers in countries abroad as well as corresponding measures for journalists living in exile in Germany.
Partners in this protection program include DW Akademie, the European Fund for Journalism in Exile (JX-Fund), MiCT – Media in Cooperation and Transition, and the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). The network will be opened later to additional partners so that the assistance offered can be further expanded.
The program is committed to constitutional state neutrality. Funding is based solely on unbiased criteria and independent juries free of state influence.
The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began two years ago, caused many media professionals to flee into exile. They often continue their important work there. The JX Fund was founded to support them. This has been achieved so far:
A study on gendered disinformation shows that Russian reports paint a negative picture of Ukrainian female journalists. The study was prepared as part of the ECPMF’s „Voices of Ukraine“ program. The authors are from the NGO „Women in Media.“
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 200 media outlets have closed. MiCT’s Fellowship for Critical Voices supports the next generation of professionals financially, psychologically, by providing equipment and more. Meet Severyn Shalayskiy, one of the MiCT fellows.
A Russian journalist in exile and participant in DW Akademie’s Space for Freedom program looks back on the years since the start of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, his decision to go into exile and the new life he has built.
DW Akademie: Space for Freedom
Through the pilot project Space for Freedom, DW Akademie and local partner organizations are helping create new perspectives for journalists and media working in exile.
The project is aimed at exiled journalists originally from Afghanistan, Belarus and Russia. It is also developing structures and creating resources to enable exiled journalists and media outlets to continue to report critically.
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom: Voices of Ukraine
The program offers 120 stipends for journalists on the ground in Ukraine. The stipends provide these journalists with an income that enables them to continue their work and report independently. An additional fund within the program will be used to replace outdated or broken equipment such as cameras, computers and mobile phones.
In addition, Voices of Ukraine supports the Journalists-in-Residence program in Kosovo, run by ECPMF and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).
JX Fund: Rebuilding editorial structures in exile
The JX Fund is helping media workers quickly and flexibly to continue their work after they have fled war and crisis zones. It aims to strengthen independent media in exile beyond a current phase of high attention and to support the building of sustainable media outlets accessible for their home countries.
Media in Cooperation and Transition: Critical Voices Fellowship
The MICT Fellowship for Critical Voices is aimed at media professionals from war and crisis regions who are acutely threatened by political persecution, censorship or discrimination in their home countries. This year, the initial focus is on supporting media professionals from Afghanistan, Belarus, Russia, Myanmar and Ukraine.
The Fellowship is intended to provide media professionals with quick and uncomplicated support, initially until the end of the year, so that they can safely pursue their valuable work and continue to inform the target groups in their home countries.
“Free journalism is the best antidote to human rights violations and the abuse of power. Particularly right now, we are witnessing once again how indispensable the work of journalists is, who, for example, report on the protests of intrepid women and girls in Iran or Russia’s horrific war crimes in Ukraine. They are all too often persecuted, arrested, beaten up and murdered for their work. In order to continue their work, these courageous people need safe havens, employment opportunities and support. That is why we are now creating the Hannah Arendt Initiative, an emergency program for media workers and journalists offering tangible protection and support measures.”
“Journalists are increasingly becoming targets of dictators, anti-democrats and extremists, as they shake the propaganda of the Potemkin villages in Moscow, Kabul, Tehran and around the world with their free and independent reporting. They are powerful, self-confident voices in the struggle for freedom and self-determination, for democracy and peace. The Hannah Arendt Initiative sends an important signal of support for freedom of expression and freedom of the press and for the protection of journalists, especially in these times. With this initiative, we are providing targeted support for journalists who have fled their home countries so that they can continue their important work in exile. (…)”