Q&A – Call for Proposals “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans”

Source/Author: Safejournalists.net
Source/Photo: Safejournalists.net

ZAGREB, 14.08.2017. – Here you can find answers to questions regarding the propositions of the Call for Proposals “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans” (open from July 25 until August 31, 2017).


Question 1, submitted on July 26, 2017 by Dijana Pribačić Jurić, Udruga za nezavisnu medijsku kulturu:

Regarding the Call for Proposals for the Small Grants Programme “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the WesternBalkans” could you please clarify to us – CSOs from Croatia can take part in the project only as associates or contractors?

Answer to Question 1:

CSOs registered in EU member states (including Croatia and Slovenia), or in IPA countries not included in this Call (Albania and Turkey) cannot apply in the role of applicants or co-applicants (partners). However they can act as associates or contractors, i.e. providers of specific services within the project.

Actions must take place in the following five countries of the Western Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. Exceptionally, some actions can take place out of the designated countries, yet within either EU member states or in Albania or Turkey if they contribute to the goals of the project.


Question 2, submitted on August 3, 2017 by Nevena Rsumović, Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CIJS):

We are considering applying to the call for proposals “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans”. However, we are not sure if we are eligible considering that the official founder (as per the registration document) of our organization is the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS/NUNS), who is the leader on the project “Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety”. We are looking forward to clarification of this matter.

Answer to Question 2:

Any legal entity which falls within the categories of eligibility of applicants and co-applicants can apply for the grant in the scope of this Call for Proposals“, with the exception of the following regional journalist associations that have contractual obligation to implement the project Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for advocating media freedom and journalists’ safety”:  Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (IJAS), Association of BH Journalists (BHJ), Croatian Journalists Association (CJA), Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM).

Hence, there is no formal barrier for the application of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CIJS) for the grant, as long as it meets the eligibility criteria in the role of applicant or co-applicant listed in the section “4.1.1. Eligibility of applicants: who can apply?“  of the Application Guidelines for this all for proposals (pages 3-4), as assessed by the Evaluation Committee.


Question 3, submitted on August 3, 2017 by Nina Kemera, Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa:

I am writing to you on behalf of Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa, an NGO that deals with  issues of environmental protection and changes  in nature that affect the quality of life. We are interested what kind of specific activities you support. Would you support the continuation of our TV shows or is your support directed towards legal protection? Please clarify the activities that you can support, that part is not clear to us. 

Answer to Question 3:

The Call for proposals is focused on the support for media freedom and freedom of expression in the Western Balkans, through (1) support for projects which effectively tackle problems and obstacles faced by journalists who are under various forms of pressure and (2) projects which focus on pressures on human rights activists whose freedom of speech is jeopardized.

Hence, the proposed projects should focus on the problems and obstacles to media freedom and freedom of expression, as they manifest in specific social, political or economic spheres, including the following, as listedin the section 2. Objectives and priorities of the call.

Pressures on journalists that are deemed relevant to the scope of this project may relate to (1) editorial and managerial pressures (due to pressures from interest groups and influential individuals), (2) insecure working conditions and inadequate and insecure income, (2) lack of internal newsroom regulation (media statutes) and insufficient provisions protecting journalists and editors from censorship, (4) media dependency on revenues from advertising and public authorities, (5) public bashing, threats and legal actions against journalists and media that publish critical information, (6) chronic lack of transparent public funding system for media production which is fully autonomous from political interests and (7) political decisions that directly violate international standards of media freedom.

Pressures on human rights activists in respect to their freedom of speech may relate to (1) inability to access certain media with information and messages that are viewed as harmful to certain political and economic interest groups, (2) public bashing accompanied by false information, disclosure of personal data, profiling of individuals and hate and discriminatory speech which is most often exercised by media controlled by certain interest groups (e.g. radical political groups, business lobbies), individual profiling accompanied by hate speech,  (3) inability to access funding from public sources due to public actions and disclosures viewed as critical towards public authorities, (4) scarcity of finances that negatively influence organizational capacities to produce high quality information for the public.

Projects can be focused on one of the listed priorities, or can combine priorities if such combination is clearly justified in problem analysis, demonstrated in project objectives and results and feasible according to activity plan, and if such combination of priorities brings additional value to the action.

For specifics on eligible actions and the tentative set of eligible activities please read again the section “4.1.2. Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made“ of the Call for Proposals. Please bear in mind that elligibility of applicants and actions will be assesed by Evaluation Committe.


Question 4, submitted on August 3, 2017 by Milica Plavšić, web portal Buka:

Our organization Center for Informational Decontamination of Youth (CID) is mostly recognized for its media activism, for which we use our media platforms Buka web magazine (www.6yka) and Buka TV show. The project we would like to propose involves production of web content (online reportages, opinion columns, interviews, videos, etc.) concerning media freedom and freedom of expression in BiH. My question concerns the co-applicant – does it have to be an organization or it can be an individual activist/journalist?

Answer to Question 4:

Only journalists can act as co-applicants, participating as natural persons, teams of independent media professionals, informal journalists’ groups (there is no requirement for a specific form of registration, can act as natural persons). No other type of natural person (including huiman rights activists can act as co-applicant.

Please note that the section “4.1.1. Eligibility of applicants: who can apply?“ describes in detail the types of legal persons that can apply int he role of lead applicant and co-applicant.

Also, please note that lead applicant must act with co-applicants as specified hereafter, out of which at least one co-applicant has to belong to either: media organisation (public or private), journalists’ initiatives or groups (acting either as registered association or as natural persons), team of independent media professionals.


Question 5, submitted on August 10, 2017 by Youth Educational Forum (YEF):

I’m writing you on behalf of Youth Educational Forum (YEF), a youth based organization in Macedonia, to ask you about the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Freedom and Journalists’ Safety.YEF is registered as association of citizens and within the organization a specific project is the online radio and web platform, Radio MOF. Radio MOF has an independent editing policy and functions as a non-formal structure of journalists within YEF. Radio MOF includes 5 journalists that are currently part of the team.We want to have information if our organization can apply for your grant with co-applicants being 3 journalists from Radio MOF? 

Answer to Question 5:

In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must be a legal person registered at least 12 months before this call is launched , be non-profit-making, be a specific type of civil society organisation such as: association, foundation, private non-profit institution, social cooperative/non profit cooperative, registered umbrella association, journalists’ association, journalists’ trade union as well as networks when they are registered as civil society organisation, be registered in one of the five project countries: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo; be able to prove (in Application form) that in last 12 months they have been actively working on issues covered by this Call for Proposals.

Journalists can apply as co-applicants as natural persons – as individuals, teams of independent media professionals, informal journalists’ group. Staff employed by applicant or co-applicant cannot apply separately as natural persons, nor can act as contractors or associates. Please bear in mind that eligibility of applicants and actions will be assesed by the Evaluation Committee.