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Distress Funds: Support for Media Workers in Danger
Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX)
August 14, 2002
in the freedom of expression community have specific funds and other
services available to help media workers who are endangered because
of their professional work.
Organisations with distress funds that should be added to this list
can email firstname.lastname@example.org
with the relevant information.
material on the web at http://www.ifex.org/distress/#hrw
The following distress funds are open to the public. Please get
in touch with the appropriate contact person listed below.
IFEX Member Organisations
Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
Journalists in Distress Fund
- Human Rights
Hellman-Hammett Emergency Grants
Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
IFJ Safety Fund
PEN Emergency Fund
Press Institute (IPI)
- PEN American
Sans Frontières (RSF)
- World Press
Fund Against Censorship
Rights and Democracy: International Centre for Human Rights &
The Reebok Human Rights Award Program: Reebok Human Rights Award
IFEX Member Organisations
Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
PROGRAM: Journalists in Distress Fund
Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) operates the Journalists
in Distress Fund for the benefit of working journalists in defence
of democracy, human rights, justice and freedom of expression.
The fund exists primarily to encourage freedom of expression and
the practice of journalism, and to provide humanitarian assistance
to journalists whose lives and well-being are threatened.
The fund provides modest financial assistance to journalists and
their families whose lives are at risk or whose freedom of expression
has been seriously infringed. Examples of fundable expenses are
medical costs arising from imprisonment or physical mistreatment,
legal costs arising from action taken in the courts against journalists
because of their reporting as well as
emergency travel costs so that journalists and their families
can escape persecution.
Preference is given to journalists working in their home countries.
However, requests will also be considered from journalists forced
into exiles, especially if they continue to cover their home country.
Funds are not granted for ongoing expenses to organisations, institutions
AMOUNT AWARDED: Normally US$200 to US$2,000, depending on the
CONTACT: David Cozac
PHONE: +416 515 9622
FAX: +416 515 7879
ADDRESS: 489 College St., Suite 403, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1A5
Human Rights Watch
PROGRAM: Hellman/Hammett Emergency Grants
all around the world who have been victims of political persecution
and are in financial need.
In addition to providing much needed financial assistance, the
Hellman/Hammett grants focus attention on repression of free speech
and censorship by publicizing persecution that the grant recipients
In some cases the publicity is a protection against further abuse.
In other cases, the writers request anonymity because of the dangerous
circumstances in which they and their families are living.
AMOUNT AWARDED: Up to US$2000
QUALIFICATIONS: Given to writers in urgent need to leave their
country or who are otherwise in dire material circumstances.
CONTACT(S) for both: Marcia Allina, Program Associate
PHONE: +212 290 4700
FAX: +212 736 1300
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10018-3299
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
PROGRAM: IFJ Safety Fund
PROVIDED: This fund provides emergency cash to journalists and
their families in circumstances where medical aid is needed arising
from violence against reporters, or situations where journalists
must go into hiding.
The Safety Fund Coordinator investigates all requests for aid,
and applications must be in writing.
AMOUNT AWARDED: Case-based
QUALIFICATIONS: Aid is only given under conditions that make it
impossible for journalists to meet the expenses themselves
REQUESTS: Applications must be in writing
CONTACT(S): Safety Fund Coordinator
ADDRESS: Boulevard Charlemagne 1, Bte 5, B1041, Brussels, BELGIUM
PROGRAM: PEN Emergency Fund
aims to raise money in order to help writers and journalists who
are convicted for practicing their right of freedom of expression.
In some cases, the Fund also supports the families.
The funds aim to assist writers/journalists who are in need for
such things as medical treatment for injuries/illness as a result
of torture, detention, or attack, etc. It rarely finances legal
The fund receives much information from the Writers in Prison
Committee (WiPC) of International PEN, whose chair is ex officio
an advisory member of the fund's board.
AMOUNT AWARDED: Case-based; the fund spends about $50,000 a year.
QUALIFICATIONS: The fund has helped many writers who have had
to flee their country and now live in exile. Often they have no
source of income when they arrive in a new country.
CONTACT: J. Bernlef, Chair
PHONE: +44 1 71 253 3266
FAX: +44 1 71 253 5711
ADDRESS: 9-10 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London, EC1M
Press Institute (IPI)
PROGRAM: Distress Fund
available on a case by case basis depending on the individual
CONTACT: Johann Fritz
PHONE: +43 1 512 90 11
FAX: +43 1 512 90 14
ADDRESS: Spiegelgasse 2/29, A-1010 Vienna, Austria
PEN American Center
PROGRAM: Writers Fund
The PEN Writers
Fund is an emergency fund for professional--published or produced--writers
with serious financial difficulties.
The Writers Fund does not exist for research purposes, to enable
the completion of writing projects, or to fund publications or
The Writers Fund Committee meets approximately every two months
to review applications.
AMOUNT AWARDED: Grants from US$400 to US$1000. The maximum amount
is given only under especially dire circumstances and when monies
QUALIFICATIONS: Grants are given to writers who are in exile in
the United States.
REQUESTS: Contact P.E.N. for an application. Writing samples are
required. Grants and loans are based on emergency financial need
CONTACT: Vicki Vinton, Coordinator, P.E.N. Writers Fund
PHONE: +212 334-1660, ext. 101.
568 Broadway, New York, NY, USA 10012
Sans Frontères (RSF)
PROGRAM: Solidarity Fund
offers practical help to journalists, sending lawyers to the aid
of imprisoned journalists where necessary.
The fund also helps purchase equipment for the press in the developing
world and provides emergency funds to journalists' associations.
PHONE: +33 1 44 83 84 84
FAX: +33 1 45 23 11 51
5, rue Geoffroy Marie, 75009 Paris, France
World Press Freedom Committee
PROGRAM: Fund Against Censorship
provides assistance grants to journalists and media facing prosecution
for their work. These grants are directed primarily towards the
hiring of local lawyers to ensure fair trials in cases that are
often politically motivated and intended to silence independent
WPFC administers this fund on behalf of 8 groups: Committee to
Protect Journalists (CPJ), Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), Inter
American Press Association (IAPA), International Press Institute
(IPI), International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), International
Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), North American National
Broadcasters Association (NANBA),
World Association of Newspapers (WAN), and World Press Freedom
QUALIFICATIONS: Journalists or media facing criminal prosecution.
REQUESTS: Journalists and news media facing legal charges can
seek help through the Fund by contacting any one of the nine participating
press freedom groups.
CONTACTS: Marilyn Greene, Executive Director or Mary-Esther Dattareyan
PHONE: +703 715 9811
FAX: +703 620 6790
EMAIL: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
ADDRESS: 11690-C Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia USA 20191
Centre for Human Rights & Democratic Development
PROGRAM: 2001 John Humphrey Freedom Award
to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or an individual for
exceptional achievement in the defense or promotion of human rights
and/or democratic development.
AMOUNT AWARDED: The Award consists of a grant of $25,000 as well
as a speaking tour of Canadian cities to help increase awareness
of the recipient's human rights work.
The winner will be selected by an international jury composed
of five members of the Centre's Board of Directors.
QUALIFICATIONS: Must be committed to peace and non-violence. Must
be independent of any political party or governmental affiliation.
Preference will be given to those working on the frontline, under
conditions hostile to the recognition and application of basic
human and democratic rights. The Award is not given posthumously.
Former staff or board members of Rights & Democracy are not
eligible. Preference will be given to those involved in the
priority issues of R&D, namely: women's rights, Indigenous
peoples' rights, economic globalization and human rights, democratic
REQUESTS: You can submit a nomination by mail, fax or e-mail with
a letter describing the nominee, their work and why they merit
a curriculum vitae or organisational profile supporting documentation
such as articles written by or about the nominee
CONTACT: Augie van Biljouw
PHONE: +514 283 6073
FAX: +514 283 3792
1001 boul. De Maisonneuve East, Montréal, Québec
Human Rights Award Program
PROGRAM: Reebok Human Rights Award
award that honours activists under the age of 30 who have significantly
improved the human rights conditions in their communities. The
purpose of the Award is to shine a positive, international light
on the awardees and to support their work in human rights.
AMOUNT AWARDED: $50,000 grants are made to support the work of
QUALIFICATIONS: Award candidates must be 30 years of age or younger
by December 31 of the Award year. Award candidates cannot advocate
violence or belong to an organisation that advocates violence.
Award candidates must be working on an issue that directly relates
to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Women
and men of all races, ethnic groups, nationalities and religions
are eligible. The Reebok Human Rights Award is
given to an individual, based on that individual's personal achievement
and commitment. It is not given to groups of people, organisations,
or as a memorial award to people who have died.
REQUESTS: Letters of recommendation should highlight why the individual
is being recommended for the award, how long the nominator has
been aware of the individual's contributions and any special obstacles
overcome by the candidate. Personal information on family background
and the history of how the candidate began doing human rights
work is also encouraged. Nominators must specify whether the Award
candidate has received or is currently nominated for other human
rights awards. A complete nomination includes:
an application form, a letter of nomination, three additional
letters of support, proof of age and any additional items that
describe the candidate's work. It is possible for these items
to be sent separately (please note on the application form what
items are being sent separately).
NOMINATIONS MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
- Three letters
of reference for the candidate in addition to the nomination
(The letters should answer the following questions:
How long have you known the candidate and in what capacity?
What are the personal achievements of the candidate? What motivated
this person to begin human rights work, and what continues to
inspire them? What are the obstacles that the nominee faces
in accomplishing his/her work? How has the nominee lead or engaged
others in his/her work? How has the nominee’s work impacted
- A copy
of nominee's birth certificate or other proof of age. Supporting
materials such as: photographs, newspaper clippings, narratives
or other items describing the candidate's work.
Please note that materials submitted with the nomination cannot
PRINT AND SEND THE COMPLETED NOMINATION TO THE ADDRESS
CONTACT(S): Paula van Gelder, Director of Public Affairs. For
more information about the nomination process, please call (781)
PHONE: + 781-401-4910
Reebok International Ltd., 1895 J.W. Foster Blvd., Canton, MA
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