Taking direct action in Europe: the Journalists-in-Residence Programme

Direct help to endangered journalists in Europe is one of the core tasks of the ECPMF. Although media freedom is anchored in European countries' constitutions, media workers are encountering many threats and risks while doing their job. Our Journalists-in-Residence Programme offers a special opportunity to threatened media freedom activists and journalists: With ECPMF’s support, they can temporarily leave the unsafe environment of oppression and anxiety to recover and find new strength.

For up to 12 months, a media worker at risk can take a time-out from the direct threat he or she is facing in their home country. The ECPMF provides a safe home, a scholarship and many other forms of support as well as the possibility to work at the centre in Leipzig.

The next deadline to apply is 8 November 2016.

Serving Media Freedom

The Journalists-in-Residence Programme serves media freedom in three ways: By giving shelter to threatened journalists; by spreading the word about media freedom violations to reach international attention and sensitise the broader public; and by putting stress, via higher media attention, on the aggressors who threaten the JiR.

Leipzig Augustusplatz_public domain Augustusplatz, Leipzig city centre

SHELTER: Increasing the security of the JiR during and after the programme

To relieve the JiR from a permanent state of anxiety, the programme provides a safe house in Leipzig, health insurance and a monthly allowance of 1000 euros. If needed, travel and visa costs are also covered by the ECPMF. While living in a fully equipped apartment in Leipzig, the journalist makes use of the infrastructure of the ECPMF to work on media freedom or journalistic projects. The JiR gets training on surveillance-related self-defence, legal matters and data protection.

The immediate support and training help the JiR not only during his/her stay, but also serve as preparation for after he/she has returned home, to increase the journalist’s security and protect him/her from further threats.


SPREAD: Making the broader public aware of the threat to journalists in Europe

The JiR becomes a media freedom ambassador and concrete example of media freedom violations, thus making the issue more accessible to the broader public. Various social media activities about the programme itself and content concerning the JiR’s threats will be published.

Due to the large and professional network of the ECPMF, the issue is spread via different channels. The national and international media contacts available allow the JiR to publish his/her own journalistic stories about his/her situation. The JiR also gets access to expert talks or appearances at public events targeted at relevant stakeholders and the civil society.

Although media attention can increase a sense of security, in some cases a journalist seeks out anonymity. If needed, the programme allows the JiR to live and work anonymously. This will be discussed on a case-to-case basis. Sensitive data is treated confidentially in all cases.


STRESS: Putting pressure on the JiR’s aggressors to respect media freedom and pluralism

During the programme, the Journalist-in-Residence can continue his/her journalistic work, being able to report on media freedom deficiencies in his/her home country without fearing serious consequences. Higher media attention and public scrutiny increase the pressure on the authorities in the media worker’s home country, as wider publicity is given to the particular case.

In addition, this is a step towards a more secure life once the journalist returns: The newly gained publicity should protect the journalist from threats such as arbitrary detention. The ECPMF network will keep an eye on the journalist and his/her situation.

Karl Heine Kanal_public domain Karl-Heine-Kanal, Plagwitz, Leipzig

Conditions and Criteria

Journalists from EU-countries and accession candidate states can apply to become a Journalist-in-Residence at the ECPMF in Leipzig. The duration varies, depending on the individual case, between 3 and 12 months. For a successful application, the following conditions should be met:

  • Proof must be provided that he or she is under pressure due to their research or publication
  • The applicant must have worked full-time and for at least five years as a journalist
  • The journalist should not be member of a political movement
  • He or she should speak proficient English or German and be able to represent his or her case in public
  • He or she should be willing to contribute to the work of the ECPMF in Leipzig during the residency
  • He or she must be willing and able to return to his or her home country after the end of the programme


How to Apply

To apply, please fill out this application form and attach the requested references. You can find the FAQ here.

The application can be sent via e-mail (, to the address below, or by contacting one of our partner organisations. It will be reviewed promptly by ECPMF and its partners. All personal information will be kept confidential.

If your application fulfils the criteria of the Journalists-in-Residence Programme, it will be handed over to the ECPMF boards, which will discuss each individual case and make the final decision. A successful application is confirmed by an official letter of invitation to the designated Journalist-in-Residence, which serves as support for the visa application. 

The next deadline to apply is 8 November 2016.

To design this programme, the ECPMF has cooperated with experienced organizations such as the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.


European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
Menckestrasse 27
04155 Leipzig


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