Assistance to Individual Cases
A key activity of the Media Legal Defence Initiative is to provide direct financial support to journalists, media outlets and organisations, and others who have or wish to exercise or promote their legitimate right to freedom of expression. MLDI works globally and there are no geographical restrictions to the funding and support it offers.
In accordance with MLDI’s registered charitable objectives, all grants made by MLDI must further the right to freedom of expression. In considering this, MLDI is guided by international standards on freedom of expression as crystallised in international human rights treaties and customary international law. Under international law, the right to freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Some constraints on freedom of expression are necessary and appropriate in any democracy, for example, to protect the rights of others, or to protect public order and national security. Applicants should be aware, therefore, that MLDI will not defend hate speech, incitement to violence, or other forms of expression that fall outside the scope of protected speech under international law. Applicants should also be aware that MLDI will not support any cases that are directed at furthering the political interests of any political party.
MLDI’s overarching strategic objective in the provision of legal aid is to ensure that journalists have an effective legal defence when cases are launched against them. We strongly believe that legal cases are often brought against journalists with no purpose other than to harass and silence them, and we want to ensure that journalists have the means to defend such cases.
In addition, MLDI wants to ensure that journalists whose right to freedom of expression has been violated have access to legal remedies. For example, if a journalist has been beaten up by police in the exercise of his journalistic duties, we will consider providing him or her with legal assistance to ensure that he or she can bring legal action.
MLDI will provide support to all applications for support that fall within our mandate to the best of our financial ability.
However, we will prioritise cases that have the following characteristics:
- There is a real risk that the case will result in the imprisonment of the journalist concerned;
- There is a real risk that the case will result in the bankruptcy of the media outlet or journalist concerned;
- There is a real risk that the case will end in the close of the media outlet concerned;
- There is a real risk that the journalist or media outlet concerned will be silenced as a result of the case;
- MLDI is the only realistic avenue to provide the assistance required;
- The case is of potential strategic importance
If you are sure that your individual, your organisations or client's circumstances comply with the guidelines above, please submit an application via our online application portal by clicking here: Submit Application
Please contact us if you have any questions: Contact