Media Defence is a charity, based in London, which provides legal help to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media across the world. Media Defence’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public interest, allowing citizens to be better informed, able to hold those in power to account. Media Defence’s mission is to ensure legal protection of journalists and media workers under threat for reporting on issues of public interest, in the belief that freedom of expression is essential.
As part of our work to help build a strong global legal defence network for independent media, Media Defence provides financial assistance to organisations that have or wish to establish a legal aid unit. Currently, Media Defence can only fund a small number of organisations. Our aim is to expand this network and achieve better local-level access to legal assistance for independent media outlets, journalists and bloggers who lack the financial means to access legal support at commercial rates. Given its conditions for media freedom, Media Defence aims to expand its support to one country in South East Asia for these activities.
Media Defence would like to partner with one NGO or law centre located in a South East Asian country for the provision of quality legal support for media outlets, journalists and bloggers facing legal threats because of their reporting in their country. Organisations interested in applying must either have, or wish to establish, a media defence centre to provide free, high quality legal support in that field in their country.
We are offering one 12-month grant of up to GBP 25,000 to organisations with backgrounds in defending and supporting the right to freedom of expression. The grants can be used to set up a media legal defence unit which provides pro bono legal support to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media and/or coordinates networks of lawyers to do the same The grant funds cannot be applied for strategic litigation or to cases of access to public information.
Media Defence is available to provide legal mentoring, capacity building, and other forms of non-financial organisational support.
To be considered, organisations must meet the following criteria:
- The grant is open to NGOs and law centres registered and operating in a country in South East Asia;
- The organisation must have a background or demonstrable interest in litigation and/or provision of legal support;
- The organisation should have previous experience in the advancement and protection of freedom of expression in its country; and
- The organisation must have sufficient administrative and financial capacity to comply with Media Defence’s reporting requirements;
- Media Defence will not fund activities without a direct link to litigation or provision of legal support and will give a higher priority to proposals showing the best value for money per legal case.
How to apply
Interested organisations are encouraged to submit their full application to the email Emmanuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit applications is Monday 14 June 2021, 23h59 (GMT).
Applicants will be asked to provide the following information: 
- Annex A: Full application form
- Annex B: Application budget
- Organisation’s name and address
- The names of the head of the organisation, board chair, and treasurer
- The total amount of money requested from Media Defence
- Proof of Registration
- CV of fully-funded project staff and finance staff
- Organogram / Organisational Chart
- List of Trustees / Board of Directors
- Audited Financials and Management letter (last two years)
- Organisation’s Annual (income and expenditure) Budget for 2021
- Contacts for two donors in capacity to provide a recommendation on the organisation’s capacity to deliver a project like the one that would be funded by Media Defence
For purposes of facilitating the assessment of applications, it is encouraged that financial documents, particularly audited financials and management letter, are submitted both in their original version and translated to English.
Shortlisted organisations will receive notification that their grant/application will be considered for approval by Media Defence’s board in August 2021. The grant is expected to start in September 2021 and run for 12 months.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Emmanuel Vargas Penagos, Legal and Grants Officer at email@example.com.
 This project is donor-funded. All activities are contingent on a continuation of funding as expected.
 Please note that as part of the Media Defence’s assessment of the applicant’s suitability for a grant, it will run a due diligence assessment that might include (but is not limited to) checks on the organisation, Trustees, staff and other related parties – these checks are performed as part of Media Defence’s legal obligations to assess its partners.
The partnership The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) has now launched its Advisory Services microsite. This microsite builds on the network’s existing work, offering a range of resources and services to better support watchdog journalists. As part of the project, we’ll be providing legal defence to selected watchdog media organisations in partnership with GIJN. We […]
Media Defence has filed an application to the European Court on behalf of Gulnara Mehdiyeva. To read the blog summarising the case, click here. The Azeri campaign against journalists The context in which Gulnara Mehdiyeva works is a difficult one. Azerbaijan is one of the most restrictive environments for freedom of expression in the world. […]
Criminal Court in Lecce acquits journalist in case supported by Media Defence’s partner Ossigeno per L’Informazione A Lecce court has acquitted the journalist and editor in chief of the online newspaper Il Tacco d’Italia, Marilú Mastrogiovanni, of charges of aggravated defamation. Three individuals, including a former mayor and a former council member of Salento, brought […]