Sonntag, 24.01.2021 02:47 Uhr

Press to help new president fight corruption in Moldova

Verantwortlicher Autor: Jochen Raffelberg Washington, 18.11.2020, 17:09 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Jochen Raffelberg Bericht 4094x gelesen

Washington [ENA] The US-based Freedom House watchdog offers media and NGOs from across Europe funding of up to US$20,000 for projects in Moldova to advance its press freedom. Announcing a call for applications the organizers said they would select up to two media, advocacy, education and outreach initiatives for their "Media Freedom Matters" grants program beginning in February 2021. Deadline for submissions is 30 November.

The program will provide the financial support to longer-term advocacy initiatives, public campaigns, and other activities to raise public awareness about freedom of expression and press freedom among the general public in Moldova, strengthen public trust in independent Moldovan media and fact-based journalism in the age of disinformation and bolster broader regional efforts to encourage citizens' active engagement with media, and advocate for a government that is accountable. Last weekend the pro-EU opposition candidate Maia Sandu ousted incumbent Igor Dodon to become Moldova's new president. She told media that people now also wanted snap parliamentary elections. EU leaders and Russia's president have congratulated Sandu on her victory.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 3.5m people sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, is the poorest nation in Europe, and hundreds of thousands of its citizens have moved overseas for work and opportunities in recent years. In 2015, the country was rocked by a massive corruption scandal under which one billion dollars disappeared from the coffers of three national banks. Potential Freedom House project angles include initiatives aimed at strengthening the role of media in advancing accountability for corruption, human rights abuses or other violations. Priority will be given to local or regional freedom of expression initiatives; up to two advocacy actions will be selected for up to US$10,000 in funding each.

Freedom House says it is nonpartisan and works as an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world. The group invites applications from local, registered NGOs and coalitions based in Moldova, the Eastern Partnership Region (EU members plus the six post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) and the EU that seek to raise awareness about press freedom, freedom of expression, and independent media in Moldova including among the public, marginalized communities, government, local authorities, and other sectors. Organizations supporting media freedom or agents of transparency will be given priority.

Winners will receive a minimum of six and a maximum of ten months of financial assistance. Freedom House will support public campaigning, advocacy, and other outreach initiatives that will raise greater public awareness and hold the government and other relevant actors accountable to take concrete steps towards improving respect for press freedom and freedom of expression in the Republic of Moldova. Applications will also be evaluated on the criterion of innovative approaches, including through the use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, to distribute its content, engage the public, raise awareness, or advocate for greater respect for freedom of expression in Moldova.

On eligibility organizers point out that only non-commercial organizations, associations, initiatives, and foundations active in Moldova, the EU or the Eastern Partnership can participate in this program. Individuals and government, quasi-government, or commercial agencies and bodies are not eligible for funding. Priority will be given to Moldovan regional- and local-level initiatives and campaigns, especially those that focus on Russian-speaking communities within the Republic of Moldova. The activity is part of the USAID and UK aid funded project, “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M) and implemented by Internews.

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