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Assistance organisations for Libyan freelancers

Assistance organisations for Libyan freelancers

The most well-prepared assignments, with the most detailed risk assessments, won’t always go to plan. At this point, you need to know who you can go to for assistance.

This chapter contains information on the most effective protection and safety organisations who work in Libya, and how to access them. Like ourselves, many organisations respond to emergencies as quickly as possible, while others can help you get back on your feet after a crisis with more long term assistance. Although some of them are based in Europe or beyond, they all work actively in Libya, and crucially, they all help freelancers.


Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
Journalists in Distress Fund 

Who they are: CJFE are a group that monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information throughout the world. They run the Journalists in Distress Fund, which provides humanitarian assistance to journalists whose lives and well-being are threatened. The recipient must be a journalist, and preference is given to cases where danger to the journalist is imminent or the situation is urgent.

How they can help you: Essentially, the JID funds can help you with emergency funds. Grants typically range from $500 to $1500 CDN, depending on the case - it’s enough money to help you cover short term costs such as legal fees, medical expenses, or emergency transport when seeking exile. The Distress fund can also help with the costs of resettlement while you find your feet in a new environment after a crisis. Journalists are eligible for a maximum of two separate grants from CJFE.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Journalist Assistance Program
+12124651004 ext. 114, 118 

Who they are: Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. Formed in 1981 and based in New York, CPJ document violations against journalists across the world. However, as well as advocacy and research, they have a journalist assistance program.

How they can help you: Grants from the Journalist Assistance Program can help solve a variety of problems. They can help get medical care for journalists following assaults in retaliation for their work, or for journalists suffering from mistreatment in prison. They can also support journalists going into hiding to escape threats they face from state and non-state actors. If you’re imprisoned, they can even help support your family until your release.

Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF)
80, rue de Palestine, Tunis, Tunisia
+216 71 840 782 

Who they are: The EMHRF is an independent non-profit regional foundation, registered in Denmark and operating both from Copenhagen and Tunis, adhering to universal human rights principles and convinced of the value of collaboration and support in order to strengthen the valuable work of human rights NGOs and defenders in the South-Mediterranean region.

How they can help you: The EMHRF mainly aims at protecting human rights defenders at risk, acting in particularly repressive and volatile environments as well as providing core support to innovative and sensitive human rights groups and/or NGOs that do not have the capacities to approach mainstream donors or fall outside mainstream donors’ categories. Similar to other organisations, they can provide emergency assistance and can coordinate base response from Tunis.

Free Press Unlimited
Reporters Respond Fund
+316 1306 7684
+312 0800 0400

Who they are: Free Press Unlimited runs the Reporters Respond fund. This international emergency fund provides direct assistance to journalists and media outlets, enabling them to resume work as quickly as possible when faced with local obstruction. Support is provided irrespective of the medium and the area covered by the journalist or outlet.

How they can help you: Reporters Respond gives financial aid to journalists, producers and cameramen and women who are at risk because of their profession. Reporters Respond provides help fast, often within 24 hours. This fast, small scale, financial support can help prevent more serious damage and enables journalists, producers and cameramen and women to continue to do their job.

Freedom House (FH)
Emergency Assistance Programs 

Who they are: Freedom House are another organisation that combine advocacy and research with emergency assistance in their work, producing annual reports on the Freedom of the World, Press, and Net. They are based in the U.S. but operate around the world.

How they can help you: Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organisations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work. This includes human right defenders and journalists. The targeted, rapid-response aid enables those at risk to protect themselves and continue their important work.

Front Line Defenders
Security Grants 

Who they are: Front Line Defenders is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. They work to provide fast and effective action to help protect human rights defenders at risk so they can continue their work as key agents of social change.

How they can help you: Security grants can pay for organisational and personal provisions to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and their organisations. Grants can pay to improve physical security of an organisation, digital security, communication security, and legal fees for HRDs who are being judicially harassed. They can pay for medical fees for HRDs who have been attacked or who have suffered a medical condition as a result of their peaceful human rights activities. They can also provide family assistance for imprisoned HRDs. Grants are for amounts up to a maximum of €7,500. They fund emergency and general security grants. Security and Protection Grants will not normally be made for 100% of the cost of a project. Applications may be made in Arabic or English.

Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Hellman-Hammett Grants

Who they are: Human Rights Watch are an international NGO that conducts research and advocacy on human rights worldwide. The Hellman/Hammett grants provide financial assistance and focus attention on repression of free speech and censorship by publicising the persecution that the grant recipients endured. 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.

How they can help you: Hellman/Hammett grants typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000; emergency nominations are accepted throughout the year. The grants are awarded annually after the nominations have been reviewed by a selection committee composed of authors, editors, and journalists who have a longstanding interest in free expression issues. Nominations should be sent to the New York office of Human Rights Watch.

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Safety Fund 

Who they are: The IFJ Safety Fund provides a lifeline to colleagues around the world who experience violence, threats and injury as a result of the work they do, ensuring help is at hand when most needed. The IFJ Safety Fund is funded by journalists for journalists and their families. The Fund provides humanitarian assistance and solidarity to journalists and media professionals everywhere, whether or not they are members of IFJ unions.

How they can help you: Beneficiaries of the Fund include anyone in the news-reporting business who finds themselves in financial straits as a result of work-related reasons such as: forced exile due to threats at home; litigation needing help with legal fees; medical expenses for injured journalists and; travel costs to cover journeys to safety.

International Media Support (IMS)
Safety Fund
+45 8832 7000 

Who they are: International Media Support (IMS) is a non-profit organisation working to support local media in countries affected by armed conflict, human insecurity and political transition. Across four continents, IMS helps to promote press freedom, strengthen professional journalism and ensure that media can operate in challenging circumstances.

How they can help you: International Media Support provides a Safety Fund, for journalists who have been persecuted as a direct result of their work. They have a rapid response time, acting quickly on issues of exile, injury, and help with basic subsistence.

Kality Foundation 
+46(0)8-613 75 47 

Who they are: The Kality Foundation is a Swedish NGO that was established to provide financial assistance to reporters and photographers worldwide who are imprisoned as a result of their work. They also provide emergency funding to journalists who risk imprisonment.

How they can help you: If you’re a photographer, look here. The purpose of the Kality Foundation is to provide financial assistance to reporters and photographers world wide who are imprisoned. They can also provide emergency funding to colleagues who are at risk of imprisonment.

Lawyers for Justice in Libya 
+44 (0) 20 7242 5071 

Who they are: LFJL was established in response to the 17 February 2011 uprising in Libya by a network of Libyan international lawyers living in the diaspora, with the aim of using their legal expertise to seek routes to the promotion of human rights, the establishment of the rule of law and the facilitation of a smooth transition towards a democratic and inclusive Libya. LFJL compile and document human rights violations, and focus on journalists and human rights defenders.

How they can help you: Although Lawyers for Justice don’t provide emergency assistance, they are one of the few organisations rigorously documenting violations against journalists. If anything happens to you, it’s important that they can know, so other organisations can understand more about conditions for media workers in Libya.

Libyan Center for Freedom of Press 

Who they are: The Libyan Center for Freedom of Press (LCFP) is an independent Libyan non-profit organisation that works in the fields of Human rights and Media. The LCFP provides a range of activities of safety and security for Journalists and is one of the only Libyan-based centres that documents and tries to act on violations of press freedoms and assaults on individual journalists.

How they can help you: LCFP respond to emergencies through their hotline service which you can find by following the link above, to speak to their team of specialist rights researchers.

Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) 
+44 (0)203 752 5550 

Who they are: The Media Legal Defence Initiative is a non-governmental organisation which helps journalists, bloggers and independent media outlets around the world defend their rights.They act on the belief that legal cases are often brought against journalists with no purpose other than to harass and silence them, and they want to ensure that journalists have the means to defend such cases. In addition, MLDI wants to ensure that journalists and bloggers whose right to freedom of expression has been violated have access to legal remedies.

How they can help you: MLDI will provide legal aid to ensure that journalists, bloggers and media outlets have an effective legal defence when cases are launched against them. If a journalist has been beaten up by police in the exercise of his journalistic duties, they will also consider providing him or her with legal assistance to ensure that he or she can bring legal action.

PEN International Emergency Fund for Writers 
+44 (0) 207 405 0338

Who they are: The PEN Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional—published or produced—writers in acute, emergency financial crisis. Depending on the situation, the Fund gives grants of up to $2,000. The maximum amount is given only under especially dire circumstances and when monies are available. It is the Fund's preference not to give repeated grants within a three-year period.

How they can help you: The Writers’ Emergency Fund is for acute emergencies only and exists to help writers in a difficult period in their lives. Most grants are given to those who have short-term medical or housing situations that they are financially unable to resolve independently.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Press SOS - (33) 1 4777-7414

Who they are: Since its establishment, RSF has promoted and defended press freedom - it monitors and denounces attacks on journalists, works with other NGOs and governments around the world to fight censorship, and offers direct assistance to persecuted media workers and their families. It also helps journalists in exile receive protection or asylum.

How they can help you: Financial aid is distributed on an ad-hoc basis. These grants can help you pay any medical expenses or find another place to stay if you need to - a range of safety resources are also available to journalists and freelancers being sent abroad to make sure they can be protected in the field. In addition, a free 'Press SOS'  hotline is open 24/7 to call, which allows you to talk to a RSF representative who can assess your situation and provide you with advice, contacts and more. 

Rory Peck Trust
Freelance Assistance Programme 
+44 (0) 20 3219 7860 

Who we are: The Rory Peck Trust is dedicated to the support of freelance journalists. We provide practical and financial support to freelance journalists and their families worldwide, assisting them in times of crisis and helping them to work more safely and professionally.

How we can help you: RPT provides individual grants to freelance journalists and their families who find themselves in a critical situation. This may include freelancers who have been threatened, imprisoned, injured, forced into hiding or exile, or killed. The assistance grants we give are modest but they are targeted so that they meet the specific needs of the freelancer or family. Amounts and target areas vary according to the particular circumstances of the applicant but examples include medical and rehabilitation costs, emergency subsistence, legal advice, and relocation costs. The aim is to help grantees overcome a crisis and, where possible, resume work.

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