MEP Roberta Metsola welcomes new funds to support investigative journalism

The Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs agreed to allocate funding in support of independent investigative journalism

Roberta Metsola welcomes new EU Funds to support investigative journalism
Roberta Metsola welcomes new EU Funds to support investigative journalism

The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) - a standing committee responsible for protecting the rights and fundamental liberties of European citizens - has decided to allocate European funding specifically to support investigative journalism in the European Union.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola, who is also EPP Group Coordinator within LIBE, welcomed the decision, stressing the need for journalists to act as the gatekeepers of democracy, adding that the profession was currently under pressure.   

"We need journalists to separate fact from fiction—a strong press leads to a strong democracy, where the values of truth and accountability persist. Funding is particularly important for smaller media houses who are often faced with SLAPP lawsuits and vexatious claims designed to shut them down. I promised that I would work on pushing new funding streams to support journalists and that is what we achieved today,” Metsola said.

The funds that are to be allocated will see the implementation of a pilot project across the EU. The need for such a project was highlighted by the assassinations of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Ján Kuciak in Slovakia.

In a statement, Metsola said the project would have two main objectives: offering financial support to investigative journalism, as well as direct support and protection to "exposed journalists".

Metsola said that this would eventually lead to the establishment of a permanent fund that would support independent investigative journalists, aiding them in the face of legal threats. It would help these journalists move easily between borders whilst maintaining financial independence.

She added that "the European Parliament recognises that quality investigative journalism requires proper tools and resources in order to expose wrongdoing throughout the Union. This is why both news rooms and freelance journalists would be able to apply for a grant from this permanent fund."

The applications will be reviewed by a joint team of European Commission members, journalists, and other field experts.

Additionally, the support and protection of investigative journalists will be addressed by the creation of a pan-European rapid response mechanism. Through direct collaboration with European, regional and local stakeholders, this mechanism will provide direct support such as advice, legal aid and shelter to journalists under threat.

The funds will now have to be confirmed by a vote from all MEPs in the coming weeks.

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