2023 Global Media Defence Grant For Journalists

The Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF) is a UNESCO Multi-Partner Trust Fund developed within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. It supports local, regional, and global not-for-profit organizations working to bolster journalists’ legal protection and/or enhance media freedom through relevant investigative journalism and strategic litigation.

The GMDF is currently accepting grant proposals for its 4th Call for Partnerships. The deadline for submission is 28 August 2023. Eligible organizations must have been active and registered for at least two years and meet the criteria established in the Call’s Terms of Reference. The financial grants awarded through this Call will range from a minimum of USD $15,000 to a maximum of $35,000.

The GMDF supports projects that fall under one or more of the following four outputs:

  • Output 1: Strengthening legal protection for journalists. This includes providing legal assistance to journalists who have been attacked, threatened, or harassed; supporting the development of national and regional legal frameworks for the protection of journalists; and promoting the use of strategic litigation to challenge impunity for crimes against journalists.
  • Output 2: Reinforcing the operationalization of national protection mechanisms and peer support networks. This includes supporting the development and implementation of national protection mechanisms for journalists; strengthening peer support networks for journalists; and raising awareness of the risks faced by journalists and the importance of their protection.
  • Output 3: Supporting investigative journalism that contributes to reduced impunity for crimes against journalists. This includes supporting investigative journalism that exposes threats to media freedom and impunity for crimes against journalists; supporting the training of journalists in investigative techniques; and promoting the use of investigative journalism to hold the justice system accountable.
  • Output 4: Enhancing structures for fostering strategic litigation. This includes supporting the development of strategic litigation frameworks; providing training on strategic litigation to lawyers and journalists; and promoting the use of strategic litigation to challenge impunity for crimes against journalists.

This Call for Partnerships is open to specialized not-for-profit entities, including NGOs, media associations, journalists’ unions, human rights defenders, lawyers’ associations and pro bono legal aid organizations, lawyers’ and investigative journalism networks, foundations, and academic institutions.

Location: France


  • Financial support of up to USD $35,000 to implement projects that bolster journalists’ legal protection and/or enhance media freedom.
  • Technical assistance and training from UNESCO experts.
  • Networking opportunities with other organizations working to protect journalists and promote media freedom.
  • Increased visibility for projects and their impact.


Eligible Candidates (Implementation Partners):

  • Only not-for-profit entities are eligible (e.g., NGOs, media associations, etc.).
  • Must have been active and registered as a not-for-profit for at least two years.
  • Required to contribute at least 5% of the total project budget (monetary or in-kind).
  • Should have stable and sufficient funding sources for the project period.
  • Display basic managerial and record-keeping competencies.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to defending human rights, freedom of expression, and gender equality.


  • The proposal and supporting documents must be submitted via email to gmdf@unesco.org.
  • Submission must be before the Call deadline.
  • The proposal must be complete and in the specified format.
  • Must be signed and dated by the authorized representative of the candidate partner.

Eligible Partnership Proposals:

  • Must have clear and verifiable outcomes, objectives, and implementing activities.
  • Project objectives should follow the S.M.A.R.T. criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).
  • Should be based on a human rights-based approach and promote gender equality.
  • Preference is given to proposals addressing specific threats to women journalists and those focused on Africa.
  • Special attention to proposals from national/grassroots organizations, underrepresented regions, LDCs, and SIDS.
  • Projects implementing innovative approaches and enhancing collaboration between CSOs and journalists’ networks are favored.
  • Must include a detailed SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
  • Duration: Project activities should cover 6 to 18 months of implementation.
  • Budget: Detailed and justifiable, including partner’s contribution of at least 5%.
  • Co-financing from other external sources may be considered.

Communication and Visibility:

  • The budget must allocate funding for communication and visibility actions (minimum 5% of the project budget).

Procurement (Sub-contracting):

  • The partner’s procurement of goods works, or services should not exceed 33% of the UNESCO/GMDF-funded budget.

Note: The eligibility criteria ensure that qualified candidates with a not-for-profit status and suitable capabilities can submit partnership proposals with concrete objectives and actions that align with GMDF’s focus areas and priorities. Preference is given to proposals that promote gender equality and benefit underrepresented regions and organizations. The budgeting and financial aspects must be transparent and justifiable, with contributions from partners and possible co-financing sources outlined.

Eligible Regions: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Timor-Leste, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of, Korea, Republic of, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Special Administrative Region of China, North Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States of, Moldova, Republic of, Monaco, Mongolia, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Eswatini, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Province of China, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Tanzania, United Republic of, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U. S., Wallis and Futuna Islands, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Antarctica, Palestine, State of, Serbia, Republic of, Montenegro, Kosovo, South Sudan.




  • The organization appreciates the applicant’s interest in submitting a proposal to the GMDF.
  • The applicant is strongly advised to read the Base Document and Terms of Reference of the 2023 Call for Partnerships (Annex 1) and learn more about the Global Media Defence Fund and its specific objectives before filling out the form.
  • All candidate partners must submit their partnership proposals via email to gmdf@unesco.org without any exceptions.
  • The applicant must ensure that every section of the Application Form is completed in full, providing clear, jargon-free, meaningful, and appropriate information as required under each section.
  • The deadline for submitting partnership proposals is Monday 28 August 2023 at 9:59 pm (UTC+0).
  • The applicant should ensure that all required forms and supporting documents are filled out and/or attached correctly before submitting the proposal.
  • The Application Form must be signed by the applicant organization’s authorized representative and submitted in a readable format, either Word or PDF.
  • The applicant is encouraged to carefully follow the provided guidelines and requirements while preparing the proposal.
  • The GMDF partnership proposal should be emailed to gmdf@unesco.org.
  • It is essential to submit the application on or before the specified deadline.
  • The applicant should keep in mind that only one proposal per organization is allowed.
  • Ensure that all necessary supporting documents are included as specified in the application guidelines.

Application Deadline: August 28, 2023 (26 Days Remaining)


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