Supporting journalists in danger, and their families
The Media Safety and Solidarity Fund is supported by donations from Australian journalists and media personnel to assist colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region through times of emergency, war and hardship. Established in 2005, the fund is a unique and tangible product of strong inter-regional comradeship administered through the Asia-Pacific office of the International Federation of Journalists in collaboration with the Media Alliance and the Media Safety and Solidarity board.
It is entirely funded by journalists to aid their colleagues who work in less privileged circumstances. The fund helps colleagues in:
Nepal’s transition to democracy since a violent coup in 2005 has been nurtured by the hard work of the independent journalism community and journalists’ organisations. This transition has come at great personal sacrifice to Nepal’s media community, with a number of journalists killed or disappeared since 2001. Many children of journalists have lost one of their parents, and their families struggle to sustain their livelihoods. The Media Safety and Solidarity fund was asked to support a long-term program to fund the schooling and educational needs of all children of killed journalists through to adulthood – a projected commitment of at least 20 years.
In 2011-2012, the fund supported 28 children of journalists and media workers killed in Nepal.
The massacre of 32 media personnel, among a group of 58, in the southern Philippines on 23 November 2009, is the world’s worst single atrocity committed against the media in living memory. The Media Safety and Solidarity Fund has worked closely with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) over many years to assist in setting up an NUJP Safety Office, which is now supported by the Norwegian journalists’ union, Norsk Journalistlag (NJ), with IFJ Asia-Pacific assistance.
In 2011-2012, this fund supported about 100 children of journalists and media workers killed in the Philippines, including the children of those killed in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre.
During 2011-2012, the fund agreed to support the education of the two children of disappeared cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda for the next three years. The fund has also established an annual lecture, in support of press freedom in Sri Lanka, to commemorate the life of Lasantha Wickrematunge, a prominent Sri Lankan journalist and human rights activist who was assassinated in January 2009.
The Fund continues to support a press freedom monitoring project in China. Run by IFJ Asia-Pacific, it is jointly funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. The Hong-Kong based media monitor and project coordinator researches and writes background reports, media statements and a regular monthly e-bulletin in English and Chinese, which are distributed through an international network of China press freedom advocates, journalists and freedom of expression experts developed by the program coordinator.
Over the past 12 months, the Appeal has provided one off grants of disaster relief support to Pakistan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Japan totalling $26,358.