Independent Media in Exile

The following resources are compiled to offer an overview of organizations, funding opportunities, and research on support to independent media in exile. (July 2023)

Compiled by Logan Richman

Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and International Forum for Democratic Studies

Safety and Emergency Assistance

Financial and Professional Support

  • Ex-press (Launching soon) will support exiled journalists and publish an online magazine of quality journalism produced in exile.

  • The Hannah Arendt Initiative, launched in 2022 in partnership with DW Akademie, is a network of civil society organizations with pilot projects to support and protect journalists from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus (both exiled and in-country). According to the initiative’s FAQ, there will be future calls for project proposals published on the initiative’s website.

  • The Journalists in Need Network (jinn) is a Berlin-based organization supporting exile media. According to its website, two jinn programs—the Berlin Incubator for Media in Exile (BIMEX) and the Exile Media Hub Berlin—will be accepting applications in September 2023 and July-August 2023, respectively. Jinn supports exile media practitioners from Belarus and Russia in particular.

  • The JX Fund supports exile media with opportunities to effectively and safely continue their work in exile. View their network partners here. Monitor their programs page for new funding opportunities and grants, and use their contact page or contact form for exiled media and/or media workers to request support.

  • NEMO: Network of Exiled Media Outlets offers services connecting exile media organizations and journalists, facilitates collaboration and shares resources. NEMO extends its network to partners with geographically distinct, well-established media outlets. To express interest in joining and learn about current members, follow this link.

The following are not specifically tailored to exile media, but offer support for independent media facing crises, emergencies, repression, or exile.

Reports and Academic Articles

Examines how Syrian diaspora journalists in exile engage in transnational advocacy and do not necessarily follow traditional journalists’ roles. The piece proposes a new definition of diaspora advocacy journalism, tracing the origin of this type of journalism to the exile environment.

  1. Benazzo, Simone. (2023). Media in Exile: Key Players in Resisting Autocratization. Media and Journalism Research Center.

Attempts to systematically assess the phenomenon of exile media by collecting and organizing data, tracking both countries covered by and hosting exile media practitioners, as well as compiling the websites of several exile media outlets sorted by world region.

  1. Chamorro, Carlos. (2023) How to report under a dictatorship: Lessons from Nicaragua and beyond. 2023 Reuters Memorial Lecture.

Makes a series of recommendations for news outlets faced with the challenge of reporting from permanent or long-term exile. Recommends that exile media outlets redouble efforts to safely cultivate sources on the ground, build networks of allies and collaborators within the country and region, innovate forms of story-telling on-line, and seek forms of lasting financial sustainability, including through philanthropic support.

  1. Cook, C. E. (2016). Fragile finance: The revenue models of oppositional news outlets in repressive regimes. International Communication Gazette, 78(6), 514–535.

Examines revenue streams of exile media outlets and outlets in repressive environments, analyzing barriers to grant funding, general income, and donations. The article identifies alternative approaches, such as partnerships, to bolster economic resilience for threatened media.

  1. Independent High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom. (2020). Report on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk. International Bar Association.

Identifies the significant legal obstacles journalists face in securing relocation and remaining safe. The report recommends the introduction of a new emergency visa for journalists at risk, the extension of refugee protections to them, and the guarantee of visas for their family/dependents.

  1. International Federation of Journalists. (2023). Pressure & Polarisation: Powering Media Resistance in South Asia.

Analyzes the state of press freedom across eight countries in South Asia. The report details the experiences of exile media from these countries. See “A Precarious Exile” for an overview of challenges and dangers faced by Afghan journalists working in Pakistan.

  1. International Media Support. (2023). IMS annual report 2022: Collaborating for good journalism.

Tracks the impact of independent media support during crises in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, and Ukraine, successfully helping and protecting exile outlets. Alongside statistics and testimonials, the report includes detailed summaries of its work in 26 countries.

  1. International Media Support. (2020). Syrian Independent Exile Media.

Examines the independent exile media organizations and institutions that have developed since the 2011 uprising. It contextualizes the Syrian exile media sector within exile media globally, and analyzes donors’ approaches to exile media in conflict, post-conflict, and fragile states.

Investigates how Amsterdam, Berlin, Tbilisi, and Riga became hubs for Russian exile media, tracking how outlets overcame financial, legal, and organizational challenges. The report recommends that political institutions, humanitarian aid organizations, and independent donors collaborate transnationally, tailoring support to the specific, local needs of exile media. Access the report here.

Describes several Europe-based organizations and programs for exiled journalists. The report details the needs of exile media practitioners as well as strategies to strengthen exile journalism through short- and long-term relocation, as well as innovative financing.

Presents findings from two focus group discussions held with exiled journalists in July 2023, highlighting difficulties exiled journalists face (legal challenges, language barriers, financial constraints, limited access to equipment, etc.) as well as recommendations (legal advocacy, language classes, novel funding schemes, etc.).

  1. O’Loughlin, Conor and Pytrik Schafraad. (2016). News on the move: Towards a typology of Journalists in Exile. Observatorio. 10. 1-45.

Investigates how the experiences of exiled journalists have affected their motivations and professional standards, specifically examining (among other variables) journalists’ relationship to the truth, both as a goal in and of itself and a means to further democratization.

Covers examples of exile media in Russia, Myanmar, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, and Azerbaijan. The piece highlights how these outlets are supported and continue to operate successfully. Additionally, the piece includes several tools and strategies exile media professionals can use to circumvent censorship and reach blocked audiences.

  1. Porlezza, Colin and Rana Arafat. (2022). Promoting Newsafety from the Exile: The Emergence of New Journalistic Roles in Diaspora Journalists’ Networks. Journalism Practice. 16:9, 1867-1889

Examines how journalists working for Syrian exile media outlets perceive threats as inescapable, even when working across borders. The piece analyzes counterstrategies, including professional safety trainings, adopted by exiled journalists. It also proposes four new journalistic roles for promoting news safety from exile.

  1. Radsch, Courtney. (2023). Understanding and Responding to Global Emerging News Threats Internews. 70-76.

Summarizes challenges facing journalists in environments with increased pressure and/or repression, or in which crisis has forced many into exile. It outlines recommendations for donor organizations, governments, and implementers to support exile media (see pages 70-76).

  1. Uiterkamp, Tim Schoot. (2022). Exile Media: Mapping the challenges faced by independent media in exile. Free Press Unlimited.

Outlines predominant challenges faced by independent media in exile, including safety (physical, digital, and psycho-social), financial sustainability, and connection with audiences and sources. It recommends that outlets collaborate with similar organizations to receive support.

Analyzes how exile media outlets can operate safely and sustainably, as well as the financial challenges facing exile media. Additionally, the report focuses on personal case studies and interviews to demonstrate specific dangers faced by exiled journalists.

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