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Mediterranean Media Initiative Oceanic Crime and Ecoviolence Investigation Partnership Call

Call for Proposals
Published on
12 Feb 2023
a group of people facing away from the camera look out at sea.
29 March 2023, 07:59 AM, Europe/Rome CEST info.ejn [at]

Appel à propositions disponible en: Français


Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.


In the isolation of the deep blue sea, crimes easily go unnoticed:  overfishing, coerced labor, and dead discards of protected species thrive in this space. Illegal fishing in particular is a notorious form of transnational violence and vessels, including trawlers, regularly cross into protected territories, benefiting from loopholes to avoid getting caught.

EJN's Mediterranean Media Initiative is looking to support investigations, especially those that are transboundary, which seek to expose unauthorized fishing by industrial or semi-industrial vessels, as well as other harmful environmental practices impacting the marine environment. The types of investigations we are looking to support would place these issues within the wider context of anthropogenic stressors such as biodiversity loss, climate change and increased pollution and their impact on human security and environmental justice.

Furthermore, we would like to increase reporting which places fisheries-related offenses in relation to a broader set of criminal practices rather than as an isolated domain, as also pointed out by recent reports and initiatives by international bodies such as INTERPOL and the High Level Ocean Panel.

The Mediterranean Media Initiative has secured funding from the Adessium Foundation to commission transboundary investigations and work collectively with partners wishing to develop reports focusing on the Mediterranean.

In addition to providing journalists with a story grant, the EJN Med Media team would be providing capacity support which includes:

  • Participation in a dedicated 90-minute webinar featuring investigation and thematic experts,
  • Access to the investigative expertise of EJN Med Media Director Mona Samari, contributing author on Oceanic Crime, Spheres of Transnational Ecoviolence: Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Justice, by Peter Stoett and Delon Alain Omrow;
  • Access to satellite tracking, illegal fishing, and thematic experts able to cross-reference data and evidence, if required;
  • Tutorial in evidence cross-referencing of satellite data;
  • Resource materials, including related to effective use of encryption.


Applicants may come from any country bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

EJN's Mediterranean Media Initiative can award up to 4000 Euros per investigative project to cover the cost of the investigation, with the aim of awarding 5 such sub-grants over the course of the next 10 months to our investigation media partners.

Groups of journalists are eligiblehowever, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. Lead applicants are responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf, if awarded.

For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will only be accepting written applications in English or French. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must have a working understanding of English and French. The story can be published in the local language.

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience. We welcome applications from early-career journalists and experienced reporters with a track record of environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.

EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.

Story logistics

Application deadline: 31 March 2023.

We expect to award 5 grants with a budget of up to 4000 Euros each.

We plan to issue grants in April 2023 with the expectation that all stories will be published by September 30, 2023 at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan and each grant has a maximum 6 month-timeline.

Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 when out in the field so you do not endanger yourself or the people you’re interviewing. If needed, you should include any Covid-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget.

Language of publication: Stories can be produced in any language. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.

Story budget: All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.

We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new equipment.

We will consider a stipend for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer. Please estimate the time you’ll need to complete this story and propose compensation you believe reflects a fair market rate. We ask, however, that this comprises no more than 30% of the total budget.

Acknowledgement of EJN support:  Published stories and/or broadcasts must disclose EJN support by including this tagline: "This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network."

Republication rights: Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as Internews’ EJN, its partners and the grant funder, Adessium Foundation, are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.

Judging criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals.

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the call? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered, does your proposal bring new insights to the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and spur action?
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Plan for timely publication: Reporters, whether freelance or employed at a media outlet, will need to include a letter of support from an editor in their application, committing to publish the stories by September 30, 2023. 

Application process

  • Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page.
  • If you have an existing account, you'll need to log in. Since we recently updated our website, you might have to reset your password by clicking the “Forgot password?” link in the log in page. If you don’t have an account, you must register by clicking “Log in” on the top right of the page and click the “Sign up” link at the bottom of the page that opens. Click here for detailed instructions on how to create an account, and here for detailed instructions on how to reset your password.
  • If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later, you can click 'Save Draft.' To return to the draft, you'll need to go back to the opportunity and click 'Apply now' again to finalize the application.
  • Applications should provide a detailed budget in an Excel spreadsheet with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template now by clicking on this link.
  • All applicants are required to provide a signed letter of support from their editor, explicitly stating that the media outlet will publish the stories produced as a result of this grant.
  • Applicants will also need to submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work.

Note: You'll be asked to upload these supporting documents once you start the application process, so please have them handy.

If you encounter difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected]. Do not contact any other Internews email regarding this opportunity, as we will not receive it.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Banner image : Coast Guard officers monitoring fishing vessels and investigating instances of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Civitavecchia port, Italy / Credit : Cristiano Minichiello (FAO) via Flickr.

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