Journalists in Distress Fund

CJFE's Journalists in Distress program provides humanitarian assistance to journalists around the world whose lives and well-being are threatened because of their work. Since its creation in 1999, the program has disbursed over $300,000 and supported dozens of journalists in need.

Supporting Courageous Reporting

In 2021, the JID provided interim financial support to Mahnaz Alizadeh, an Iranian documentary film-maker who worked on the documentary Nasrin, about acclaimed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. After Sotoudeh was arrested by Iranian authorities and imprisoned in 2019, Ms. Alizadeh drew the attention and ire of Iran’s repressive regime. Fearing for her life, she fled her home country for Canada – but never got there. After sojourns to Ecuador, Chile and Peru, Alizadeh tried to enter Brazil, where she was detained by border police and jailed. That is when she reached out to CJFE for help. In addition to providing financial support, CJFE and its international partners advocated on Alizadeh’s behalf, strongly urging Brazil to recognize her as a bona fide refugee who would likely face imprisonment, torture and even death if she were forced to return to Iran.

CJFE also provided financial assistance through the JID program to Mohammed Al-Daher, a Syrian journalist who needed support for his family’s travel expenses. A reporter, photographer and videographer who had worked in Syria for the Smart News Agency and Agence France Presse, Al-Daher fled the country in 2018 after learning that he had been sentenced to death by the Assad regime. Germany granted him asylum in 2020, but by the time he reached out to CJFE, he had not seen his family for three years. They had fled to Jordan and had also been granted asylum by Germany, but Al-Daher could not afford to pay for their travel. In part because of CJFE’s assistance, Al-Daher and his family were reunited.

Journalists in Distress Program

  • The applicant must be a journalist, verifiable by either an IFEX member or an organization that provides emergency assistance.
  • The amount granted typically ranges from $500 to $1500 CAD.
  • Journalists are eligible for a maximum of two separate grants from CJFE.
  • Legal fees when journalists are detained.
  • Medical expenses when journalists are caught in the line of fire or traumatized by their coverage.
  • Transportation costs to flee a dangerous situation.
  • Financial support for the families of journalists who have been killed or imprisoned.
  • Resettlement costs within first year of arriving in a final safe country.

Applications for the Journalists in Distress program are currently closed. Please check back for updates.

The JID Network

CJFE is a member of the Journalists in Distress (JID) Network, a group of 18 international organizations that provide direct assistance to journalists and media workers whose lives or careers are threatened because of their work. Each organization has its own mandate and criteria for emergency assistance; the Network does not engage in joint advocacy. The JID Network was established in 2006 to allow member organizations with freedom of expression mandates to more easily share information, coordinate joint efforts and avoid duplication.