The Facebook Journalism Project, in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), has announced that it will invest $300,000 in a new program that aims to support the stabilization and recovery needs of journalists and news organizations in Lebanon affected by the tragic explosion in Beirut on August 4. The program - “Supporting Beirut: Response and Recovery Fund”- will assist in supporting local news outlets that have suffered damage to infrastructure and resources.
ICFJ and Facebook will award $150,000 in emergency relief funds to Beirut-based news organizations and journalists directly impacted by the blast and in need of urgent financial support.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it will donate more than $2.1 million to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts, $1 million of which has been matched by Facebook's community as part of a fundraiser.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy. We’ve been getting regular updates from our contacts in Beirut; the damage to the city’s infrastructure, including its many newsrooms, is enormous. In spite of these devastating circumstances, the news industry is working hard, under extraordinary conditions, to keep people informed and updated,” said Mohamed Omar, News Partnerships Manager, Middle East and North Africa, at Facebook. “We applaud their efforts and are continuously working with our partners to both understand their needs and support them the best we can.”
ICFJ, a nonprofit organization focused on raising the quality of journalism worldwide, will mobilize its local networks to implement a two-phased response and recovery initiative to the Beirut crisis.
The first phase of this program will involve identifying Lebanese news organizations and journalists in need of urgent financial support. Impacted journalists and news organizations will then be able to apply for immediate emergency relief grants. ICFJ will award grants to select Beirut-based news organizations and journalists that fulfill a set criteria.
Sharon Moshavi, ICFJ’s senior vice president for new initiatives, said: “People turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe. As the impact of the devastating explosion continues to unfold in Beirut, ICFJ is prepared to work with the Facebook Journalism Project to provide tailored support to Lebanese journalists and news organizations that are providing critical information to a nation in crisis.”
The Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ will offer additional, deeper support to select Beirut-based news organizations during phase 2, depending on the longer term impacts of the crisis.