WB6 MEDIA: Support to Media Freedom and Pluralism in the Western Balkans

GIZ invites independent Media Organisations established and operating in the region of Western Balkans, to apply to participate in the Programme: Support to Media Freedom and Pluralism in the Western Balkans, co-funded by the European Union and the German Government, and implemented by GIZ, in collaboration with Internews and DW Akademie.


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in collaboration with Internews and DW Akademie, is implementing a Regional Media Assistance Programme, in 6 economies] of Western Balkans, funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Programme will contribute to the overall objective of strengthening participatory democracy and the EU approximation process in the Western Balkans by building capacity of media outlets, and by stimulating an enabling environment for pluralistic media.

Specific Objective of the Programme:

Capacities of professional independent media organisations are enhanced to better adapt to the changing media environment.

Taking into consideration the scarce human and financial resources of the independent media sector, this Programme will provide support that will consist of a combination of substantial capital investment, tailor-made technical support and a range of capacity building activities to improve business and develop high-quality journalism.

The Programme is aiming to achieve the following objectives:

1. Strengthen capacities of media organisations to improve economic performance.

2. Improve capacities of media organisations for quality reporting.

3. Enhance local and regional exchange and cooperation between media actors, tech companies and innovative business actors.

Goal and Objectives of the Call

Provision of tailor-made support to independent media organisations in the Western Balkans, to enhance their economic performance and audience reach, and improve their capacities.

The Programme will support up to 20 Media Organizations in Western Balkans by:

– Supporting the diversification of revenues by adapting and introducing business models;

– Improving the quality of audience engagement through research and analytics;

– Improving content-producing capacities;

– Fostering regional networking and collaboration;

– Supporting digital modernization and innovative content development;


Independent Media Organisations from WB6: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo​1*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

No of Grants to be awarded: approximately 20

Grant Size: up to EUR 150.000

Grant Duration: up to 3 years

GIZ is seeking to select up to 20 independent and well-established Media Organisations from the Western Balkans region, as strategic partners, to engage with them in identifying their needs first, and thereafter offering tailor-made technical support for strengthening business management capacities and transferring potential credible business ideas into viable business action plans. Once this is in place, the Media Organisations will benefit from financial, technical and capacity building support related to the implementation of their business action plans for up to three years (depending on successful attainment of performance indicators). The business action plans will aim to:

– increase and/or diversify revenues from the newly introduced/developed production and business approaches,

– improve understanding of the media and market environment,

– improve audience engagement and increase audience numbers,

– implement innovative content formats/products/services,

– ensure diversity and quality in journalistic reporting (including increased fact-checking),

– share good practices and improve business models through cooperation nationally and/or on the regional  level among media houses or with actors from the business development sector and tech communities.

Application Modalities:

The interested Media Organisations can apply online through a dedicated webpage, to this link: APPLICATION FOR STRATEGIC MEDIA PARTNERS , until the deadline July 22, 12:00 CEST.

As part of the Application Package, the Media Organisations will need to submit:

  • An Application Letter outlining their strategy and vision for the future. (Annex 1)
  • A filled in Questionnaire with information on Media Organisation’s work. (Annex 2)
  • Supporting Documents (Annex 3):
    • Certificate of legal registration of the legal entity owning the media
    • Certificate of registration/licence form Media Authority (if applicable)
    • Organigram of the Media Organisation
    • CVs of the managerial and editorial staff of the Organisation
    • Official Financial Reports of the organisation for the last two fiscal years
    • Tax authority certificate on fiscal obligations dues
    • Recent audits, external evaluations and/or other relevant documents, if available
    • Copies/links of quality media productions related to (but not limited to): elections, politics, good governance, socio economic rights of vulnerable groups (women, minorities, youth, people with disabilities, etc.); environment, etc. (at least 5 articles, stories, videos)
    • Copies/Links of in-depth evidence based or investigative stories on topics of high public interest, that have had an impact on the wider public

The Selection Process will be based on the following eligibility criteria and criteria for evaluation:

Eligibility Criteria:

– The applicant should be a legally established and registered media organisation in one of the Western Balkans economies

– Latest date of establishment: 31 December 2018

– Status of the legal entity: Independent private sector media company or non-for-profit media organisation. Public broadcasters and state-controlled media are not eligible

– Transparent ownership structure, with no involvement of state or state-affiliated entities; nor of senior political actors or their close relatives

– Proven commitment to professional and ethical standards of journalism (e.g. through membership in press councils; adherence or compliance with other relevant recognized mechanisms, platforms, etc. established to promote professional and ethical standards in journalism)

The Media Organisations that fulfil the Eligibility Criteria will be subject to an evaluation process, based on the following Criteria:

Evaluation Criteria:

I    – Quality and Relevance of the Application

II   – Good governance and organisational capacities

III  – Commitment to uphold professional and ethical standards of journalism

IV  – Editorial independence and contribution to media pluralism & quality journalism 

V   – Current relevance and potential in audience outreach 

VI  – Commitment to economic sustainability

VII – Regional collaboration and capacity/interest for networking

After the selection, an individual in-depth needs assessment will be conducted for each Media Organisation selected, followed by technical assistance to develop a final business action plan for up to three years.

The selected Media Organisations will develop, in close cooperation with the’ experts provided within the Programme, an elaborated Business Action Plan, including a Timeframe, a detailed Budget, and a set of Key Performance Indicators.

After a successful technical evaluation of final documents prepared (Business Action Plan that includes: developed business idea; list of activities and outputs; timeframe; detailed budget; list of key performance indicators), and after a proper due diligence check, including GIZ mandatory commercial and legal eligibility risk assessment,  contracts will be concluded with up to 20 media organisations that will include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks to be reached.

The maximum grant amount per grantee will be 150,000 EUR and will be paid in three tranches, depending on the fulfilment of the performance indicators as provided in the individual Business Action Plan.

The Media Organisations will receive continuous training and advice to help them implement the business action plans.

Please contact us via the email address wb6media@giz.de for any question for clarifications you might have.

1* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence