The Journalism Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes, develops and sustains free and fair journalism across the world, launched in London today.
Its founding Chief Executive, Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of The Independent, said today: “I am delighted to lead this new body, which will show that journalism can be a force for good by supporting initiatives that have a direct and positive effect on people’s lives.”
The Foundation, which was inspired and is backed by the Lebedev family, has a board of Trustees chaired by Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of The Independent and the London Evening Standard. His fellow trustees include Baroness Kennedy, the renowned human rights lawyer, Lord Fowler, former chair of the House of Commons media select committee, and Sir John Tusa, former director general of BBC World Service.
Evgeny Lebedev said: "At a time when, quite rightly, a light is being shone on malpractice in some areas of the British Press, I am delighted to give my backing to an initiative whose purpose is to demonstrate the positive aspects of journalism. Free speech has always been a touchstone issue for me, and an organisation intent on giving people around the world a voice is worthy of widespread support."
The Journalism Foundation is launching with two initiatives to show the scope and range of its work. The Foundation, in partnership with the department of journalism at London’s City University, is establishing the first practical training courses for journalists in Tunisia, teaching local journalists how to report in a free and open society. The second project sees
The Journalism Foundation supporting a grass roots website in an effort to increase interest in local politics in the British town of Stoke-on-Trent. The site, www.pitsnpots.co.uk, was set up in response to a lack of coverage of local council matters, and the Foundation is supporting its development with the aim of bolstering public engagement in the area.
The launch of the Foundation has been acclaimed by figures across the political and cultural landscape. Salman Rushdie said: “ This is an important and valuable – and needed – initiative that aims to uphold and propagate the highest journalistic standards. I wish it the very best.” Jemima Khan said: “A vibrant democracy and a free press go hand in hand. I applaud the work of The Journalism Foundation in trying to strengthen this relationship.” Lord Ashdown said: “There could not be a better time for an organisation like this to be set up to ensure we get the balance right between strengthening what is best in journalism and rejecting what we all now know to be bad.”
Alexander Lebedev said: "I am delighted the Journalism Foundation is launching. For over 20 years I have argued that democracy cannot flourish in countries without a free press. And it is only by championing brave, investigative journalists across the globe that international corruption can be tackled effectively. Now more than ever, we must support journalists who hold the powerful to account – and I am certain this foundation will do that brilliantly.
The Journalism Foundation is seeking new projects to invest in and new partners to help fund those projects. To get involved, go to www.thejournalismfoundation.com or follow @4journalism.