The Journalism Foundation

The Journalism Foundation, a non-for-profit organisation that promotes, develops and sustains free and fair journalism across the world, launched in London this morning.

Its founding Chief Executive, Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of The Independent, said

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 is backed by the Lebedev family, has a board of Trustees chaired by Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of The Independent and the London Evening Standard. Other trustees of the foundation 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.

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, Pits n Pots, 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.

Mike Rawlins from Pits n Pots said

I’m delighted that Pits n Pots is going to be supported by the newly launched Journalism Foundation. Having the support of the foundation will allow me to do three things.

First, I am hoping to investigate ways for Pits n Pots to become a more sustainable public service business model while improving the awareness and reach of the site.
Second, I will be looking to find ways to promote better democratic, popular engagement across sections of the population who have not traditionally been engaged with democracy.
Finally, I will hope to use The Journalism Foundation’s support to create a template that can be used by active democratically engaged people across the country.

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. 

Of course you will read and hear a lot more about this over the coming months here on Pits n Pots.

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