Overview of RSF’s support activity in 2015

The Assistance Desk at the international secretariat of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris and its counterpart in RSF’s German section in Berlin are responsible for the administrative, material and financial support that RSF provides to journalists and media in difficulty.

In 2015, the two desks disbursed more than 200 assistance grants with a total value of about €210,000.


As in 2014, around 80% of these grants were allocated to individuals. However, the grants allocated by the international secretariat to support the activities of media outlets or NGOs that defend the media and journalists constituted about 50% of the overall sum that RSF spent on assistance.


Geographic origin of the journalists assisted

More than 300 Syrian professional and non-professional journalists have fled abroad in the course of five years of fighting in Syria, in which they have been targets of systematic reprisals by government forces, armed “opposition” groups and members of the Al-Nusra Front, Islamic State and other extremist militias. RSF continued to help such journalists in 2015.

More than 40% of the assistance grants allocated in 2015 went to journalists from Middle Eastern countries, especially Syrian journalists. In many cases, the purpose of the grants was to help Syrian journalists cope with the difficulties they encountered in the countries neighbouring Syria (Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey) to which they fled in search of safety."Syrian refugee journalists"PDF

Burundian journalists, who were the victims of an unprecedented political crisis and persecutions, were also among the main recipients of individual support grants.

The following chart shows the breakdown of the 2015 assistance grants by geographic origin of recipients:

Kinds of problems encountered by journalists

The largest share (42%) of assistance grants allocated by RSF in 2015 was intended to help journalists to address their immediate needs, especially in countries of initial refuge, where those who flee abroad often find themselves without resources and income on arrival.

Helping journalists to escape dangers was the purpose of 20% of the grants allocated. This included going into hiding or temporarily relocating within their own country or abroad.

Grants designed to support the activities of journalists, media outlets or NGOs that defend freedom of information represented 13% of the overall number of grants and around 50% of the overall value of the grants allocated by RSF’s international secretariat in 2015. The purpose of these grants included providing material support and funding the digital security seminars that RSF organized as part of the Libnet project. RSF carried out several operations in early 2015 in support of media outlets that had been victims of the conflict in the Central African Republic in 2014.

The following chart shows the breakdown of assistance grants by the purpose for which they were intended: