Application Deadline: Sunday 9 February 2020, 23h59 (GMT).

Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) is a charity, based in London, which provides legal help to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media across the world. MLDI’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public interest, allowing citizens to be better informed, able to hold those in power to account. MLDI’s mission is to ensure legal protection of journalists and media workers under threat for reporting on issues of public interest, in the belief that freedom of expression is essential.

MLDI would like to partner with NGOs, law centres and/or independent media outlets in East, West, and Southern Africa to advance digital rights and freedom of expression online. A limited number of one-year grants are available to such organisations, for projects aimed at providing better local level access to legal assistance and support to online independent media.

As part of this project, we are offering 12-month grants of up to USD 20,000 to organisations with backgrounds in defending and supporting the right to freedom of expression. The objective of the grants is to improve local access to legal assistance for online media and bloggers in order to advance digital rights and standards in online freedom of expression and to maximise the number of digital rights cases reaching the courts. The grants can be used to set up a media legal defence unit which provides pro bono legal support to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media and/or coordinates networks of lawyers to do the same.

If required, MLDI can provide legal mentoring, capacity building, and other forms of non-financial organisational support.


To be considered, organisations must meet the following criteria:
 The grant is open to NGOs, law centres and independent media outlets registered in East Africa, West Africa, or Southern Africa;
 The organisation must have a background or demonstrable interest in litigation and/or provision of legal support;

 The organisation should have previous experience in the advancement and protection of freedom of expression in the country or region where it operates; and
 The organisation must have sufficient administrative and financial capacity to comply with MLDI’s reporting requirements.

How to apply

Interested organisations are encouraged to submit a concept note though MLDI’s grant application portal, available here.

The deadline to submit a concept note is Sunday 9 February 2020, 23h59 (GMT).

Applicants will be asked to provide the following information:2
 Organisation’s name and address;
 The names of the head of the organisation, board chair, and treasurer;
 The total amount of money requested from MLDI;
 The organisation’s annual budget;
 A summary of expected outcomes; and
 A summary of proposed activities and outputs.


Shortlisted organisations will be invited to submit a full proposal. Grants will start in Summer 2020.


Application Deadline: Sunday 9 February 2020, 23h59 (GMT).

For more information, please contact Hannah Stoate, Digital Rights Advocates Project Coordinator at Or visit the official website here.

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