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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

UPDATED - Request for Proposals: Accountability Journalism Focusing on International Aid

Monday , 26 July 2021


July 8, 2021


Samir Kassir Foundation


Accountability Journalism Focusing on International Aid




August 2021 – December 2021


Grants up to $15,000


July 31, 2021

Project Background

As the one-year anniversary of the Beirut Port Explosion approaches, with Lebanon staggering under the weight of economic, social, and political challenges, the media has a role to play in ensuring that standards of international aid regarding accountability and transparency are not sacrificed in favour of urgency and expediency. The Samir Kassir Foundation (SKF) is launching a Request for Proposals which aims to facilitate accountability-oriented journalism, encompassing fact-checking, exploring digital data, as well as a form of beat coverage, on the subject of international aid received by Lebanon in response to the Beirut Port Explosion on August 4, 2020.


In the aftermath of the Beirut Port Explosion, the eyes of the international community turned to Beirut. In the time since, several donor countries, international NGOs and the like have committed funding, across various sectors, to help Beirut – and Lebanon – in the recovery and reconstruction process. The international aid, often springing up with an understandable urgency, has sometimes fallen short of the perceived standards regarding transparency and, therefore, accountability. This in part may have been a result of the manner in which the aid was structured, disbursed, and managed, the lack of follow-up, or simply the opportunism of the receiver. In other cases, aid has helped the most vulnerable cope with a collapsing economy and allowed new economic sectors to thrive.


SKF invites proposals from Lebanese independent media platforms for the provision of financial and professional support. Four grants of up to US$15,000 are available for projects that would support content production including investigations into the utilization, management, and path of international aid (tracking a single donor or sector) since the Beirut Port Explosion.


Supported outlets will also receive bespoke support and mentorship, including but not limited to training on financial journalism in order to equip journalists with the tools to analyse and examine financial statements of international and local parties.


Eligibility criteria (applicants must meet all requirements)

  • Media organisations which produce original content (not news aggregators).
  • Organisations that produce content around human rights and good governance.
  • Organisations which are politically independent and transparent about funding sources.
  • Organisations must be based in Lebanon.

Proposal Elements

Overall objective: in a few sentences, what change will your project implement?

Context: Why is there a need for this funding? What challenges will it address? How does it adequately relate to the matter of tracking international aid in the post-August 4 landscape?

Outputs: What targets will you aim to hit with the funding? Which sector/donor will your content, expressed in terms of accountability journalism, be exploring? What will be the form of your produced content (investigative reports, short videos, multi-media journalism, etc.)? What will be the language(s) of publication?

Outreach: How will be the output be promoted to the public, including on social media networks?

Risks: What are the current and foreseeable risks that might impede the delivery of the project? Please take into account: financial, operational, reputational, political, and security risks, etc.

Key staff: Please include short bios and CVs (as appendices) of all key personnel who would be directly funded by the grant.

Budget: Please provide a tentative budget briefly detailing the manner in which the funding will be spent



Please complete all above sections. Your proposal narrative should be no longer than 3 pages (not including appendices) and be accompanied by a brief project budget.


Please send the completed proposal and supporting materials to amhanna@skeyesmedia.org and nbakhti@skeyesmedia.org. The submission deadline is July 31, 2021.


Projects will be selected by SKF representatives. Selected applicants will be notified by August 6, 2021.


About the implementing organisation


The Samir Kassir Foundation (SKF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, working to spread democratic culture in Lebanon and the Arab world and encourage new talents of free press. SKF hosts the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, which has become the largest operation to monitor and denounce violations of freedom of expression in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. SKF provides high-level capacity building for journalists to improve their coverage of sensitive issues, with support from local and international trainers, and world class media development institutions. SKF also provides financial and legal support to journalists in distress and advocates for the reform of legislations and practices that curtail freedom of expression. SKF has developed an expertise in media analysis and qualitative research around media consumption patterns and media content. SKF employs a team of 20 in Beirut, Amman, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza, Paris, and Amsterdam.


Criteria regarding editorial independence


  • Media is not owned or run by the state.
  • Media’s decisions at every level are not influenced by state bodies. 
  • Media doesn’t have state officials (including members of the legislative and executive branches) on its governing board, capable of influencing its policies. 
  • Media is not subsidised by government entities, through budget support or grants, providing the survival of the media depends on such a support. 
  • Media’s owners or key staff are not using the media outlet as a tool to gain political influence. 
  • Media is not a corporate outlet (i.e. a publication created for employees or clients of a company, not the public reader). 
  • Media is not a PR and lobbying tool for the owner. 


Criteria regarding values


  • Media possesses democratic values. 
  • Media is producing content meaningful to the community, beyond entertainment and consumerism.
  • Media does not promote intolerance.
  • Media upholds professional ethiсs.

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