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Sustainable Information

Project rationale 

Independent journalism is under attack from a number of forces. These forces include the use of social media and its algorithms to shape public opinion; the spread of misinformation and disinformation; challenges to journalistic legitimacy and authority, political and governmental interference, lack of freedom of information, economic and financial constraints and the new business models of large digital platforms..

The consequences of these trends include the polarisation of public debate, the endangerment of citizens’ health, safety and environment, the weakening of democracy and the abuse of power.

A European movement that first emerged in the 1990s – “media activism” – offers a way to counter these trends. It combines the techniques, tools and platforms of media communication with those of direct action typical of grassroots social movements. To better understand this phenomenon, imagine an interconnected environment of information flows, networks, media campaigns, programmers, writers and journalists, all forming a laboratory for innovation and experimentation in media communication.

This movement represents an evolution in the relationship between civil society and journalism. It was a response to journalism’s need to get closer to citizens and direct sources. It is also an opportunity for journalism to become a more effective tool in the hands of organisations working to improve European democracy in areas such as social and environmental justice, integration, gender rights and good governance.

It is essential that journalism does not leave these issues to self-narrative or false narratives. Journalism must retain its role as mediator and narrator, while avoiding distortion of the facts it gathers.

At the same time, while avoiding direct involvement in activism and maintaining its independence, journalism is increasingly called upon to uphold certain values in favour of collective action that could help solve the many crises facing the world.

S-INFO explores this territory where journalism meets activism. Through its various activities, the project seeks to build a collaborative relationship between media professionals and civil society organisations, rooted in democracy and guided by values such as pluralism, peace, justice, diversity, inclusion and equity.

Potential impacts

  • Higher resilience of independent media through support and collaboration from CSOs and through improved funding capacity.
  • Greater skills and capacity for investigative journalism among both CSOs and independent journalists.
  • More pluralism, press freedom and media independence through recommendations for stronger regulatory protections of journalists.
  • An environment more conducive to the flourishing of investigative journalism through improved freedom of information laws and greater accountability of those who abuse public trust.