COVID-19 and Press Freedom

Responses to the coronavirus could shift the long-term paradigm for press freedom. CPJ is monitoring 10 types of global press freedom violations, including laws against ‘fake news,’ journalists’ arrests, and surveillance.

Click on the buttons in the legend to explore the types of attacks, and hover over each point on the map for more information on each violation.

More safety advice:

More safety questions? Ask a CPJ expert

CPJ’s safety experts provide information and support to all journalists, including freelancers and media workers, around the world. They host free information sessions with individual journalists or newsrooms on risk assessment, physical safety, and digital security. Please complete one of the forms below.

Freelance photographer and videographer Zmnako Ismael (left) is seen covering the COVID-19 pandemic. (Zmnako Ismael)

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Photo: Zmnako Ismael

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AFP photographer Diptendu Dutta works during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 in Siliguri, India, on April 10, 2020. Freelance journalists have faced risks to their lives and livelihoods amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP)
AFP photographer Diptendu Dutta works during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 in Siliguri, India, on April 10, 2020. Freelance journalists have faced risks to their lives and livelihoods amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP)

COVID-19 Emergency Funds for Journalists

The following funding opportunities are available to journalists struggling due to COVID-19.

  • Fund for Investigative Journalism: The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is offering emergency grants for U.S. freelancers who are reporting on the coronavirus, particularly around stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing. The average grant will be around $5,000, but can be as high as $10,000.
  • IWMF: The International Women’s Media Foundation has created a Journalism Relief Fund with grants up to $2,000 for women-identifying journalists who face significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off or who urgently need assistance.
  • Microloans for Journalists: A group of four journalists created Microloans for Journalists for fellow journalists who have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours reduced. Journalists can apply for an interest-free $500 loan, agreed to be paid back within one year. The money will come from other journalists who have donated to the fund. Learn more and apply here.
  • National Geographic: The COVID-19 Emergency Fund will distribute support ranging from $1,000–8,000 for local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is open to writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualization experts.
  • Press Freedom Defense Fund. The Press Freedom Defense Fund is distributing grants of up to $1,500 each to journalists currently working in any medium; or journalists who were employed within six months of applying for assistance, who have experienced financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. Journalists can apply for grants from June 29 and can find out more here.
  • Women Photograph: For now, all donations to Women Photograph go toward an Emergency Fund for independent women and non-binary photographers impacted by COVID-19.