Vance Center Strengthens Support for Investigative Journalism

November 2019

With a grant from the Open Society Foundations Program in Independent Journalism, the Vance Center has expanded efforts to provide pro bono legal assistance to investigative journalism organizations.  Clients include the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, along with regional and local publishers and journalists.

To meet old and new clients, Vance Center Executive Director Alexander Papachristou over the past two months has attended the Global Investigative Journalism Network conference in Hamburg, Germany, the Inter-American Conference of Investigative Journalists in Mexico City, and the Arab Reporters of Investigative Journalism conference in Amman, Jordan.  He also met with Greek journalists starting a new investigative journalism organization.

The Vance Center’s support for journalism extends beyond help with defamation claims, although it currently is assisting Guatemalan, Serbian, Venezuelan, and U.S. organizations defend against such claims and has advised British, Arab, and others to avoid them.  The support also has involved preparing agreements for journalists to collaborate on reporting based on leaked data and advising on where and how to establish operations and employ staff.

The Vance Center also has worked closely with A Culture of Safety (ACOS) Alliance, a coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations, and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices.  This work has focused on providing freelance journalists with opportunities to obtain insurance and otherwise improve their safety and conditions.

Lawyers from countries throughout the world have joined the Vance Center as co-counsel in this legal representation of publishers and journalists, always on a pro bono basis.  Australian, British, Colombian, Cypriot, French, German, Swiss, and U.S. law firms have participated over the past year.

The support from the Open Society Foundations also benefits the Vance Center’s work with anti-corruption activists and human rights defenders.