LNJARLegal Network for Journalists at Risk

The Legal Network for Journalists at Risk provides journalists and independent media outlets around the world with critical legal support to protect their continued reporting on issues of vital public interest.

LNJARLegal Network for Journalists at Risk

The Legal Network for Journalists at Risk provides journalists and independent media outlets around the world with critical legal support to protect their continued reporting on issues of vital public interest.

Adequate legal support and representation is essential to ensuring that journalists and independent media organisations can cover key public interest stories that spark critical debate and hold power to account without fear of retribution.

The last decade has seen a drastic deterioration of media freedoms. In many countries, laws have been weaponised against independent journalism, leaving thousands of small publishers and journalists vulnerable to legal attacks that aim to censor their reporting, and that can deliver a lethal blow to their financial sustainability.

Whether fighting criminal charges or civil lawsuits, or challenging the suspension of blocked social media accounts, high quality legal representation is often the most effective tool to counter these challenges and allow the media to continue their critical work uncensored and unhindered.

ABOUT THE NETWORK

Around the world, several organisations are providing support to journalists at risk, but in the face of the increased legal threats to independent media, more effective coordination is urgently needed.

The Legal Network for Journalists at Risk (LNJAR) strategically coordinates the different types of support currently offered by various organisations with the goal of providing journalists and independent media outlets at risk with a single-entry point into an ecosystem of support. Cases against the media can take a long time to come to an end. Assistance offered through the network ranges from urgent legal representation, to ongoing assistance for the duration of a case, to systemic support to improve the legal environment in which the media operates.

LNJAR is an initiative comprising key member organisations and a steering committee composed of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and Media Defence. It provides support to individual journalists and media outlets from the beginning to the end of their legal cases. It also produces practical legal tools that can help journalists navigate the ongoing complexities arising from weaponised legal measures introduced against them.

TYPES OF LEGAL SUPPORT

  • Connecting to a lawyer and coverage of fees

    Through its member organisations, LNJAR can connect journalists to reliable lawyers in their country. Grant-making member organisations can help cover legal fees. Direct representation of journalists and media outlets on a pro bono basis will also be provided whenever possible.

  • Strengthening legal representation

    LNJAR can coordinate support to local lawyers by connecting them to teams of pro bono firms who can provide additional ad-hoc support.

  • Strengthening the case

    As a case progresses, many different types of support can be provided:

    • Journalists and their lawyers can be connected to organisations that can help gather forensic evidence or provide expert testimony, for example in cases of torture and violence, or digital attacks;
    • Where there is a likelihood of a politicised, unfair trial, trial-monitoring organisations can be enlisted to ensure fairness or expose a lack thereof;
    • Comparative legal research input provided by pro bono lawyers and member organisations from around the world can be used to bolster the arguments; and
    • Joint amicus briefs can raise the profile of a case and inform domestic courts on international standards. A coalition of member organisations could submit petitions to special human rights mechanisms where relevant.
  • Strengthening the ecosystem

    Increased coordination will make it easier to build joint response initiatives where necessary or to ensure a wider variety of support needs are met.

    Through the production of legal tools, such as “Know-Your-Rights” Guides, Toolkits and Handbooks, the LNJAR members will contribute to strengthening the media freedom space by increasing journalists’ and media outlets’ legal acumen and mitigating risk from future legal actions. These tools can cover pre-publication advice as well as practical tips for professionals when they are working in the field.

    Through its members, LNJAR can also provide lawyers with the tools they need to respond to emerging threats against the media and access regional human rights mechanisms, for instance through trainings or peer learning networks.

WHERE WE WORK

The LNJAR’s reach is global, through the combined networks of our member organisations.

SEEK LEGAL SUPPORT

We support journalists and media outlets that are confronted with legal action as a result of their journalistic work. We consider journalism to be a function shared by a wide range of actors. This includes, but is not limited to, professional full-time journalists and media workers who share information through traditional channels, as well as citizen journalists who may use tools such as the internet and social media for self-publication in print, online or elsewhere.

If you are seeking legal support, please reach out to us at help@medialegalhelp.org

PRIVACY NOTICE

When you contact us for legal support, we may disclose your personal information to the appropriate LNJAR member’s group, which means their subsidiaries, their ultimate holding company and subsidiaries, as defined in section 1159 of the UK Companies Act 2006.

When contacting us, we recommend that you provide only basic information about your case, the type of support you are seeking, details on the best way for us to contact you and where applicable information on whether you are already working with a lawyer and/or organisation. Avoid sharing confidential or legally privileged information and/or documentation until you have been connected with the relevant LNJAR contact that will provide support or respond to your query.

DISCLAIMER

Neither the Thomson Reuters Foundation nor the LNJAR members take responsibility or liability for any harm or loss that results from your failure to adhere to this requirement. Anyone contacting us is solely responsible for the contents their communication. Once your information has been shared with the appropriate LNJAR member, it will be processed subject to their terms of service.

MEMBERS

LNJAR STEERING COMMITTEE

LNJAR MEMBER ORGANISATIONS

If your organisation would like to become a member of the LNJAR, please contact us at join@medialegalhelp.org

CONTACT US

For legal support, please email us at help@medialegalhelp.org

For enquiries related to the LNJAR’s membership, please email us at join@medialegalhelp.org