It is in times of crisis that telling people’s stories becomes undeniably integral to managing and decreasing the suffering of those in need. And the Facebook Journalism Project is committed to supporting the continued spread of reliable news and awareness, a key tool in amassing global charitable donations, and keeping the local population informed.
So, the social network has teamed up with the International Center for Journalists, a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising the quality of worldwide journalism, to invest USD300K in a major new programme: "Supporting Beirut: Response and Recovery Fund". The initiative will support the much-needed stabilisation and recovery efforts of journalists and news organisations in Lebanon affected by the tragic Beirut explosion on 4 August.
This project follows Facebook’s USD750K investment in the new "Middle East and North Africa Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund" and simultaneous launch of an Arabic third-party fact-checking system. Earlier this week, too, Facebook announced that it will donate over USD2.1 million to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts in Lebanon, USD1 million of which has been matched by its community as part of a Facebook fundraiser.
Mohamed Omar of MENA Facebook expressed his solidarity with those affected by the blast; "Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy. We’ve been getting regular updates from our contacts in Beirut: the damage to the city’s infrastructure, including its many newsrooms, is enormous." He continues, "In spite of these devastating circumstances, the news industry is working hard, under extraordinary circumstances, to keep people informed and updated."
The programme will involve two phases: the first of which will identify Lebanese news organisations and journalists in need of urgent financial support. The next step will be to allow other impacted journalists and organisation to apply for immediate emergency relief grants, which they will be awarded as long as they fulfil the ICFJ’s criteria.
Sharon Moshavi, the ICFJ’s Senior Vice President for New Initiatives, explains, "People turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe. As the impact of the devastating explosion continues to unfold in Beirut, ICFJ is prepared to work with the Facebook Journalism Project to provide tailored support to Lebanese journalists and news organisation that are providing critical information to a nation in crisis."
Photos: J.F. Martin for Unsplash