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IFJ and Vintu Foundation launch humanitarian assistance programme for victims of violence in journalism

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ and Vintu Foundation Join Hands to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Victims of Violence in Journalism

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Brussels-based Vintu Foundation have announced a programme of humanitarian assistance to provide much needed support to the families of journalists and media staff who were killed because of their work.

"With the generous participation of the Vintu Foundation, this special-assistance fund will provide a year's support to some of the neediest families who are suffering as a result of the loss of a loved one and breadwinner," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White.

"The grants issued under this special programme will help ease some of the terrible financial strain that families are under," said White. "We can never compensate for the hurt and injustice, but it is intolerable that the families left behind after targeted assassinations should suffer economically as well. This co-operation we hope will expand into a network of support which will reach out to assist the thousands who suffer when journalists are killed."

Under a special agreement between the IFJ and the Vintu Foundation for Excellency in Education and Journalism, founded by Romanian media owner Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, assistance will be given to the families of killed media workers. The fund will provide monthly payments for a year to 10 journalists' families who lost a relative to violence related to that person's work as a journalist. The selected recipients come from all parts of the world: Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq (3 families), the Philippines (2 families), Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

"We see this fund as a way to help families get back on their feet after devastating loss," said Cristian Unteanu, Delegated-Administrator of the Vintu Foundation. "Through the IFJ we will be able to identify those most in need."

The Vintu Foundation and the IFJ have also launched a journalism prize for Europe targeted at young journalists to encourage professionalism and high quality in media. The steps of the selection procedure as well as the jury will be the responsibility of well-known journalists who are IFJ members.

"The campaign for quality in journalism is about setting standards and this prize will help us identify and recognise those colleagues who are creating excellence at all levels of journalism," said Unteanu.

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