Rules of the Investigative Journalism Programme of Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation

§1 Investigative Journalism Programme

  1. Recognising that journalism is vital to the promotion of democracy in Poland and across Europe, and that investigative journalism serves the public interest in a unique way, to increase accountability and transparency in the functioning of society and public authorities, in particular, the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation (hereafter: the Foundation) created the Investigative Journalism Programme (hereafter: the Programme).
  2. The objective of the Programme is to support the development and promotion of quality investigative journalism as a response to the challenges posed by the increasing domination and internationalisation of political, business and criminal power structures, as well as changing media models in the digital age, entailing a weakening of the financial situation of traditional media.
  3. The objective of the Programme will be implemented through:
    1. financing and co-financing the production of investigative materials important for citizens and conducive to a positive change of the Polish social, political and economic reality - concerning the activities of state and local government authorities, public institutions and persons, business entities or religious associations - for dissemination in the media in Poland and other countries of the European Union;
    2. financial support for legal assistance to journalists facing legal proceedings for their publications in the field of investigative journalism.
  4. The Programme will be funded from the Foundation's resources raised in accordance with the Programme's Ethical Funding Principles.

§2 Grant for journalistic investigations

  1. . Financing and funding for the implementation of investigative materials will be provided through grants.
  2. Grants will be paid to journalists and editorial departments. Submitted projects can be individual or team projects.
  3. The grants are intended for experienced journalists living in Poland and cooperating with the Polish media. Projects can be carried out in cooperation with journalists and media from other countries.
  4. The grant may be awarded for the creation of material in all journalistic formats: press articles, documentaries, radio and video material, photo essays and books, podcasts and journalistic non-fiction books. A combination of formats within a single project is allowed.
  5. The material for which grants will be awarded must have significant news value and be prepared in accordance with the ethical standards set out in the Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists.
  6. Grants are intended for the funding of:
    1. travel, subsistence, visa, accommodation, translation, assistants/assistants, access to fee-based databases, legal or specialist consultation, etc;
    2. the remuneration of persons involved in the creation of the material or their assistants. In the case of remuneration for persons directly involved in the creation of the material, this applies only to persons not employed as employees, unless they are forced to take unpaid leave from their home editorial department in connection with the investigation. The maximum remuneration for persons directly involved in the creation of the material is the median monthly salary of a journalist in Poland, i.e. PLN 5500 gross;
    3. production costs of the material, including rental of equipment, studios, post-production, etc. (up to 20% of the amount of the grant awarded);
    4. the costs of purchasing equipment (up to 30% of the amount of the grant awarded).
  7. In order to be awarded a grant, the application must include a letter of intent from a professional media outlet declaring its willingness to publish (disseminate) the requested material.
  8. For the purposes of these Rules and Regulations, a professional medium is understood to be a press title, TV or radio programme, website, podcast, social media channel, in which journalistic materials are published periodically, at least once a quarter. It is not necessary to register with the register of newspapers and magazines for a medium to be considered professional.
  9. Grants will be awarded in rounds. In each round, the total amount of funds allocated for grants will be up to PLN 150,000. This amount may be subject to change by the decision of the Foundation's Board. In 2021, two grant rounds are planned. The number of rounds in subsequent years and dates of carrying out particular rounds will be determined by the Board of the Foundation.

§3 Submission of grant applications

  1. Grant applications are submitted to the Foundation by e-mail or by the form made available on the Programme website by the deadlines specified in the announcement of the launch of the round. Applications submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
  2. The journalistic experience must be documented by examples of already published (disseminated) material. In the case of team projects, the journalistic experience of at least one person in the team must be demonstrated.
  3. Each proposal must include a calculation of the costs of creating the material, including those funded by the grant, based on a budget template.
  4. Each proposal must indicate a deadline for the completion of the material.
  5. Journalists who have previously received a grant from the Programme may reapply one year after the publication of the material funded by the grant. The evaluation of the new application will take into account the results obtained in previous rounds.
  6. Once the applications are received, the Foundation checks whether the formalities have been fulfilled and may request additional information from the applicants. The verification phase takes 10 days. Applicants will be informed of the negative outcome of the verification immediately.

§4 Committee and Jury

  1. In order to ensure the highest standards of independence of the Programme and the quality of materials financed under the Programme, the Foundation will set up a Committee of Experts (hereinafter: the Committee).
  2. The Commission will consist of 25 people selected by the Foundation, who have knowledge and experience in the field of journalism, are representatives of academia or have authority among participants in public life.
  3. Entries are judged in two stages by an independent Committee of journalism experts and then by the Jury.
  4. The names of the members of the Committee will be made public.
  5. Members of the Commission shall be required to avoid conflicts of interest in their activities in order to ensure the highest ethical standards and independence and objectivity in decision-making.
  6. Members of the Committee cannot be employees, workers or permanent collaborators or associates of "Gazeta Wyborcza".
  7. The Jury will be composed of 5 persons, 3 of whom will be selected from the members of the Committee by drawing lots as follows:
    1. 2 persons from among persons with knowledge and experience in the field of journalism;
    2. 1 person from among the representatives of academia, who is seen as an authority by participants in public life.
  8. In addition, the Jury will consist of 2 persons appointed by the Foundation.
  9. The composition of the Jury will be kept anonymous.

§5 Evaluation of proposals

  1. The evaluation of the proposals submitted in each round will be carried out on the basis of the following criteria:
    1. the relevance of the topic for the community and the potential for positive change in reality;
    2. the relevance of the information and how new it is or how it is presented in a new set of circumstances;
    3. originality when compared to common journalistic topics;
    4. the quality and reliability of investigative methods;
    5. originality and scope of the planned publication (dissemination) of the material;
    6. feasibility of the investigation, budget and timetable;
    7. team composition, including its diversity;
    8. experience of the applicants.
  2. In awarding the grants, consideration will also be given to:
    1. the diversity of the projects submitted in terms of the region under investigation and the subject matter covered;
    2. the necessity of the grant for the investigation, taking into account the size and condition of the medium in which the material is planned to be published.
  3. Grant proposals that pass formal verification will be evaluated in two stages.
  4. The first stage of the assessment of proposals, based on the criteria indicated in § 5.1 and 5.2 above, will be conducted by the Board of the Foundation. The Board shall be entitled to entrust the assessment of applications to third parties experienced in the field of journalism.
  5. At least 10 proposals will be selected for the first stage of evaluation. Applicants will be informed without delay of the rejection of their proposal in the first stage.
  6. Projects selected for the second stage of evaluation will be forwarded to the Jury.
  7. The Jury shall evaluate the applications qualified to the second stage according to the criteria indicated in § 5, par. 1 and 2 above, awarding points to each application. The maximum number of points shall be 100.
  8. The grant will be awarded to the applicants whose applications receive the highest assessment by the Jury, with a minimum of 3 grants, but no more than the limit (§ 2, par. 9).
  9. The Jury may decide not to award a grant. Applicants will be informed of whether or not they have been awarded a grant and of the number of points received.
  10. The Jury may decide to alter the amount of the grant in relation to the amount requested. In this case, it is up to the applicants to decide whether to accept the grant.
  11. Applicants will be informed of the Jury's decision within 40 days of the closing date for proposals.
  12. The Foundation, the persons involved in the assessment of the proposals in the first stage and the members of the Jury are obliged to maintain confidentiality - before, during and after the assessment of the proposals.

§6 Award of grant

  1. These Rules do not constitute a public promise within the meaning of the Civil Code.
  2. Individuals to whom a grant is awarded shall, in order to receive the grant, enter into an agreement with the Foundation which sets out the mutual considerations of the parties.
  3. The persons who will be awarded a grant will be obliged to present a list of the costs incurred and a list of documents confirming those costs. In the case of doubts concerning the accuracy of the presented statement, the Foundation will be entitled to demand the documentation of the expenses incurred in a manner that does not constitute a breach of journalistic confidentiality.
  4. Grants will be paid in two tranches: the first (60%) after the conclusion of the Agreement, the second (40%) after the publication of the material and submission of the supporting documents for the expenses incurred.
  5. The grant is paid in Polish złoty (PLN) to a bank account held in a Polish bank specified by the applicants. All bank charges for international payments are borne by the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, except for differences resulting from exchange rates.
  6. Individuals to whom the grant is awarded may receive substantive support at the investigative or journalistic material stage from members of the Committee. The scope of the support and the persons providing it shall be specified in the agreement referred to in § 6 par. 2 above.
  7. Any journalistic material published as a result of a grant under the Programme must contain a clear reference to the support from the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation's Investigative Journalism Programme.
  8. The awarding of a grant does not exclude the possibility for the applicants to publish (disseminate) part or all of the material created with the support of the Programme in a way other than in a professional medium, provided that it will not be the only form of making it available.

§7 Legal Aid Fund

  1. Financial assistance of legal aid to persons against whom legal proceedings will be initiated will be addressed primarily to persons who created or published materials created with the use of a grant awarded under the Programme.
  2. In exceptional cases, the Foundation shall be entitled to grant financial aid to authors or publishers of other journalistic materials in the field of investigative journalism.
  3. The Board of the Foundation decides on the granting and the amount of financial aid awarded.
  4. The Board may request an assessment of the appropriateness of granting support from the Committee or its individual members, as well as from experts in media law. The individual requesting support agrees to the request for such an assessment by the Board of the Foundation.

Approved by the Board of Directors of the Foundation on 9.09.2021.