IJ4EU partner resources

The following resources for investigative journalists are managed by the organisations that run the IJ4EU programme: the International Press Institute, the European Journalism Centre and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.

IJ4EU legal contingency fund

While IJ4EU grantees are expected to include the cost of standard pre-publication legal review in their project budgets, a limited pot of money is available for unforeseen legal costs.

The IJ4EU legal contingency fund is managed by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Any grantee wishing to make use of the fund should first approach their point of contact at the International Press Institute or the European Journalism Centre.

For major legal issues beyond the scope of the IJ4EU legal contingency fund, see the Media Freedom Rapid Response mechanism below.

Media Freedom Rapid Response

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) mechanism supports and protects journalists in EU member states and candidate countries by monitoring press freedom violations, advocating on behalf of journalists and providing support and protection. It is led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. The International Press Institute is an MFRR partner.

The MFRR offers practical support to journalists facing harassment and intimidation, including medical assistance, subsistence costs, psychological support, work provisions, family support and preventive safety measures. It also offers temporary shelter to reporters in danger through its Journalist in Residence programme in Leipzig, Germany. 

Legal support offered by the MFRR consists of general guidance, access to legal advice on relevant law and strategy, access to expertise in policy and lawmaking and engagement in national or international litigation.

As with the IJ4EU legal contingency fund above, grantees in need of MFRR support should first liaise with their point of contact at the International Press Institute or the European Journalism Centre.

Media Laws Database

The use of laws related to defamation, official secrets, anti-terrorism and cybercrime, among others, beyond their legitimate purpose severely threatens the free flow of information and the ability of citizens to hold those in power accountable.

The International Press Institute’s Media Laws Database offers country-specific information on legal provisions affecting the media, measured according to international standards on freedom of expression.

Media Laws E-Learning and Training

To keep self-censorship at bay, journalists need to be aware of and confident in their rights. And when those rights are threatened in court, journalists need skilled media lawyers to defend them.

The International Press Institute and the Media Legal Defence Initiative have teamed up to publish “Freedom of Expression, Media Law and Defamation” (available in five languages), a comprehensive reference and training manual for lawyers and journalists on European legal standards related to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation.

The manual’s key content is also available via a groundbreaking video and audio e-learning series.


With the growth of new technologies, individuals, political leaders, criminal organisations and powerful economic actors have found new channels to curb independent journalism through myriad forms of online harassment.

The International Press Institute’s OntheLine project offers an online course to help newsrooms establish an easy-to-follow protocol that aims to prevent the toll online abuse can take on journalists and defend the news outlet against smear campaigns.

Freelance Journalism Assembly Resources

The Freelance Journalism Assembly, an initiative by the European Journalism Centre, offers a raft of online resources searchable by skill and type. From pitching and personal branding to collaboration and cross-border journalism, it’s a complete toolbox for freelancers.


Need to learn new data skills, increase your data journalism knowledge or advance your career? After 10 years of running data journalism programmes, the European Journalism Centre created DataJournalism.com, providing data journalists with free resources, materials, guides, online video courses and community forums. It includes the Verification Handbook and the Data Journalism Handbook.

EJC Resilience Reports

The European Journalism Centre Resilience Reports are a series of case studies about how news organisations across Europe have been adjusting their daily operations and business strategies as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Resource Centre on Media Freedom in Europe

The online Media Freedom Resource Centre is an open and ever-growing platform providing access to curated material related to media freedom in Europe. Content ranges from reports to academic sources, from legal tools to practical instruments such as training and manuals, as well as opportunities for media professionals and young journalists.

The platform was developed by Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa as part of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.

Other resources

The following are produced or maintained by third parties outside the IJ4EU consortium.

Bellingcat Guides

How-to guides by the Bellingcat collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists provide insight into using open-source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects.

BIRN Investigative Resource Desk

Run by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, the BIRN Investigative Resource Desk includes guides, tools and cyber security tips, along with opportunities for journalists.

Collaborative and Investigative Journalism Initiative

Run by Reporters Without Borders, Free Press Unlimited and Tactical Tech, CIJI “aims to equip independent media outlets and individual journalists with resources, innovative networking infrastructure and standards-based methods that enable them to practice high-quality, and ethical and accountable collaborative and investigative journalism”. Check out CIJI’s useful resource section.

CPJ Safety Resources

The Committee to Protect Journalists provides exhaustive safety resources for both pre-assignment preparation and post-incident assistance.

Cross-Border Collaborative Journalism: A-Step-By-Step-Guide

Published by Routledge, this handbook by Brigitte Alfter “takes the reader, step-by-step, through the history of cross-border collaborative journalism and the current working practices behind it”.

Cross-Border Playbook

In this free online resource produced by n-ost, a media NGO, 16 journalists across Europe and several guest authors share their insights and experiences with cross-border collaborations.


Funded by the European Union, the “official portal for European data” contains almost 1.4 million searchable datasets covering everything from agriculture and fisheries to health, technology and transport.

Follow the Money: A Digital Guide to Tracking Corruption

Published by the International Center for Journalists, this free handbook by Romanian investigative journalist Paul Radu includes links to an array of online tools for investigative journalists who want to cross borders while sitting in front of their computers.

GIJN Resource Centre

The Global Investigative Journalism Network has a comprehensive helpdesk for investigative journalists around the world.

Google News Initiative – Investigative Reporting

This seven-part course by Google aims to “help you take advantage of Internet sources such as court cases, public data and news archives. It is designed to improve the efficiency and efficacy of your in-depth research.”

ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has created public databases allowing journalists to find out who’s behind more than 785,000 offshore companies, foundations and trusts from the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks, the Bahamas Leaks and the Paradise Papers investigations.

Legal Leaks Toolkit

Published in eight languages by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, this toolkit is for journalists “who need to get access to information held by public bodies for their stories”.


LittleSis is “a free database detailing the connections between powerful people and organisations. We bring transparency to influential social networks by tracking the key relationships of politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions”.

OCCRP Resources

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project’s Aleph platform is a global archive of research material for investigative reporting spanning more than 250 datasets in 140 countries. OCCRP ID offers a research desk helping journalists trace people, companies and assets.


Search official corporate data for almost 200 million companies in “the largest open database of companies in the world”.


Containing almost 200 million fiscal records, OpenSpending is a “free, open and global platform to search, visualise and analyse fiscal data in the public sphere”.

OSINT Essentials

Developed by open-source investigation specialist and trainer Eoghan Sweeney, this online resource provides a wealth of verification tools and services.

Rory Peck Trust Freelance Resources

The Rory Peck Trust offers a useful collection of free resources for freelancers, including guides, funding sources, training and tools covering safety, security and professional development.

Story-Based Inquiry: A Manual for Investigative Journalists

Free to download, this handbook by Mark Lee Hunter and others takes readers through the basics of conceiving, structuring, researching, composing and publishing an investigation.