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Pilot Project - Internship opportunities for minority language media - Connect/2019/1074491
Deadline: 17 Apr 2019   - 25 days

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A free and pluralistic media landscape is essential for the democratic process as it ensures that diverse sources of information and multiple views are available, enables the media to act as a public watchdog and provides forums for public debates.

Coverage and balanced reporting of a variety of voices, including coverage of realities relevant to minorities is central to the functioning of a pluralistic and democratic society.

Simultaneously, minorities may often be exposed to dominant opinion-forming powers and might face disadvantages or obstacles in terms of the availability or access to media outlets that provide them with a voice.

Moreover, journalists and other media professionals working in media outlets operating in minority languages may have a more limited choice of professional development opportunities than their colleagues working in mainstream media outlets.

The main objective of this pilot project is to provide media professionals working in minority languages across Europe the opportunity to undertake internships with leading European media outlets outside of their country of residence. A broad range of minority languages will be covered, including languages spoken by migrants.

Legal Basis

Pilot project within the meaning of Article 58(2)(a) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).

The annual work programme was adopted under Commission Decision C/2018/834 of 22/10/2018.

 

 

2. OBJECTIVES – ACTIVITIES – PRIORITIES

The objective of the call under the present pilot project is to provide media professionals working in minority languages the opportunity to undertake internships with leading European media outlets within the European Union, outside of their country of residence. This will enable them to gain a broader and more comprehensive understanding of different media and newsroom cultures and for the outlets to benefit from fresh perspectives.

It will give participants the opportunity to gain professional insights into leading European media companies, enhance their journalistic skills through peer learning, and contribute to the open discussion of European affairs in minority-language media and, ultimately, minority-language communities.

Interns will be able to use the acquired skills in their home media outlets and will also be able to build professional networks enabling them to better collaborate across borders.

For the purposes of this call, a minority language is defined as any language used in an EU Member State that is not an official EU language of that Member State. While the vast majority of EU Member States have one official EU language, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta have more than one official EU language.

An overview of the official EU languages can be found at Europa webportal here:

https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/

Indicative examples:

A media professional residing in Italy, working for the German-speaking newspaper "Dolomiten" would be eligible to do an internship abroad, for instance in a media organisation in Germany or Austria, but also in any other EU Member State.

A media professional residing in Lithuania, working for the Polish-speaking newspaper "Kurier Wileński" would be eligible to do an internship abroad, for instance in a media organisation in Poland, but also in any other EU Member State.

A media professional residing in Belgium (EU official languages – Dutch, French, and German), working for the Turkish-speaking "Info-Türk" would be eligible to do an internship in any EU Member State other than Belgium.

Eligible candidates to receive financial support as third parties (see point 11.8 d) under this pilot project are media professionals of any nationality, residing in the European Union, that work for a European media outlet which provides content in a minority language, as defined above. Special priority will be given to media outlets primarily catered for marginalised groups (Roma, refugees and recent immigrants) and minority groups, which may be targeted by propaganda and disinformation.

Activities to be covered by the project:

a) Design of the internship project

Elaborate a conceptual implementation scheme for the project, whose flexible structure takes into account the participants’ skills and abilities. Special attention should be paid to the effective integration of the media professional in the hosting organisation, in order to increase the benefits gained from the internship. This will include establishing transparent and consistent selection criteria respecting the objectives and definitions outlined above as well as a high level of geographical balance: no more than 15% of selected applicants should be residents of any single EU Member State.

b) Selection of participants/host organisations

Invite, review and select most qualified/suitable applications based on the selection criteria established and a competitive application process. The selection criteria used when identifying the host organisations shall ensure the selection of organisations having their headquarters in an EU Member State and complying with (i) international professional journalistic standards and codes of ethics and (ii) applicable national rules concerning, in particular, impartiality and accuracy.

c) Logistical support for participants/host organisations

Provide assistance to participants and host organisations. In particular, provide information prior to the internship, e.g. on travel arrangements, finding accommodation and similar logistical matters.

d) Information and communication

Disseminate information about the project among the relevant target audience, through a website, promotional material, press releases. Prior to the project the aim is to attract the attention of a broad range of media professionals and media outlets. During and after the termination of the project, communication activities through social media platforms need to be carried out. These activities should present the project in a personal, entertaining yet educational manner, focusing on the skills acquired, personal insights, future outlooks for the participants etc.

e) Financial Management

Financial execution and management, including disbursing funding to individual participants, monitoring spending levels, reviewing evidence that is submitted, financial reporting to the Commission.

f) Monitoring and Evaluation

With a view to ensuring transparency and accountability as well as to understand the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the project, establish processes and tools to evaluate the project, including by ensuring regular feedback from participants and the design of follow-up templates and other relevant materials.

The applicant shall describe in detail in his proposal how each of the actions listed in a) – f) above shall be carried out. This shall comprise a detailed description of all logistical aspects envisaged and a projection of how the applicant intends to ensure maximum outreach of the project within the limited time envisaged. It shall, in addition, comprise a detailed provisional budget for each action listed above.

The present call for proposals

The present call for proposals will select a beneficiary/a consortium to execute the project as outlined above.

The territorial coverage of this pilot project shall be the Member States of the EU.

Applicants must demonstrate the ability to attract staff members with proven expertise in the media sector.

All activities shall be conducted in an independent manner.

 

3. TIMETABLE

The indicative schedule for the different steps and stages of the selection procedure are as follows:

(a) Publication of the call

Q1 2019

(b) Deadline for submitting applications

17 April 2019

(c) Evaluation period

Q2 2019

(d) Information to applicants

Q2 2019

(e) Signature of grant agreement

Q2 2019

Scheduled start date for the action: as soon as possible upon signature of grant agreement.

The duration of the project shall be maximum 12 months.

 

4. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of the project under this call for proposals is estimated at 500.000 EUR (five hundred thousand euros).

The EU co-financing is limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 80% of the total eligible costs.

The Commission expects to fund 1 proposal.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

In order to be admissible, applications must be:

  •   sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

  •   submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/news-redirect/634622 and in electronic form (pdf format); and

  •   drafted in one of the EU official languages.
    Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.

 

6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

6.1. Eligible applicants

Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants:

  •   a single entity or a grouping of entities;
  •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

  •   international organisations;

  •   universities;

  •   educational institutions;

  •   research centres;

  •   profit making entities, e.g. media organisations.

Natural persons are not eligible.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.3 of the grant agreement.

Affiliated entities

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

Country of establishment

Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:

 EU Member States.

Supporting documents

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

  • private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);
  • public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity.

 

Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals:  cooperation projects;

  •   actions aiming at the creation and support of networks, exchanges of good practices and coordination;

  •   financial support to third parties (see point 11.8. d));

  •   awareness and dissemination actions;

  •   communication activities;

  •   conferences, seminars;

  •   training activities.

    Implementation period

 the maximum duration of projects is 12 months.
Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this

call for proposals will not be accepted.

 

7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

7.1. Exclusion

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

  1. (a)  the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or national laws or regulations;

  2. (b)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;

  3. (c)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

    2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

    3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

    5. (v)  attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

  4. (d)  it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. (ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

    6. (vi)  child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (e)  the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

  6. (f)  it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

  7. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  8. (h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  9. (i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

    2. (ii)  non-final judgments or non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

    3. (iii)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

  10. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

  11. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

  12. (vi)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.1), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

  2. (b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/news- redirect/634622.

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways: for mono-beneficiary grants:

  1. (i)  the applicant signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  the applicant and its affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

for multi-beneficiary grants:

  1. (i)  the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  3. (iii)  each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000):
 a declaration on their honour.

b) Grants > EUR 60 000:
 a declaration on their honour

AND

  •   the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts were closed;

  •   for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents;

  •   the table with the financial figures provided for in Annex to the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures.

    In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.

    On the basis of the documents submitted, if the Responsible Authorising Officer (RAO) of the Commission considers that financial capacity is weak, s/he may:

  •   request further information;

  •   decide not to give pre-financing;

  •   decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;

  •   decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.7.2 below);

  •   where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries.

    If the RAO considered that the financial capacity is insufficient s/he will reject the application.

 

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