A total of 29 grants were approved through competition of the Nordic Council of Ministers to support professional content creation and storytelling with a special focus on minority languages in the ethnically diverse regions in the Baltic countries. Support is focused on providing opportunities for media to create quality content in minority languages and to facilitate cooperation among editorial offices and journalists.
Funding was awarded on an application basis and is given to high-quality, independent journalistic production in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in minority languages. The objective of this program is to support integration of national minorities in local society, and to enable all citizens to actively engage in political decisions and public debate.
The program received 83 funding applications - 35 from Latvia, 33 from Lithuania, 15 from Estonia, of which support was provided to 29 projects - 11 from Latvia, 10 from Lithuania, 8 from Estonia.
The awarded projects from Latvia represent several well-known local media outlets - the news portals „TVNET.lv“, „DELFI.lv“ and „CHAYKA.lv“, Latvian Radio 4, the film production company „VFS Films“, the national information agency „LETA“, the internet magazine „Satori“, the newspaper "Kurzemes Vārds", the magazine „Rīgas Laiks“, "R Media" and AS „Cits medijs“ (the weekly magazine „IR“).
Stefan Eriksson, the director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, emphasizes: „Our societies in the Nordic-Baltic region, as well as in the rest of the world, are going through difficult times at the moment, and this also is true for media. To some extent, media outlets were experiencing a crisis before COVID-19 as result of the transformation of the media environment, including the advertising market and consumers´ media habits. Some of these problems have been aggravated due to the current crisis. The paradox, though, is that the demand for independent, trustful and qualitative media content now is rising dramatically in most countries. I hope that this will make citizens and governments aware of the role and importance of media in a democratic society, and also realize that qualitative media products don´t come for free. This programme will certainly not resolve all the challenges that media in Latvia and elsewhere are facing today, and it is an attempt to mainly support the production of local Russian-language quality content, aimed at the part of the population that prefers to consume media in Russian. In these times, it is particularly important that all parts of society have access to trustful information.”
The support to the media in the Baltic countries by the Nordic Council of Ministers have so far followed three parallel paths. These are training of journalists, media literacy and awareness among young people, and funding of independent media production. In addition to these, the Nordic Council of Ministers has supported program production for the Russian language TV-channel ETV+ in Estonia since it was launched in 2015. More info: www.nordicmediagrants.org