Friday, October 9, 2020
Free Press Unlimited is looking for engaging ideas from independent storytellers for a feature documentary film highlighting the theme of impunity for the murder of journalists.


Please note that the deadline for this call for proposals has been extended until Monday 30 November 2020, 23:59 CET.


Violence against journalists is rarely punished. 1200 journalists have been murdered in the last fifteen years. In nine out of ten cases, the killer faces no justice and the impunity reigns. Free Press Unlimited has a dream of a safer world for these truth-finders who provide billions of people with independent information. Together with the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, we can improve the safety of journalists by investigating and publishing about crimes against them – including the lack of both political will and effective judiciary systems.

We have launched a new project together with our partners Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) named ‘A Safer World for the Truth’, which explores new ways to end the worldwide impunity for crimes against journalists. Through various activities, we want to showcase that it is possible to protect journalists by taking effective, legal action against their attackers and by engaging a wider audience in our fight against impunity. We believe that documentaries are a powerful way to raise awareness and make this complex issue understandable for a wider audience.

Theme of the documentary

Free Press Unlimited is looking to fund the creation of an independent documentary that lays bare the complex and diverse obstacles to justice in cases where journalists are murdered for doing their job. Journalists fulfill a crucial role in society by uncovering information that helps to hold those in power accountable. By investigating corruption and misconduct of people in power, journalists serve as a watchdog of society. But in doing so, they also become vulnerable to harassment, aggression and in the worst case, murder. The murder of a journalist is the most extreme attack on press freedom: not only does it silence the journalist in question, it also sends a dangerous signal to society as a whole.

The problem of impunity is most severe in countries like Mexico, Syria, and Somalia: countries that rank high on the CPJ Impunity Index. Moreover, European countries have recently also seen the brutal killing of brave investigative journalists who uncovered corruption, such as Ján Kuciak in Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta. In both cases the killer has yet to be identified and brought to trial.

The impact of the murder of a journalist is further exacerbated by the absence of justice for these crimes. The documentary should address the complex and diverse obstacles to justice, and explore the question why justice so often is not achieved.

Call for Proposals

Free Press Unlimited is looking for engaging ideas from independent storytellers who are interested in creating a documentary on the theme of impunity for the murder of journalists.

We are looking to commission the research, development, production and completion of a long-form (60+ minutes), high-quality documentary with the aim to share this film with audiences globally.


The following criteria must be met for proposals to be eligible for funding:

  • Any independent storyteller is eligible to apply. Free Press Unlimited is committed to promoting diversity of voices and perspectives in the media
  • The documentary’s theme addresses the issue of impunity for the murder of journalists
  • The documentary should be based on the applicant’s own research
  • The documentary should be between 60 and 90 minutes long
  • The documentary can be in any language, and must include English and French subtitles
  • The documentary should be understandable for a non-expert international audience
  • The applicants must demonstrate (international) experience in telling stories on complex societal issues, ideally also including completed documentaries;
  • The documentary should be completed and ready for distribution by December 2021.


Applicants can apply for a maximum contribution of EUR 100,000 for the proposed documentary.

Process and procedure

Proposals with expressions of interest must be submitted in English, using the application form at the bottom of the page. Deadline for submission is 30 November 2020 (23:59 CET). Submissions after the deadline will not be considered. Free Press Unlimited acknowledges the documentary makers’ editorial independence and ownership of the materials produced. Proposals must include the following information (see registration template):

  • The storyline and thematic approach of the documentary film. How will you highlight the theme of impunity for the murder of journalists? What story are you going to tell and how? Who will be your main protagonist(s)?
  • A work plan indicating a detailed timeline for all stages of the project (development, production, post-production, completion).
  • A description & motivation of the film team (why do you want to make this film?) and credentials of each team member, including an overview of previous work.
  • A budget for the proposed documentary. In case the total costs of the documentary are expected to surpass EUR 100,000 the proposal should clarify which additional sources of funding have been / are being secured.

After an initial assessment of eligibility, a selection committee will assess all proposals and select the best idea and film team based on the above criteria.

Deadline for the submission of proposals is Monday 30 November 2020 (23:59 CET).

If your application is selected by an independent selection committee, we will contact you in January 2021

To apply:

Download and complete the application form and send it, together with the required attachments, via email to swinkels[at]