COVID-19: We're here to help

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 26 March 2020 15:48 GMT

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As the world faces an unprecedented set of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thomson Reuters Foundation is leveraging its unique blend of journalism and legal skills to strengthen the global response.

The Coronavirus Crisis Reporting Hub for Journalists in the Global South

As the coronavirus pandemic reaches all corners of the world, governments and medical bodies worldwide are adapting policies and guidelines daily. Creditable and informative reporting that keeps pace with latest developments is desperately needed. Set against a backdrop of a deepening global reliance on social media, rumours and misinformation are rife.

This is compounded not only by a lack of a coordinated approach to the health crisis internationally, but a lack of a coordinated approach when it comes to accurate information sharing.

Clamping down on the spread of misinformation whilst scaling world-class, accurate and independent reporting has never been more vital. The stability of our nations depends upon it. Millions of lives depend upon it.

Today, we are launching the Coronavirus Crisis Reporting Hub for Journalists in the Global South, an initiative to equip journalists with the core skills and information they need to report the global pandemic, and to connect them with key experts and other reporters who have been covering the crisis in the countries where COVID-19 has already hit hard. Launching first with an African cohort, the Hub includes reporters in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

We are uniquely placed to lead this effort. We have extensive expertise in delivering global media development interventions. We have an established network of media professionals, policy experts and journalist alumni. Our experience of working alongside global partners gives us unparalleled reach and places us at the centre of international expertise.

Our support network will focus on facilitating access to trusted information and professional capacity building by offering the following:

  • Virtual classes on journalism skills
  • Online seminars on core journalism skills
  • Training and mentoring
  • Live briefings with key health experts
  • Live briefings with journalists at the frontline of the crisis
  • Live collaborative working sessions
REUTERS/ Dinuka Liyanawatte

In-Depth News Coverage on the Impact of Coronavirus on People, Society and Human Rights

Today, we are announcing the creation of a dedicated section on our news site focused on the impact COVID-19 is having on people, society and human rights, in particular on those around the world who struggle to live freely and in equitable circumstances.

Coverage explores topics ranging from ways the virus is hitting workers in some of the world’s lowest-paid sectors and those employed in the informal economy, to how governments are ramping up surveillance on people, and how social enterprises are mobilising efforts to help stem the spread of the pandemic.

We are also reporting on how groups living on the edge of society are being affected, from the LGBT+ homeless community, to victims of domestic violence, to survivors of trafficking and slavery.

We’ll be highlighting proposed innovative approaches and solutions to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people are not overlooked, and that the technology used to tackle the crisis is ethical and does not infringe on human rights.

For a daily roundup of our coverage on the pandemic you can sign up to our dedicated newsletter.

REUTERS/ Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Pro Bono Legal Support

Civil society organisations and social enterprises are facing overwhelming challenges: an increased demand for their services that comes at a time of significant financial uncertainty and immense pressure on existing resources. NGOs are called to make difficult choices to stay afloat.

Our global pro bono legal network, TrustLaw, is working closely with our legal partners around the world to increase efforts to provide dedicated and tailored pro bono support during these challenging times, when many NGOs are experiencing similar challenges resulting in the need for very similar legal responses. Now, more than ever, we want to ensure civil society organisations and social enterprises have the answers they need to mitigate risks and liability and to keep their organisations up and running.

Today, we are launching the following:

  • A series of legal health checks for NGOs and social enterprises to identify the unique challenges faced by the instability related to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Live webinars for NGOs and social enterprises where lawyers will address the specific implications of COVID-19 for our non-profit and social enterprise members, taking questions from them. Topics included will range from employment issues, contractual rights, insurance, GDPR, governance, and health and safety.
  • A repository of legal resources made available on trust.org produced by law firms to support NGOs and social enterprises in response to the pandemic.
REUTERS/ Stringer.

Trust Conference

While we are planning to go ahead and host our annual Trust Conference on November 11-12 in London, we appreciate that the ongoing situation makes it difficult for people to plan as far ahead as November. We are therefore launching a dedicated speaker series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on topics including media freedom and misinformation, the impact of technology on people, the impact of climate change on people, and the economic consequences for the most vulnerable. The speaker series will be free to access. Register your interest here to subscribe to the Trust Conference newsletter and receive additional information on this.

This is a unique moment in time, and the mark of a world-class organisation is in the way it responds to this crisis. The need has never been more urgent to mobilise our services and to use our unique set of journalism and legal skills to strengthen the global response to COVID-19 in order to help those who need it most.

We thank you for your continued support. Stay safe.

Antonio Zappulla

Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO