JhJ is an independent, non-profit organisation, founded in order to help journalists in danger, threatened by totalitarian governments, civil war or other politically or religiously motivated violence, as well as their partners and children.
In many countries – if not most – being a journalist involves great personal risk. In the past 15 years more than 800 journalists have been killed on assignment or while practicing their profession. Several hundred were taken into custody, many of them were tortured. Only in the few spectacular cases does the general public learn about the fate of persecuted, injured, expelled or murdered journalists. It is even more rare for the public to hear about the desperation of journalists’ families.
“Journalists help Journalists” (JhJ) was founded in 1993, shortly after the war in the former Yugoslavia claimed its first victims among journalists. Egon Scotland, correspondent of Munich’s daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” newspaper was among the first to be killed covering the Balkans war. “Journalists help Journalists” was founded in Munich by Egon Scotland’s colleagues – not only in memory of him but also in commemoration of all the other victims among journalists.
“Journalists help Journalists” is an independent and non-partisan organisation.
It is JhJ’s job to help colleagues in need and show solidarity with their families and those left behind in a non-bureaucratic way. Some of our activities can be viewed under the link “Hilfsaktionen” (‘aid activities’): JhJ helps journalists with monetary donations, non-cash aid and all kinds of practical support wherever we perceive the need and whenever we can help directly, but first and foremost when there is no official organisation already offering help.
In the early years the main emphasis of JhJ’s work was in the region of former Yugoslavia. More than 50 journalists were killed on assignment in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia from 1991 to 1995. Now, we offer support to journalists in all parts of the world. Journalists help Journalists has come to the aid of colleagues from Belarus, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Somalia, Iran, Syria, Uzbekistan ecc. helping to cover the basic needs of journalists and their families, arranging for medical care, sponsorships of children and helping to replace destroyed journalism gear, such as computers, typewriters and camera equipment.
Our organisation has also helped journalists publish their stories in German newspapers and other German-language media. We maintain a close network of journalists in many countries of the world. JhJ is glad to act as an intermediary for making contacts.
JhJ is a member of the Journalists in Distress (JID) Network, a group of 18 international organizations that provide direct assistance to journalists and media workers whose lives or careers are threatened because of their work. Each organization has its own mandate and criteria for emergency assistance; the Network does not engage in joint advocacy. The JID Network was established in 2006 to allow member organizations with freedom of expression mandates to more easily share information, coordinate joint efforts and avoid duplication. Journalists help Journalists works closely also with the ‚Hamburg Foundation for Victims of Political Persecution‘ and the ‚Palm-Foundation‘ ( Schorndorf ). Our show of solidarity for colleagues is backed by more than 130 journalists from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Italy. Our work, which is voluntary, is financed by donations and membership contributions alone. Journalists help Journalists is a non-profit charity organisation. Donations are tax-deductible.