Ahead of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, IPI and IMS are proud to announce the 11 organizations shortlisted for the 2024 IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer award. 

These outstanding organizations from around the globe are meeting the moment by defending press freedom, filling crucial gaps in quality, investigative reporting, or driving media innovation. Amid growing threats to independent journalism, these organizations are a reminder of the power and resilience of the free press.

The shortlisted organizations, in alphabetical order, are:

Agência Pública, Brazil
Bihus.info, Ukraine
Cenozo, Burkina Faso
Daily Maverick, South Africa
Filastiniyat.org, Palestine
Hong Kong Free Press, Hong Kong
Kloop, Kyrgyzstan
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, Serbia
Tribal News Network, Pakistan
Women in Media, Ukraine

Presented annually since 1996, the IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer award honours trailblazing news outlets or media defence groups. 

This year, IPI and IMS are once again publishing a global shortlist for the award to underscore the scope and diversity of organizations upholding the public’s right to quality, independent news, often in repressive or hostile media environments. 

One of these shortlisted organizations will later be selected to receive this year’s Free Media Pioneer award. The award will be presented together with the IPI-IMS World Press Freedom Hero award at a special ceremony as part of the 2024 IPI World Congress on Thursday, May 23 in Sarajevo. 

Read more about the 11 organizations on this year’s global shortlist:


Agência Pública, Brazil 

Founded by women journalists in 2011, Agência Pública is the first non-profit investigative news agency in Brazil. Its mission is to scrutinize public administration across all levels of government, delve into corporate impact on society and the environment, uncover corrupt and opaque practices, and shed light on violence against marginalized communities in both urban and rural settings.

In addition to news coverage and in-depth reporting, Agência Pública provides grants to independent journalists to develop their stories. It also incubates journalism initiatives and supports new media with training and mentorship. 

Natalia Viana, Executive Director at Agência Pública: 

“We are very honoured to be on this reputable shortlist! As a women-led organization, we always keep in mind that journalism needs to be reinvented to discard past formulas that no longer work. We know that constantly innovating and imagining new futures is a part of the work of the contemporary journalist. Over the past 13 years, we have experimented with formats, mentored reporters, incubated other media, created revenue models, explored AI, and even established a cultural center in Rio de Janeiro. We are extremely proud to have worked hard to help foster a thriving digital journalism community in Brazil.”

Bihus.info, Ukraine

Bihus.Info, a Ukrainian investigative media outlet, exposes corruption and reports on Russia’s war on Ukraine. Since 2015, Bihus has used TV and YouTube programmes to raise awareness about corruption and provide legal support for whistleblowers. Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bihus shifted to daily broadcasts on the conflict, identifying the influence of Russian forces, analyzing foreign media, and countering Russian propaganda. Meanwhile, it has continued to report on and expose high-level corruption in Ukraine. In return, its journalists have faced surveillance and smear campaigns. 

Bihus.info team:

“We are extremely pleased to be shortlisted for this award, which acknowledges free media, particularly against the backdrop of recent instances of pressure on independent journalists in our country. The international community’s attention and support for independent media is crucial for bolstering democratic values in Ukraine. We continue to confront both external threats and internal problems, such as corruption and the ineffectiveness of certain government agencies. However, as everyone in our country knows, independent media can only exist in an independent country. We are deeply grateful to everyone who fights for our victory on the frontline and to everyone who supports Ukraine from abroad.”

Cenozo, Burkina Faso 

Launched in 2015 by 18 journalists from West and Central Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the Norbert Zongo Unit for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO) aims to empower West African investigative journalists. The center is named after Norbert Zongo, a Burkina Faso journalist murdered for his work in 1998. It provides training, financial, and technical support for investigating corruption, organized crime, governance issues, human rights violations, and environmental concerns. In addition to supporting in-depth investigative reporting, CENOZO offers mentoring and networking opportunities for investigative journalists, and provides legal assistance to those facing prosecution for their work.

Arnaud Ouedraogo, Coordinator at CENOZO:

“On behalf of the entire team of the Norbert Zongo Unit for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO), I would like to express our deep gratitude for this prestigious recognition. It is with an immense feeling of satisfaction that we receive the news of our shortlisting for the 2024 IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer Award. This nomination underlines CENOZO’s continued commitment to the promotion of press freedom and independent journalism in West Africa. We are proud to play a role in advancing these essential values for our communities. We are also excited about the opportunity to join the other shortlisted organizations in this recognition of innovation and impact in media. This nomination strengthens our determination to continue our work and make our voices heard in the defence of freedom of expression and access to independent information.”

Daily Maverick, South Africa 

Daily Maverick is one of the prominent independent publishers in South Africa, with offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Founded in 2009, Daily Maverick’s newsroom has broken numerous crucial investigative reports, including the investigation of the Gupta Leaks, which earned it the 2019 Global Shining Light Award alongside Rappler. Recognized worldwide for its innovative and successful business model based on reader revenue diversification, Daily Maverick is funded through membership contributions, advertising, and events.

Jillian Green, Deputy Editor at Daily Maverick:

“Daily Maverick is honoured to be nominated for the IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer award. In a post-truth world where news is a commodity, Daily Maverick remains committed to ensuring everyone has access to truthful, trustworthy, and quality journalism. Without a free, independent media, impunity would reign as unaccountable leaders would do more for themselves than the citizens they are supposed to serve.”

Filastiniyat, Palestine 

Filastiniyat, a Palestinian NGO with offices in Gaza and the West Bank, seeks to promote a safe and independent environment for women journalists and women-centered journalism in Palestine. One of Filastiniyat’s projects is NAWA, a media-focused NGO that brings together a network of over 900 female journalists. It aims to enhance their skills and provide opportunities for showcasing their work, thereby increasing their visibility and offering them a source of income.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October 2023, Filastiniyat has played a crucial role in enabling Gaza’s women journalists in particular, and freelance journalists in general, to keep reporting under extremely dire circumstances. Filastiniyat managed to reach journalists in some of the hardest-hit areas of Gaza, providing aid such as clothes, blankets, mattresses, and hygiene kits, in addition to financial support. Throughout the war, Filastiniyat and NAWA have produced or facilitated the production of numerous video testimonies by women journalists, documenting the extreme situation in Gaza, some of which have reached vast international audiences.

Wafa Abdelrahman, Founder and General Director at Filastiniyat: 

“Filastiniyat is extremely proud to have been shortlisted for this ward. It comes in times of despair when Palestinian journalists are feeling left alone and their hard work not recognized in a place that has turned into a graveyard for journalists and their families.

This is a gratitude and appreciation for each Palestinian journalist – particularly women journalists- who despite all odds are insisting to continue reporting the Israeli genocide and war horrors. As the Israeli occupation is tightening its prolonged siege on Gaza banning International media from entering the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists are our eyes and ears.

Being shortlisted for an international award, is a way to remember and appreciate the great work of more than 140 journalists who were targeted and killed exposing the war and crimes, it is also a message to the journalists who are still alive that “please be safe, and you are not alone, the world sees you.” 

Hong Kong Free Press, Hong Kong

Founded in 2015, Hong Kong Free Press is an impartial, non-profit, award-winning English-language media organization. It was launched amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and was the city’s first crowdfunded media outlet and the fastest-funded, largest project of its time. Today, it is sustained by direct one-off and monthly contributions from readers.

Their mission is to be the most credible, impartial, and independent news outlet covering Hong Kong affairs and to help safeguard press freedom in the city. They aim to amplify the voices of the voiceless while bridging the gap between the Chinese and English languages. 

Tom Grundy, Editor-in-Chief, Hong Kong Free Press

“The HKFP team is absolutely honoured to be considered for the Free Media Pioneer award, as we remain on-the-ground, occupying the remaining space for press freedom, in one of the world’s most challenging media environments.” 

Kloop, Kyrgyzstan

Kloop is both a news website with a focus on accountability journalism and a journalism school. It was established in 2007 and has transformed into one of the most popular news sources in Kyrgyzstan, renowned for its investigative reporting and anti-disinformation work. The organization has trained journalists from remote areas of the country, bridging the gap between urban and rural regions.

In recent years, Kloop has faced increasing pressure from the Kyrgyz government. In September 2023, authorities put forward politically motivated accusations to block access to Kloop’s website. Several lawsuits filed by the country’s Ministry of Culture demanded Kloop’s liquidation. Moreover, after the Kyrgyz government recently adopted a “foreign agent law”, it is expected that Kloop will have to register as a foreign agent.

Despite facing increasing pressure from the Kyrgyz authorities, Kloop demonstrates exceptional resilience by revealing corruption and holding power to account through its in-depth investigative reporting.

Rinat Tuhvatshin, Co-Founder and Development Manager, Kloop. 

“Kloop is extremely proud and humbled to be in the shortlist. There are so many persecuted voices in Kyrgyzstan now. We will use this honour, as well as any other opportunity, to make sure they are heard.”

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

OCCRP is a global investigative news network that supports quality reporting and works to expose crime and corruption so the public can hold power to account. Partnering with over 100 media outlets globally, OCCRP works to spread and strengthen investigative journalism. OCCRP provides crucial support to its network, including access to reporting partners, advanced technology, thorough editing and fact-checking, security assistance, legal protection, and fundraising aid. Collaboration amplifies their impact, even in challenging regions like Nicaragua, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Syria, and Turkmenistan.

Beyond headline news, OCCRP facilitates cross-border connections for local reporters, expanding their global significance. By nurturing journalists and fostering industry growth, OCCRP creates a thriving space for investigative reporting worldwide.

OCCRP Publisher Drew Sullivan: 

“We are honoured to be a finalist for IPI’s Free Media Pioneer Award. OCCRP network members face huge challenges but they innovate constantly to provide their readers with independent, accurate news in a world where truth is receding into darker corners.”

Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, Serbia

Slavko Ćuruvija was a prominent Serbian editor and publisher known for his criticism of former President Slobodan Milošević. In April 1999, Ćuruvija was shot and killed in front of his home. Twenty-four years later, the fight for justice in Ćuruvija’s murder goes on. The Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation has been at the forefront of the fight against impunity. Despite a shocking appeals court verdict clearing former state security agents, the Foundation refuses to give up hope for accountability and the rule of law.

Ćuruvija’s children, Jelena and Rade Ćuruvija, started the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation in 2013. It aims to elevate journalism standards in Serbia, supporting local media, fostering investigative journalism, and providing training for journalism students. In a media landscape where journalists face systemic challenges, the SĆF aims to promote free, independent and quality media, and bolster the few independent media outlets dedicated to serving the public interest. By providing grants, programmes, and projects, the foundation seeks to encourage these outlets to engage with local communities and pursue their watchdog role across all levels of governance. Moreover, the foundation aims to foster citizen participation in decision-making processes, filling a gap in Serbia’s media landscape and empowering individuals to take an active role in shaping their society.

Ivana Stevanović, Executive Director, Slavko Curuvija Foundation (SCF):

“We are truly honoured to be considered for the IPI-IMS Media Pioneers award. The news of being shortlisted comes at a difficult time for the Foundation itself, and for the whole media community in Serbia. In a captured state, with the captured media and judiciary, the struggle for public interest-driven journalism is now more important than ever. Backsliding democracy threatens freedom of expression, depriving the society of vital information and challenging attempts of public debate or citizens’ participation. Your recognition of our efforts to defend, support and enhance journalism and journalists poses a new source of strength and resolve to keep fighting.”

Tribal News Network, Pakistan

Tribal News Network was founded to provide accurate and reliable information for the remote regions of Pakistan, and has evolved from a radio bulletin service to a digital-first news organization. By training citizen journalists, Tribal News Network has been able to engage these communities and produce impactful reporting on issues that directly affect them.

Tayyeb Afridi, Director News & Innovation, Tribal News Network

“We are deeply honoured and grateful to have been shortlisted for this award, especially considering the challenges that the media landscape in Pakistan faces, including our own struggles here at TNN in the Northwestern Region, which is known for its conflict and militancy. 

We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the IPI and IMS for instituting this award, which recognizes and supports organizations like ours, striving to make a difference. Congratulations to all the other nominees as well; we wish them the best of luck.”

Women in Media, Ukraine

Women in Media was established in 2019 to foster solidarity among women journalists in Ukraine. Originally a Facebook group, it has evolved into a thriving professional hub and network, providing training, job opportunities, and psychological, financial, and organizational support to its 1,500 members, with a particular focus on the health and well-being of female journalists. The organizations bring together women working in the media to achieve gender equality primarily in two ways: ensuring fair treatment for women inside the media industry and promoting gender-balanced media content in Ukraine. Like many other other organizations in Ukraine, it has stepped up and adapted its work following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Last year, one of its initiatives included medical check-ups and one-year paid health insurance benefiting a total of 57 women journalists across cities and regions of Ukraine.

Women in Media Team: 

“It’s a great honour for us to be nominated. Given that Women in Media was established only 5 years ago, with 2 years of that time being during the pandemic, and over two years of full-scale war, this nomination holds special significance for us. Media has a crucial role to contribute to gender equality progress.  Empowering women in media is particularly important now, given the ongoing Russian military aggression in Ukraine since 2014. In small newsrooms, one woman often holds several positions due to a lack of personnel and resources. Our study indicates that low incomes in the media industry and the mobilization of men contribute to the predominance of women in leader roles in Ukrainian media. Ukrainian female journalists handle multiple tasks and risks, as they not only work in dangerous conditions but also take care of children and relatives. Like millions of other women worldwide, they deal with gender-based challenges daily. We are here to highlight these problems and help us through self-support. We are vulnerable, but we are strong.”