Foundation for 'free and fair' journalism granted charitable status

Journalism Foundation says responsible reporting is important in context of the Leveson inquiry

Simon Kelner will be the first chief executive of the Journalism Foundation
Simon Kelner will be the first chief executive of the Journalism Foundation

An organisation that aims to promote "free and fair journalism" in the UK and overseas, run by Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of The Independent newspaper, has been granted charitable status.

The Journalism Foundation was registered on Friday. It will initially be funded by the family of Evgeny Lebedev, chair of The Independent and the London Evening Standard, and will carry out fundraising.

The foundation has so far agreed to fund a project with London’s City University to set up journalism training courses in Tunisia, and a local news and politics website,, based in Stoke-on-Trent.

Kelner, founding chief executive of the foundation, said the Charity Commission had agreed that the organisation’s objects were charitable after "a bit of to-ing and fro-ing".

He said the foundation’s only criterion was that it would fund projects that use journalism for the public good: "We will fund a project anywhere in the world as long as we are convinced it will support good, responsible journalism."

Kelner said he was unable to provide figures on how much funding the project had received from the Lebedev family or what its fundraising targets would be, because the foundation had only just been established.

"The important thing is that every penny will go directly to projects that we are funding," he said. "The more money we raise, the more projects we can support."

The foundation is chaired by Lebedev. Its trustees include the human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy, the former BBC World Service managing director Sir John Tusa and the former House of Commons media select committee chair Lord Fowler.

A statement from the foundation said it was important to highlight responsible journalism and its role in democracy, particularly in the context of the Leveson inquiry, which is investigating press standards in the UK. 

It said the foundation was seeking new projects to invest in and new partners to help with funding. Those interested should visit the charity’s website:

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