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Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
May 16, 2023

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Legal Support and Education for Media Professionals

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Legal Support and Education for Media Professionals

Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy Astana

Funding Opportunity Title:  Legal Support and Education for Media Professionals

Announcement Type: Grant

Funding Opportunity Number:  DOS-KAZ-AST-AEECA-23-002

Deadline for Applications: June 15, 2023, 23:59 PM (Astana time)

Assistance Listing Number: 19.900 – Assistance to Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Total Amount Available: $101,000.00

Length of performance period: Up to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: 1-2 awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $101,000

Total available funding: $101,000

Type of Funding:  FY21/22 Assistance to Eastern Europe and Central Asia under the Foreign Assistance Act

Anticipated program start date:  September 2023

The U.S. Department of State’s Embassy Astana announces an open competition opportunity to implement a project that strengthens Kazakhstan’s media environment through the provision of legal support and assistance to journalists as well as legal-related training for media professionals, such as journalists and media content creators, and law students or practitioners, and law enforcement personnel. The project aims to promote professional journalism standards and ensure proper legal protections where needed, while supporting Kazakhstan’s efforts towards democracy and rule of law.

Priority will be given to projects that yield concrete, measurable results. Projects consisting solely of conferences or roundtable discussions, theoretical research or surveys, or the writing or publishing of books, are unlikely to be funded.


The United States of America and the Republic of Kazakhstan cooperate on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including support for Kazakhstan’s intentions to protect media freedom and increase journalistic professionalism. While the Embassy has previously focused attention on providing legal support for journalists with success, it has become apparent that there is a lack of legal training in the Kazakh language available to students and practitioners, and a need to better educate law enforcement officials on the rights of journalists. Therefore, the Embassy of the United States of America can provide a bridge between the two directions and aims to support a qualified organization to implement a program for the provision of legal support and trainings to journalists, content creators, law students and practitioners, and law enforcement in Kazakhstan. 

Legal protection of journalists and their ability to practice journalism in a safe environment is critical to a democratic society. The availability of legal consultation or support would significantly contribute to journalists’ safety in Kazakhstan and their ability to fulfill work duties. In addition, there is a need for journalists and other content creators to know their rights and responsibilities as stipulated by the law.  Law students and practitioners need to broaden their knowledge of the  media law while law enforcement need to better understand the rights of journalists.  Special attention should be paid to providing these services in the Kazakh language.

The project aims to provide direct legal assistance to journalists from all regions of Kazakhstan, including, as eligible, pro-bono defense attorney’s services for defending journalists’ rights in civil, administrative, or criminal courts.  In addition, the implementer must include legal education for journalists and content creators, law students and practitioners, and education of law enforcement on the rights of journalists.  The successful applicant should have attorneys on-staff or contracted in all regions of Kazakhstan. The successful organization will be responsible for monitoring the status of journalists’ freedom and changes in legal behaviors, and to regularly publish about it.

Project Audience(s):  The project should target journalists, media professionals, law students and practitioners, and law enforcement agents throughout the country. The project should be able to provide trainings and services in Kazakh and Russian.

Project Goal:  Support a free media environment in Kazakhstan by increasing awareness of legal rights and access to protections for media professionals.

Project Activities: The program should support objective journalism and ethical journalism standards through the provision of timely, exhaustive, and comprehensive legal consultations to journalists, content creators, law students and practitioners, and media consultants. The program should be able to provide pro-bono legal support in cases when a journalist or a media outlet, requesting such support, were fulfilling their professional duties in accordance with international journalism standards and laws and regulations of the Republic of Kazakhstan.  The program must include media rights and responsibilities trainings for journalists and content creators, law students and practitioners, and for law enforcement agencies.

Project Objectives:

  • Objective 1: Increase knowledge and understanding of legal rights and laws pertaining to media professionals among a minimum of 100 participants through at least six trainings, with at least half of the trainings being conducted in the Kazakh language. This can include legal book or pamphlet translations and printing as well as workshops.
  • Objective 2: Increase access to legal protections for media professionals by providing legal services and creating a database of lawyers available for pro bono support in the regions. (Note: If lawyers are not available for pro-bono support, the applicant should negotiate how attorney services will be compensated.) The implementers are not bound by the number of consultations or pro-bono cases; however, the successful applicant should track the number and kinds of services provided and demographics of individuals accessing their services.
  • Objective 3: Increase public awareness on press freedom violations and issues through regular monitoring and reporting on at least a quarterly basis.