Annual report 2022

The disturbing news of war shattered the hopes of many in 2022.European democracies felt shaken. It is undeniable that the war in Ukraine will have an impact on democracy in Europe. To what extent, it is still to be determined.

Amid it all, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and independent media took a central role, reacting quickly where governments fell short. Our grantee and foundation partners adapted their work to respond in solidarity with civil society in Ukraine.

Elsewhere in Europe, civil society (CS) and independent public-interest media have stood strong in the face of continuous obstacles. We have seen pro-democracy actors contributing to shaping public policies that protect and uphold democracy. For instance, CSOs contributed to shaping digital policies at national and EU levels. These actions changed our digital public sphere, promoting democracy, ensuring citizens’ safety online and their access to reliable information.

Annual report 2021

In Europe, in many countries, incidents of democratic erosion and backsliding are ongoing – the deterioration of media freedom and pluralism became evident in Slovenia after continuous governmental attempts to discredit civil society actors and journalists. A political crisis unfolded in Belarus; an immigration crisis followed on the border with Poland where civil society took again a frontline position.

At the same time, civil society pushed back when and where possible and we saw numerous examples of solidarity across the continent – in Poland journalistic organisations came together to stage a media blackout protest; in Slovenia civil society organisations set up a crowd-funding campaign to save the Slovenian Press Agency; on the European level, civil society organisations are working in unison to strengthen fundamental freedoms and democracy in the Digital Services Act and other tech-related legislation.

Annual report 2020

2020 was a powerful reminder of why civil society is vital to our democracies and why supporting, preserving, and promoting civic space is critical. In many countries, CSOs have effectively and quickly managed to adapt their activities and address the emergency of the situation and respond to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable. The current Covid-19 crisis has persuaded popular social media platforms to start monitoring and removing misinformation on topics related to public health – an unprecedented move that comes with its pros and cons. Aware of misinformation and disinformation populating our digital lives, a lot of people turned to reliable independent media as a main source of information. As a result, independent media saw some growth in traffic and individual donations.

Despite all difficulties, our grantee partners remained committed to their work and mission to counter restrictive measures by exposing wrongdoings and engaging with decision-makers. They mobilised when needed, researched, and advocated for a healthier digital sphere with positive and encouraging outcomes that will be developed in this report.

Annual report 2019

The year 2019 was one to remember. It was the year in which the issues Civitates works on were as relevant as ever, with democracy remaining at stake in Europe. It was also the year in which we saw an increasing number of initiatives defend democracy in Europe, both offline and online. Throughout the year, Civitates’ grantee partners drove campaigns, brought in new ideas and toolsnetworked and strategised together. As a result, we are seeing greater connections, common thinking, trust, and personal bonds among civil society groups across Europe 

 In our 2019 annual report we reflect on Civitates’ journey throughout 2019: what we did, what we learned and what we perhaps could have done differently. You will read about how, within our line of work aimed at a strong and resilient civil society, our grantee partners have been consolidating the work of their cross-sectoral coalitions. You will also learn about the first cohort of grants within our line of work that pushes for a healthy digital public sphere. Moreover, it touches upon our new line of work, to support the field of independent public-interest journalism in Europe.