Charities, non-governmental organisations and bodies which fund the arts should do more to financially support citizen journalism, according to writer and activist Pat Kane.

Speaking to Kane said organisations could be doing more to "pull their weight" when it comes to funding journalism, calling on bodies to set up an investigative fund for independent investigative reporting.

"I think there are a lot of different elements and developments which make citizen journalism quite a strong phrase.

"I think journalism as being about shedding light on dark corners, as being about giving people voice that voiceless, as being about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, as the old phrase has it, is something that is a ubiquitous possibility for people with the platforms and devices available.

"I do think there are some people who could pull their weight a wee bit more, in the wider society in terms of funding journalism.

"I think charities, for example, and NGOs could be thinking about how they perhaps come together, similar charities in the same sector, to create an investigative fund and then to find ways to get that to people who can do that job, so that we can get away from the idea that if Amnesty's commissioning a documentary on its topic or if Greenpeace is commissioning a documentary on its topic, then obviously this information is going to be partial".

He added that organisations should find a way to "devote resources to a fund or a trust" which can then be used in an "independent way to allow for an agenda of journalism to be covered that's not the kind of stuff that would come out of Sky News or BBC news".

"Similarly in the kind of work that philanthropic organisations do for the arts, I think they should be looking towards citizen journalism and put grants and trusts in place that fund editorial processes over a long period of time.

"... I think there's a lot of actors and factors, including the philanthropic community, making grants in the arts and social projects that could be looking to citizen journalism and saying well what is the healthiest process that we can support in our society.

"Surely it is the ability for more people to ask better questions of the power structures that are around and about them, or to highlight things that need to be highlighted.

"It's an appeal I would send out to the organisations that would sponsor the Tate Modern or that would be involved in the Big Society, I think they should be looking at these types of issues too."

He added that ProPublica in the US, an independent investigative journalism newsroom which receives philanthropic contributions, is a "classic example" of this idea in practice.

Kane was speaking to at the media140 conference in Barcelona last week. You can see all of's blog coverage of the event at this link and news coverage here.

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