Annual Report 2023
A journalist from Studio Kalangou presents the news in French in Niamey, Niger. © Apsatou Bagaya / Fondation Hirondelle.

Tenacity and innovation to promote good journalism and grow audiences

The year 2023 was marked by a rise of authoritarianism around the world, including the countries where Fondation Hirondelle operates. We responded by adapting our working methods, formats and subjects covered to develop journalism that was closer to the people.

In 2023, political instability, escalating violence, and the rise of more authoritarian leadership contributed to a climate of fear and uncertainty, further exacerbated by inflation and economic woes. Populations in countries where we operated grappled with intensifying pressures and challenges on multiple fronts. These adversities not only impacted the lives of communities but also complicated the work of media seeking to provide accurate, impartial information.

In the Sahel, we witnessed an increasing reluctance among civil society actors and other contributors to speak out on sensitive and important issues, hindering journalists’ efforts to present a balanced, nuanced picture of reality. Meanwhile, worsening security meant access to some communities became difficult. We had to find new sources of reliable information and fresh voices willing to question official narratives. Operating from exile was no less challenging for our Burmese staff, who have now spent years separated from families and friends in order to continue covering human rights abuses in Myanmar via the Doh Athan podcast.

Our online media Justice Info stayed true to its mission of shedding light on issues of justice and accountability worldwide. The team did not shy away from addressing complex, thorny topics, such as accusations of International Court of Justice inertia regarding Israel’s approach to the war in Gaza, as well as under-covered stories, such as the alleged war crimes against indigenous communities and Afro-descendants in Colombia.

A journalist from Studio Hirondelle RDC reports from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. © Gwenn Dubourthoumieu / Fondation Hirondelle.
A journalist from Studio Hirondelle RDC reports from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. © Gwenn Dubourthoumieu / Fondation Hirondelle.

In a quest to engage new audiences, we experimented with formats such as Tik Tok explainers for elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Le Niger sur Kalangou, a 60-minute daily show for audiences in Niger covering news, justice, sport, health and many other themes, while celebrating the country’s cultural diversity and including voices from different regions.

In recognition of the urgent need to address climate change, we expanded coverage and training initiatives, underlining the interconnected nature of climate change with a wide range of topics, from politics and security to migration and health. Coverage of the COP 28 in Dubai highlighted its underperformance on issues of importance to African countries. Climate change is among a number of challenges which are shared across borders and which can benefit from international collaboration, thus, a series of co-productions for the Sahel were produced, seeking to foster dialogue and solutions between communities and countries.

Coordinated disinformation campaigns also crossed borders, and we doubled down on efforts to monitor and address rumours and fake news, and provide dedicated debunking content, in some cases partnering with organisations specialised in disinformation monitoring.

Despite the challenging environments, we saw an increase in audiences, particularly in Niger, where a survey revealed audiences had tripled in 3 years, reaching 3.4 million people weekly. This growth can be attributed to teams’ commitment to delivering high-quality, relevant content that resonated with local communities.


To counter the rapid spread of disinformation/misinformation and the worrying decline in public trust in traditional media, more than 150 media organizations adopted the “Journalism Trust Initiative” (JTI) at the end of 2019 under the impetus of Reporters Sans Frontières. This scheme provides a framework for standards and certifies media that practice professional and ethical journalism. Fondation Hirondelle, which operates in crisis situations, is fully in line with JTI’s values of transparency and professionalism in editorial processes. Fondation Hirondelle has therefore been actively involved in this initiative from the outset, including the development of the JTI standard. Studio Kalangou, the Fondation’s media outlet in Niger, was successfully certified in 2022.

Fondation Hirondelle is also committed to developing the “JTI Campus”, a 100% online training centre. It aims to provide media with resources to support them in their self-assessment and certification process. In 2023, Fondation Hirondelle contributed to the development of five modules available in three languages (French, English, Spanish), and to raising awareness of the JTI standard among 45 media outlets. In 2024, Fondation Hirondelle aims to support three new media outlets from its network in their certification process.