BlueLink Foundation

BlueLink.net is an online news and social network supporting civic initiatives and NGOs by strengthening independent journalism and virtual networking, to improve democracy and protect nature and human rights. BlueLink.net operates in Bulgaria, but has supported like-minded networks in the Balkans and the former USSR.

Description

One of the pioneers of civil society e-networking in Bulgaria since 1998, BlueLink.net is an established hub of coordination, exchange of information and information technology innovation among environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) and groups. Some of Bulgaria’s most active and reputable environmental groups are among BlueLink’s founders. State authorities, such as the Ministry of Environment and Waters and the Forestry Agency have partnered with BlueLink in securing CSO participation and disseminating information to civil society.

The network’s founders have identified the lack of independent quality journalism as one of the primary shortcomings of environmental democracy in Bulgaria. This is why over the past 2 years BlueLink has partnered with the Sofia University’s Faculty of Journalism, the Guardian Foundation, UK, and others, to build the skills and capacity of young journalists to investigate and cover issues of nature protection, sustainable development and public interest.

BlueLink is the Bulgarian member of the Association for Progressive Communications and a partner to the Climate News Network, UK. BlueLink is registered as a Foundation in public benefit under Bulgaria's Non-for-Profit Organisations Act. BlueLink maintains bank accounts in ProCredit Bank - Bulgaria, known as the bank with the highest commitment to environmentally sustainable development.

Selected recent activities of BlueLink.net include:
• There is Such Journalism, training workshop for journalists and roundtable with the Guardian Foundation;
• BlueLink Newsroom - independent journalists investigating failures of environmental law enforcement and public participation;
• Green Map, an interactive information and networking resource on environmental hotspots in Bulgaria (in progress);
• IT tools for civic participation - developing virtual platforms that enable citizens and civic initiatives to alert CSOs and authorities about cases of: illegal deforestation; urban environmental problems; and breaches of Bulgaria's non-smoking regulations.
• BlueLink Information Network - a portfolio of mailing lists, web pages and user-generated content on environmental, sustainability and nature conservation issues (core activity);
• Free Electrons - biannual award for strategic internet use for public interest purposes.
• Global Internet Society Watch: Annual Report by APC.org, regular contributions on Bulgaria and other post-socialist countries.

Type of partner/expertise sought

Possible partners may include:
- associations or groups of journalists; willing to work on related issues;
- capacity building organisations for quality journalism;
- media think tanks or research departments, styduing the journalistic field and media independence in the context of general developments of democracy in post-socialist societies;
- CSO, NGO, civil society and other networks;
- mass media organisations with commitment to quality journalism; and
- other possible partners with relevant expertise.

Type of expertise/competence offered

BlueLink.net has 15 years of experience and expertise in strategic IT and internet-based tools and applications for environmental and civil society communication in Bulgaria.
BlueLink's has also worked for strengthening independent quality journalism in the public's interest in Bulgaria.
BlueLink posesses high-level analytical and social research expertise in the fields of journalism, mass-media independence, environmnetal and social change reporting.



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