Internet search giant Google has awarded $2.7 million (1.96 million euros) to media watchdog IPI as part of a new project to support digital news in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, IPI said Thursday.
The money will sponsor the IPI News Innovation Contest, which will give out grants to non-profit and for-profit organisations "working on digital, including mobile, open-source technology created by journalists and/or for journalists and distributed in the public interest," the International Press Institute announced on its website.
"The role of digital innovation in news has been amply demonstrated by recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and more recently Bahrain," the Vienna-based IPI noted.
Grants will be awarded for three kinds of ventures, namely training, development of economic models for news outlets and platforms to ensure reliable news sources.
"A free press empowers people, and a thriving, independent, innovative news industry is vital to any countrys development," providing "a mirror to the societies it is meant to serve," IPI's acting director Alison McKenzie noted.
"In the era of the Internet its important that innovation in journalism continues to flourish and we're keen to help encourage that," Google's external relations director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East added.
Applications for the grants can be submitted until June 1, online at: www.ipinewscontest.org
Explore further: Calls for greater tech openness rise