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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

PLACE Expands Coverage To Reflect Growing Global Conversation Around Peoples’ Rights To Where They Live And Work

Press Release – London (March 11th, 2019) – The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of the world’s largest news and information provider, announced today the renewal of a three-year funding commitment from Omidyar Network for PLACE, the innovative news platform dedicated to coverage of the under-reported issue of land and property rights launched in 2016.

At a time when other media outlets are consolidating and reporters find themselves covering a variety of unrelated topics, PLACE stands apart. PLACE (Property, Land, Access, Cities, Empowerment) is the first global digital platform dedicated to land and property rights issues, a topic that mainstream media often lacks the resources to cover in depth. With eight reporters and producers based in five countries, the site provides compelling, original news content – in both print and video – as well as resources such as infographics, reports, and opinion pieces.

“From migration to climate change to technology, PLACE highlights how a lack of land and property rights disrupts human lives, society and the economy – as illustrated by our recent ‘Who Owns the Oceans’ series,” says Monique Villa, Chief Executive Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Some of our stories have encouraged consultation with public authorities and businesses in Thailand and Romania, helped secure funding for blockchain projects supporting Rohingya refugees, contributed to preventing the imminent displacement of indigenous communities in Kenya, and more. The renewed support from Omidyar Network will allow PLACE to continue building on its important work and to expand into new horizons looking at increasingly connected land and property rights issues,” added Villa.

“The global conversation around land and property rights has deepened in an important way, thanks in large part to the captivating stories of often overlooked individuals and communities highlighted by PLACE over the last few years,” said Peter Rabley, venture partner at Omidyar Network. “By continuing to support PLACE, we hope a wider range of policymakers, innovators, funders and others will understand the intrinsic role that secure property rights play in advancing many other issue areas, such as water rights, sustainable cities, climate change, and digital personal data protection, so that together we can better advocate for systemic change.”

Renewed funding from Omidyar Network will see PLACE take on a digital rights correspondent in Georgia and a water rights correspondent in South Africa – joining a property rights editor, a reporter and two multimedia producers in London, an Asia correspondent in Bangkok and a part-time US correspondent in Washington D.C.

PLACE seeks to raise awareness among policymakers, media organisations and the public on the effects of land and property rights issues on human lives, the economy and society, aided by the global reach of the Reuters news service and excellent journalism. It has established itself as a go-to portal for land and property rights news, opinions and resources. In 2018 alone, traffic to the website increased threefold, demonstrating a growing interest in the subject and a broadening audience.

Since its creation, PLACE stories have been republished by leading global media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, El País, Le Monde, Corriere della Serra, Hurryiet, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, among others. PLACE coverage has also been recognised by several international awards, winning an honourable mention at the 2018 SOPA (Society of Newspaper Publishers in Asia) Awards for Editorial Excellence in covering the struggle of Indian widows for their right to land, and the Coastal Culture Award at the 16th Annual International Ocean Film Festival for its film ‘Living with the Oceans’.

About the Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote the highest standards in journalism and spread the practice of legal pro bono worldwide. The organisation runs initiatives that inform, connect and empower people around the world: access to free legal assistance, editorial coverage of the world’s under-reported stories, media development and training, and the Trust Conference.

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm that invests in and helps scale innovative organisations to catalyse economic and social change. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organisation has committed more than $1.4 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organisations across multiple initiatives, including: Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.


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