Simon Kelner, the former editor of the Independent, is launching a charity today aimed at promoting journalism across the world.
Called the Journalism Foundation, its initial finance is being provided by the Independent's owners, Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev.
Kelner said: "The point of the foundation is to support fair, free and independent journalism anywhere. We regard journalism as an essential tool of an open democracy."
To illustrate the foundation's wide scope, he announced its first two projects - a partnership with City University London to create journalism courses in Tunisia and a one-man hyperlocal website in Stoke-on-Trent, designed to show how digital journalism can be built up from the grassroots by using digital media. The foundation is to provide resources to enable Mike Rawlins whose website pitsnpots holds the local council to account.
Kelner has attracted an impressive group of trustees: Lady Kennedy, Lord Fowler and Sir John Tusa, along with Evgeny Lebedev as chairman. It is expected that Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame will be joining soon.
A number of former and current editors have expressed support for the foundation. They include Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian, James Harding of the Times, the Daily Mail's Paul Dacre and the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, Max Hastings.
Hastings said: "This is a time when bad and corrupt journalism is receiving extraordinary exposure in Britain, which makes the promotion of good, brave and campaigning journalism all the more important.
"The objectives of the Journalism Foundation deserve the widest support from everybody who cares about honest communication in the 21st century."
The foundation has also received messages of support from the writer Salman Rushdie and the Lib Dem politician Lord Ashdown.
Kelner said: "Journalism, like free speech, belongs to everyone. So the projects we're interested in are those designed for the public good."
Kelner left the Independent in July after 13 years as editor. He was replaced by Chris Blackhurst.