Applications open for new Africa Media Freedom Fellowship

New UK Government fellowship focused on supporting media freedom and trust in misinformation age to be run at the University of Westminster in 2020.

Applications for the Chevening Africa Media Freedom Fellowship to study in the UK are open between 17 October and 9 December 2019, with applications to be submitted via

The fellowship is an eight-week residential course to be delivered by the University of Westminster, in London, from 18 May to 10 July 2020, and is designed for those involved in setting and pushing the boundaries of trust, standards, and freedom in the media in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa including: senior journalists at public service and independent media; senior staff at media regulators; statistics agencies responsible for releasing information; and media NGOs.

This new fellowship offers a unique opportunity to create international networks as fellows work together to explore the mechanisms through which public trust in the media can be restored, and the boundaries of media freedom.

‘Support for media freedom in decline’

The fellowship will be delivered by the University of Westminster’s Dr Winston Mano, a leading academic expert on communication in Africa and director of the University’s Africa Media Centre, and Peter Cunliffe-Jones, who founded Africa Check – the continent’s leading independent fact-checking organisation.

Co-director of the course Peter Cunliffe-Jones said: ‘As concern has grown worldwide about the rise of misinformation and the harm it causes, governments, and regulators in many regions are clamping down on freedom of expression – online and in the media.

‘Recent polling has shown that public support across Africa for media freedom is in decline, with the media seen by many as often promoting false information and violating public trust. This fellowship aims to promote a vigorous exchange of ideas, sharing of experience, and constructive learning to help answer the questions of what are the proper boundaries of standards, trust, and freedom.’

‘A transformative experience’

Chevening Fellowships are offered to mid-career professionals who have reached positions of influence and want to increase their knowledge, networks, and potential through a tailored short course or professional placements at UK institutions. Fellowships are awarded to individuals with demonstrable leadership experience who also have strong academic backgrounds.

Since Chevening was created in 1983, over 50,000 outstanding professionals have had the opportunity to develop in the UK through its scholarship and fellowship programmes.

Acting Head of Scholarships at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Anabel Inge, said:

‘Chevening represents the very best of the UK, welcoming exceptional people from across the world to study, grow, and thrive at some of the world’s best universities. Chevening can be a transformative experience, not just for the fellows, but for their communities and countries as they return and use the benefit of their UK experience to make a positive difference in their chosen field.

‘Our universities promote the creation and exchange of information and ideas, as well as the building of knowledge and networks. Chevening Fellows find themselves immersed in that world, and leave the UK after their studies having grown academically, professionally, and personally as a result.’

Ambitious leaders from 11 countries

Chevening was established in 1983, and many of those selected for an award have gone on to become respected leaders across a range of sectors, including in broadcast, journalism, and media.

‘With our world facing countless challenges, the role that the Chevening community plays in building bridges and collaborating across borders to solve big issues is more important than ever,’ Anabel added.

Chevening is looking for ambitious, professional, and innovative leaders from 11 countries – Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – who will study hard in the UK, and be open to immersing themselves in the opportunities that arise through this programme.

Interested candidates are encouraged to check the eligibility criteria, find out more about the programme, and apply via the Chevening Africa Media Freedom Fellowship page.

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