MRA, 49 Civil Society Organisations Renew Call for UN and AU to Intervene to Secure the Immediate Release of Omoyele Sowore

Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters publisher
Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters publisher

LAGOS, Friday, 27 September 2019: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and 49 other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have made a renewed call on the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) to intervene to secure the immediate release of Mr Omoyele Sowore.

 Mr Sowore, a prominent journalist, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner who was arrested on 3 August 2019 for having called for a peaceful #RevolutionNow protest, is still being detained in Nigeria in violation of a Federal High Court in Abuja order issued on September 24 for the Department of State Services (DSS) to release him on bail.

The 50 human rights and press freedom organisations, who previously filed an urgent appeal concerning Mr Sowore’s case to the United Nations and African Union, have renewed their call for intervention to secure Mr Sowore’s immediate release.

Following Mr. Sowore’s prolonged detention under the 2013 Terrorism Act, Mr Sowore has been charged with treason for having called for a peaceful protest and cyber stalking for having allegedly insulted the President of Nigeria in a media interview. A third charge concerns money laundering for transferring funds for operating expenses of Sahara Reporters, Mr Sowore’s US-based online news agency that focuses on corruption and human rights abuses in Nigeria, from the outlet’s US account to its Nigerian account. All the charges are considered to be a response to Mr Sowore’s critical stance towards the government rather than any actual criminal wrongdoing.

Mr Ayode Longe, MRA’s Programme Director said: “It is antithetical to the tenets of democracy to arrest a man who was merely exercising his constitutional right of assembly, association and expression and the height of impunity to continue to detain him even after a court of competent jurisdiction has granted him bail. The DSS must immediately and unconditionally release Sowore.”

Commenting on the charges, Nwachukwu Egbunike of Global Voices said: “Omoloye Sowore’s continued detention and the charges of treason affirm our position that this trial is merely a criminalisation of political dissent. We call on the Nigerian government to honour its own laws and the international treaties it is a signatory to. Sowore should be unconditionally released.”

The 50 CSOs had previously filed an urgent appeal on August 23, 2019, arguing that Mr Sowore’s treatment constituted a violation of his right not to be arbitrarily detained, right to a fair trial, right to freedom of expression, right of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and his rights as a human rights defender. They therefore renewed their call upon the UN and AU Special Mechanisms to intervene urgently to secure the immediate release of Mr Sowore; and declare his arrest, prosecution and continuing detention a gross violation of his human rights.

“Sowore’s case and several similar cases instigated by state governors make a hideous mockery of Nigeria’s criminal justice systems, rule of law, freedom of expression and media freedom” said Olúwádàre A. Kóláwolé of the Socio Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP). Invoking charges of treasonable felony to unjustifiably or arbitrarily restrict the right to freedom of opinion and expression undermine the essence of the criminal justice system and the rule of law.

We commend Mr Sowore’s legal team in Nigeria, led by Mr Femi Falana, for continuing all efforts to get Mr Sowore’s release secured.

The organisations which made this joint call are:

All Workers’ Convergence (AWC); Afrika Movement for Freedom and Justice (AMFJ), Agege Women Agenda (AWA), Amnesty International Nigeria; Amnesty International USA; ARTICLE 19 Senegal/West Africa, Chidi Odinkalu (Open Society Justice Initiative), Centre for Constitutional Rights, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), Coalition for Revolution (CORE), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Community Women Initiatives (CWI), The Concerned Forum, Congress of Progressive Youths (COPY), Democratic Youth League, Edo State Civil Society Organisation (EDOSCO), Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, Freedom of Expression Hub, Gani Fawehinmi Apostles, Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Organization (, Governance Advancement Initiative for Nigeria (GAIN), Global Voice Sub-Saharan Africa, Grassroot Justice Centre,  Human and Environment Development Agenda (HEDA), Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-UGANDA), IAmVocal, Index on Censorship, Media Legal Defence Initiative, Media Rights Agenda, People’s Alternative Front (PAF), Moshood Abiola Vanguard for Democracy (MAVD), Movement For People’s Rights, National Conscience Party (NCP), Lagos State Branch; Nigerians in Diaspora Europe, Belgium-Luxembourg (NIDOE-BeLux), Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) Nigeria Office, Paradigm Initiative, People’s Alternative Front (PAF), Peoples’ Unite, Rivers State Civil Society Coalition (RIVSCO), Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Save Lagos Group, Socialist Vanguard Tendency (SVT), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Sovereign Vital Force, Spaces for Change, Take-It-Back (TiB) Movement, Talakawa Parliament, Veteran Group for Operation Clean Crusade (VGOCC), Women for Leadership Change, Workbond International Network (WIN), Youth In Good Governance Initiative (YIGGI).

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale

Communication Officer

Media Rights Agenda, Lagos





MRA Hails European Court of Justice Landmark “Right to be Forgotten” Judgment

downloadLAGOS, Thursday, September 26, 2019: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today commended the landmark judgment of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which on September 24, 2019 resolved the dispute over Google’s responsibility to remove information from the Internet, frequently referred to as the “right to be forgotten”.

In a judgment regarded as important in advancing freedom of expression globally, the court, which is the supreme court of the European Union (EU) in matters of EU law, held that de-referencing requests under the EU Directive can only be applied within the EU, but not worldwide.

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, noted that the legal victory was significant because it removed an unwarranted restriction on the right to freedom of expression, arguing that the implementation of the French regulator’s 2015 decision demanding the removal of information from the Internet could result in censorship and an unjustifiable interference with the right to freedom of expression in many countries outside the EU.

The ruling arose from a dispute between Google and French privacy regulator, la Commission nationale informatique et libertés (CNIL), which in 2015, ordered the Internet giant to globally remove search result listings to pages containing damaging or false information about a person.

The matter was referred to the CJEU by France’s Conseil d’Etat, to which Google appealed over the CNIL decision. The issue for determination by the Court was: where a regulator in one EU country requires information to be removed from the internet, should that be given effect in that one country, across the EU or globally?

Mr. Edetaen Ojo
Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

Concerned about the serious implications of the CNIL’s decision for freedom of expression, particularly in the developing world, 18 NGOs which specialise in the defence of human rights and online freedom of expression in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, including Media Rights Agenda, initially intervened before the Conseil d’Etat in France, while 13 of them, including MRA, also intervened before the CJEU.

The NGOs were  represented by barristers Ms Caoilfhionn Gahhagher QC, Mr. Jude Bunting and Ms  Jennifer Robinson of the London-based internationally renowned law firm, Doughty Street Chambers, as well as French lawyer, Mr. Thomas Haas.

The 13 NGOs argued before the CJEU that global de-listing will have grave ramifications, far beyond the impact on the rights of Google and that it will undermine freedom of expression and human rights activism around the world.

The 13 NGOs provided a unique perspective as they are based in countries as diverse as Brazil, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

In its judgment, the Court agreed with the NGOs, adopting the position put forward by them.

The Court recognised the interveners’ argument about the importance of free speech and that the right to be forgotten is not recognised around the world, remarking that “…it should be emphasised that numerous third States do not recognise the right to de-referencing or have a different approach to that right. Moreover, the right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right, but must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principle of proportionality… Furthermore, the balance between the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, on the one hand, and the freedom of information of internet users, on the other, is likely to vary significantly around the world.”

The Court also adopted the interveners’ concern that, to date, there has not been proper consideration of the balancing test between the right to privacy of an individual in an EU Member State, from which the right to be forgotten flows, and freedom of speech in a global context, saying: “While the EU legislature has, in Article 17(3)(a) of Regulation 2016/679, struck a balance between that right and that freedom so far as the Union is concerned …, it must be found that, by contrast, it has not, to date, struck such a balance as regards the scope of a de-referencing outside the Union.”

Accordingly, the Court found that there was no requirement to de-reference information outside of the EU.

Reacting to the judgment, one of the lawyers to the NGOs, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC,  said: “ All too often debates about internet regulation focus on Europe and North America only, ignoring the global ramifications. Our clients are a global and diverse coalition which spans the globe – from the Internet Freedom Foundation of India, to Jonction in Senegal, and the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio.”

According to her, “They rely on freedom of expression and on the free exchange of ideas and information online so as to carry out their important work protecting human rights around the world. Many are based in countries with repressive press laws, where free access to the Internet is critical in protecting human rights and enabling NGOs to campaign for change.”

Ms Gallagher stressed that “The decision of the European Court today sets an important precedent for freedom of speech. The right to be forgotten is not universally recognised around the world. No state should be permitted to remove information from the internet with global effect. To do otherwise would trigger a ‘race to the bottom’: where the information available online to internet users everywhere would be determined by the state with the most repressive and draconian laws.”

The NGOs who intervened in the CJEU case were:

Internet Freedom Foundation, India
Software Freedom Law Center, India
Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (“CIPESA”)
Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan
Unwanted Witness, Uganda
Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria
Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa (with members from 77 countries)
I-Freedom Uganda Network, Uganda
Jonction, Senegal
Media Rights Agenda, Nigeria
Sierra Sustainable Technology
The Institutio Beta for Internet and Democracy, Brazil
The League of cyberactivists for democracy, Africtivistes, Senegal
The Karisma Foundation, Colombia
Global Voices, United States
The Institute of Technology and Society of Rio, Brazil
Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, Mexico
The Center for Information Technology and Development (“CITAD”), Nigeria

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communication Officer
Media Rights Agenda, Lagos

Businessday  Sues National Emergency Management Agency for Non-Compliance with FOI Act

Godwin Chigbu, member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network
Godwin Chigbu, member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network

Business Day Media Limited, publishers of Businessday newspapers. has filed a lawsuit against the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) over the agency’s failure to make available to it information  it requested  under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011. Joined as a respondent in the suit is the Director General of NEMA.

In an Originating Summons filed on August 9, 2019 at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court with suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/932/2019, Business Day Media Limited is also seeking a declaration that it is entitled as of right to receive the information it applied for from the Agency, having sent written applications on July 4, 2019 and July 5, 2019.

The suit further seeks for an order for the Agency to make available to Business Day the information it applied for within seven days of the judgment of the Court.

The suit filed by Godwin Chigbu, a member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network, at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja is asking the Court for the following reliefs:

  1. A declaration that the refusal of the Defendants to furnish the Plaintiff with the information requested through the Plaintiff’s letters dated 4th July, 2019 and 5th July 2019 respectively was wrongful and amounts to a breach of the Plaintiff’s to access information held by a public institution under the FOI Act.
  2. An Order of the Honourable Court directing the Defendants, jointly and severally, to within seven days of the judgment in this suit, furnish the plaintiff with information requested through the Plaintiff’s letter dated 4th July, 2019 and 5th July 2019 respectively.
  3. Cost of prosecuting this action.

The suit is also asking the Court to determine the following questions:

  • Whether NEMA and its Director General as a public institution and a public officer respectively are not subjected to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • Whether NEMA and its Director General as a public institution and a public officer respectively have the power or right, without any legal justification, to refuse or deny Business Day Media Limited access to information it requested from them through its application for information dated July 4, 2019 in the light of the provisions of Sections 1, 3 (1) and (2), 7 and 20 of the FOI Act.
  • Whether NEMA and its Director General as a public institution and a public officer respectively have the power or right, without any legal justification, to refuse or deny Business Day Media Limited access to the information it requested from them through its application for information dated July 5, 2019 in the light of the provisions of Sections 1, 3 (1) and (2), 7 and 20 of the FOI Act.

The suit is being litigated under a project sponsored by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

UNESCO Invites Tenders for Global Study on Effective Measures to Tackle Online Harassment of Women Journalists

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is inviting qualified research institutions and individual consultants to submit tenders for a global study on good practices to tackle the issue of online harassment of women journalists.

The study, which will cover all regions of the world, will have a specific focus on the global South and countries where the issue has not been significantly studied yet. It should take an intersectional perspective and look at how women journalists are differently targeted depending on aspects of their identity and background including race, sexuality and gender roles, topics covered, economic background, ethnic group, religion, other factors.

Within the framework of a wider project on promoting the safety of women journalists, UNESCO intends to contribute to the fight against online harassment of women journalists by commissioning the global study on good practices to tackle this issue.

UNESCO expects this study to serve as an authoritative knowledge resource for the range of stakeholders around the world involved in ensuring the digital safety of women journalists. The overall aim of the Work is to equip stakeholder groups with concrete advice, based on in-depth research, on how to best address and thereby combat harassment of women journalists online. The study will thus be evidence-based and solution-oriented.

The proposed study will include concrete recommendations that address different stakeholder groups. The overall aim is to equip stakeholder groups with concrete advice, based on in-depth research, on how to best address and combat online harassment of women journalists.

Interested research institutions and individual consultants who wish to participate in the Open International Competition tender must request for a complete set of Solicitation Documents, available free of charge, from UNESCO contact person: Ms. Saorla McCabe, Programme Specialist, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, E-mail:

The tenders must be sent by email only to on or before October 3, 2019, midnight (GMT +2.00) in strict compliance with the instructions stipulated in the Solicitation Documents.

UNESCO reserves the right to amend the documents at any time during the solicitation process. However, any amendments or clarifications will be communicated directly to all bidders who have requested for a complete set of solicitation documents and officially confirmed their intention to submit a sealed tender. No remuneration will be made to companies for preparation and submission of their tenders.

Findings Support Idea that Diagonal Accountability Enhances Human Development

Jan Teorell, Varieties of Democracy Institute
Jan Teorell, Varieties of Democracy Institute

Research findings have supported the idea scholars and policymakers across the world have long believed that diagonal accountability enhances human development. This is the finding published in “Diagonal Accountability and Development Outcomes,” a report produced by Valeriya Mechkova, Michael Bernhard, Anna Lührmann as part of a V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy Institute) study.

The authors defined diagonal accountability as “the ability of organized citizens to hold their rulers directly accountable,” adding “such public engagement is key to a more open and responsive government.”

Overall, the report findings “suggest that investments in diagonal accountability not only empower citizens politically, they also contribute to human development.” Findings also show that in countries with limited vertical and horizontal accountability as well as state capacity and economic development, such pay-offs may not immediately materialize. It however noted that even in such contexts diagonal accountability contributes to human development in the long-run as it allows citizens and civil society to more forcefully articulate demands for accountable governance that rests on capable public administration and fosters economic development.

The research which carried out a regression analysis of more than 130 countries and over 60 years of history shows in its report “that improvements in diagonal accountability are associated with a decrease in infant mortality as one of the major indicators of human development.”

The research findings also show that over a 10 years period, the difference between countries with high and low levels of diagonal accountability is predicted to add up to a reduction of infant mortality by 10 deaths/1000 births.

The report shows a similar relationship to other indicators of human development in particular life expectancy, economic equality, education and economic growth, though in some cases the relationship is less robust.

It adds that diagonal accountability is a powerful tool which gives civil society actors a range of ways to monitor and impose costs on governments, constraining their autonomy from society.

The report says it is clear that when diagonal accountability is embedded in political contexts in which there are competitive elections and rule of law, its ability to trigger vertical and horizontal accountability mechanisms such as “throwing the bums out,” votes of no confidence, triggering veto points, and impeachment proceedings makes it a more credible threat to power holders.

The authors point out in the report that the study of accountability has highlighted three distinct pathways: the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal through which citizens keep governments accountable. They added: “Whereas there has been substantial study of the first two, diagonal accountability has only recently been identified and thus has been studied to a lesser extent.” They therefore focused on diagonal accountability in the study, adding” “Such public engagement is key to a more open and responsive government,” saying they expect it to promote a range of benefits for those human development outcomes which are dependent on government action.

The report also discusses how diagonal accountability differs from the other two forms of accountability and how it should work to promote human development outcomes.

The authors thereafter performed a series of statistical tests that look at the ways in which diagonal accountability affects public health, education rates, economic growth, and income equality. We also explore how other political environmental factors condition the ways in which diagonal accountability affect these outcomes.

Expatiating further, the report says “Good government is not only a function of the quality of administration but of how well that administration responds to the needs of its citizens. Thus the accountability of government is central to its ability to meet the developmental needs of the population over which it governs.”

The full report is available online and can be downloaded from

Human Rights Watch Receiving Applications for Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellowship

hor Halvorssen, President, Human Rights Watch
hor Halvorssen, President, Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is inviting applications from interested persons who hold an advanced (graduate) degree or will have a degree granted by June 2020 in the fields of Law, Journalism, International Relations, Area Studies, or other relevant disciplines from universities for the Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg fellowship.

HRW is strengthened profoundly by the diversity of its staff and its differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and more. It actively seeks and welcomes applications from people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities.

Fellows typically work full-time for one year in Human Rights Watch’s New York or Washington, D.C. office. In some instances, other locations may be considered. The fellowship begins in September 2020.

Fellows monitor human rights developments in various countries, conduct on-site investigations, draft reports on human rights conditions, and engage in advocacy and media outreach aimed at publicizing and curtailing human rights violations.

Past fellows have conducted research and advocacy on numerous different issues in countries all over the world. Examples include projects on: police corruption and access to justice in Liberia; accessibility for people with disabilities in Russia; youth in solitary confinement in US prisons; hazardous child labor in artisanal gold mining in Tanzania; and police abuse of gay men in Kyrgyzstan.

HRW will ensure that fellows receive training and mentorship including regular and timely feedback and guidance on professional growth. It is committed to ensuring a balanced workload for Fellows and monitoring staff well-being.

Application is open to applicants  with an advanced (graduate) degree in the fields of law, journalism international relations, area studies, or other relevant disciplines is required. Applicants who possess LL.Ms are also eligible, LL.B. degrees or advanced degrees in other relevant disciplines may also be considered.

Prior research experience, including experience conducting interviews, ideally in the context of human rights research, is required.

Required related Skills and Knowledge

  1. Demonstrated strong background in international human rightsand commitment to building a career in human rights are required.
  2. Excellent oral and written communications skills in English are required.
  3. Proficiency in another language in addition to English is strongly desired, as is familiarity with countries or regions where serious human rightsviolations occur.
  4. Self-motivation, ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.
  5. Strong initiative and follow-through, exceptional analytical skills, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent editing skills, perseverance and flexibility while maintaining HRW’s high methodological standards are required.
  6. Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as with external partners, are required.
  7. Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations are required.
  8. Ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.

The salary for 2020-2021 fellows is US $60,000, plus excellent employer-paid benefits. HRW will pay reasonable relocation expenses and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Interested applicants should apply immediately or by October 11, 2019 by visiting online job portal at and attaching a CV/resume, letter of interest, and a brief writing sample (unedited by others), preferably altogether as one PDF file.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted to submit the following: two letters of recommendation and an official law or graduate school transcript.

Successful applicants should be available for an in-person interview in New York from mid-December 2019 to early January 2020. Human Rights Watch will make the necessary arrangements and cover reasonable travel costs to attend this interview.

Atoms for Africa Calls for Entries for Online Video Competition

Masood Ahmed President, Center for Global Development
Masood Ahmed
President, Center for Global Development

Atoms for Africa is inviting applications from Students and young professionals from Sub-Saharan African countries to participate and stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid fact-finding trip to Russia.

In its 5th edition, the annual online video competition “Atoms for Africa” is dedicated to finding solutions for sustainable economic and social development in Africa through the use of innovative nuclear technologies. This year participants are required to research how nuclear technologies can assist in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in Africa.

The contest will run from August 1 until September 30, 2019. Young people are encouraged to film a short video about their findings and promote it on Facebook. The competition is open to persons aged between 18 and 30 years residing in Sub-Saharan Africa and is not limited to engineering and science students.

The video should be titled “How nuclear technologies can assist in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in Africa?” It must be maximum three minutes in length and must be in English.

The submitted video can be made in any quality that fits applicant’s vision (professional & smart phone) and all video content must be original, produced by the young people who are making the competition submission.

Use of any video content produced by or obtained from a professional organizations, university or other third parties is permitted in no more than 50% of the original video.

Video must be published on Facebook with no restrictions on its visibility for any Facebook visitors. The post must tag @Rosatominafrica Facebook page and contain hashtags: #Atoms4Africa, #AtomsForAfrica, #RosatomCompetition.

To be eligible, the video must be posted no later than September 30. 2019.

Shortlist of successful videos will based on Jury’s decision based on creativity, comprehensibility and impact and the number of likes after it is posted on Rosatom Africa Facebook page.

The 1st and 2nd place winners will go on an all-expenses paid trip to Russia in November 2019; 3rd place winners will receive valuable prizes and seven other shortlisted videos will be rewarded with commemorative certificates and gifts. There will be no cash compensations.

For more information, click:

Thomson Reuters Foundation to Hold Workshop on Reporting Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery

Antonio Zappulla Chief Executive Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Antonio Zappulla
Chief Executive Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Thomson Reuters Foundation is organizing a workshop on reporting Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in Lagos, Nigeria, for journalists from the West African region to gain practical skills and knowledge to  work on their story ideas. Participants will also be provided with guidance from experienced Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists and subject experts from reputed anti-trafficking charities.

frican region to gain practical skills and knowledge and work on their story ideas with guidance from experienced Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists and subject experts from reputed anti-trafficking charities.

The workshop offers a combination of specialist expertise and hands-on training, with an emphasis on producing high-impact stories for widespread dissemination.

In addition to coming away with a deep understanding of the scale, nature and causes of the problem, participants will learn about efforts to set global standards for combating modern slavery, including fundamental conventions, international instruments and a new, legally binding protocol that requires countries to take real action.

The workshop will discuss the role of media in raising awareness, reducing vulnerability and holding to account governments, law enforcement agencies and businesses. Participants will look at innovative approaches to fighting trafficking and forced labour and reporting on migration as well as scrutinise the quest for integrated policy responses across borders.

A major focus will be on the ethics of reporting slavery, from how to interact sensitively with traumatised survivors to getting past journalists’ own preconceived notions and stereotypes. The workshop will cover safety issues, particularly when it comes to dealing with sources and reporting on organised crime.

It provides opportunity to pick the brains of reporters who have done extraordinary investigative work or ground-breaking reportage that have changed policy, provoked public outcry or brought traffickers to justice. Participants will also spend time with experts and those at the coal face of the anti-slavery movement and migration crisis, including some who have been trafficked themselves and gone on to help others move from “victims” to “survivors”.

Interested applicants must be full-time journalists or regular contributors to media organisations in West Africa who must be able to demonstrate a commitment to a career in journalism in their country, must be a senior journalist with a minimum of three years’ professional experience and have a good level of spoken and written English. Those who have been on a Thomson Reuters Foundation training programme within the last two years are not be eligible to apply.

Organizer can fund travel expenses and accommodation for participants travelling from outside Lagos. This arrangement is subject to variation.

Applicants will be required to upload the following documents: two relevant work samples (maximum file size 5MB) – in English if possible. For stories not in English, applicants should include a 250-word English summary about the story; a letter from applicant’s editor consenting to his/her participation in the programme and committing to publish/broadcast resulting stories. Applicants will be asked to submit one or more story ideas within their application. Thomson Reuters Foundation will not share their ideas with anyone.

Applications close on October I, 2019. Those who have questions should please email:

To apply, please log on to

FG Announces Approval of Licenses for Online Radio, TV Operations

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the approval of licensing for online radio and television station operations and other wide ranging reforms in the broadcasting industry.

 The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja on August 23, 2019 when he received members of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) who paid him a courtesy visit, while responding to a request made by BON for the review of the Broadcasting Code.

According to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “I just want to use this opportunity to inform you that Mr. President has actually already approved a review of the Broadcast Code that is going to take care of many of the issues you have already raised here.”

“In particular, the President has approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry. Mr. President has also approved a wide range of reforms in the industry which, at the appropriate platform, I will let you know,” he said.

The Minister, who promised to carry along members of BON in the review of the Broadcasting Code, restated the commitment of the present administration to free media.

“I have said it on many platforms that this administration is not about to gag the press. No! But we will appeal to the press to please self-regulate for the sake of this country and also for the sake of the industry itself,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed also appealed to BON to partner with the government in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and cohesion in order to engender progress and national development.

“Today, if anybody listens to what is being said on some radio or television stations, you will think that this country is at war or that Christians actually cannot live with Muslims or that there is a dichotomy between the North and the South. I think we need to appeal to you to use your platforms for the unity and cohesion of the country,” he said.

In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of BON, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, said the Minister deserved his re-appointment because he brought life and great innovation to the broadcast industry during the first tenure of the administration.

He pledged the readiness of BON to key into the government’s agenda, especially the fight against fake news.

Registration Opens for 2019 FoME Symposium

Carsten von Nahmen Head, DW Akademie
Carsten von Nahmen Head, DW Akademie

Registration has opened online for the 2019 Forum Media and Development (FoME) Symposium organized by DW Akademie in conjunction with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.  The symposium is scheduled to hold on November 7 and 8, 2019 in Bonn, Germany, at Deutsche Welle’s headquarters.

Titled “Rethinking media development – New actors, new technologies and new strategies,” the Symposium, will explore the future for media development in the new information ecosystem.

The event will bring together journalists, media managers, media development specialists, activists, academics and representatives from government, civil society and private companies from around the world to exchange their views on this topic. 

The symposium will attempt to address core questions such as How can media development succeed in this changing information ecosystem? What are the most pressing challenges? What new approaches look promising? How should media development projects work with new innovative players? What are positive examples of cooperation with start-ups/innovation hubs? How do tech companies like Facebook, Google and the like come into play? How are media development organizations preparing for these changes? What are their new strategic priorities? And What are the most important future issues for media development?

The event offers expert input in the form of speeches, short lightning talks, panel discussions, workshops and exciting interactive formats (Buzzword Check, Marketplace of Ideas). Organizations contributing with sessions include CIMA, DW Akademie, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, ECPMF, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), icebauhaus, n-ost, Reporter ohne Grenzen and Tea after Twelve.

Some of the topics of the sessions at the Symposium include

  • Dissemination strategies for journalism in captured environments: cross-border alliances and ‘dark social’ Innovate or die: The scramble for new funding schemes in media
  • Surveillance laws in times of technological innovation: How to better protect journalistic sources
  • Data Journalism: A win/benefit/gain for citizens and democracy?
  • New strategies in development communication. Focusing on solutions instead of crisis reporting
  • Artificial Intelligence and (media) development: Challenges and opportunities for human rights and inclusive innovation
  • Artificial Intelligence gone wrong: What if highly automated systems make mistakes and journalists are censored on social media due to fully automated systems without an effective way to appeal?
  • Media Technologies for a Translocal Citizenship: VR, AR and Digital Storytelling
  • Networked Solutions: Why voices from the Global South are essential to facing the tech challenge
  • From AI to blockchain, through innovation and digitalization: What is the real relevance of these buzzwords for media development
  • Changing journalistic roles in a changing media world?
  • Why internet governance matters for journalism? Providing policy and advocacy for journalism and news media sustainability in the digital age.
  • Building MIL Momentum: Using old tricks to innovate.´
  • The whole picture: How constructive journalism widens the perspective 

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