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Media Rights Agenda » Media Rights Agenda Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:18:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cullman Center Fellowships Open, Accepting Entries Mon, 20 Jul 2020 05:04:32 +0000 Anthony W. Marx, President, New York Public Library
Anthony W. Marx, President, New York Public Library

The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center is now accepting entries for its fellowships programme from journalists, writers and others working on book projects.

The Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars. Visual artists whose projects require extensive use of Library collections are also encouraged to apply.

The Center aims to promote dynamic conversation about the humanities, social sciences, and scholarship at the highest level—within the Center, in public forums throughout the Library, and in the Fellows’ published work.

Successful candidates for this Fellowship will need to work primarily at the Schwarzman Building rather than at other divisions of the Library. Applications from those working in languages other than English are welcome; however, the applicant must be conversant in English, and the application materials must be in English.

The fellowship provides up to US$75,000, an office, a computer and full access to the Library’s resources to each fellow.

Completed applications and supporting materials -research proposal, Curriculum Vitae, letters of recommendation, and creative writing sample or artwork sample – must be submitted by 5 p.m. EDT on September 25, 2020.

Interested applicants should first register at before applying.

For more information and to apply, please visit:

]]> 0 Whickers Radio and Audio Documentary Funding Award Opens Mon, 20 Jul 2020 05:01:06 +0000 Valerie Kleeman, Chair of the Awards Committee, The Whickers

Valerie Kleeman, Chair of the Awards Committee, The Whickers

The Whickers is accepting applications for an original radio or audio documentary for the Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA) from the emerging audio producer based anywhere in the world to produce an original radio or audio documentary.

The RAFA is awarded annually to an emerging audio producer based anywhere in the world to produce an original radio or audio documentary which fulfils the core criteria detailed below. This year, the main award of £6,000 plus mentorship from a top industry professional will be awarded to an audio documentary-maker to produce a feature-length programme. Organisers will also award £1,000 each to four runner-ups.

The contest is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, but the resulting programme must be in English.

Some of the criteria include storytelling with demonstrably strong interviewing skill; the spirit of inquisitiveness that leaves viewers wanting more; there should be no campaigning, pre-set agenda or political theory; unique access to engaging characters in unusual or inaccessible locations; and playful story-telling means – breaking new grounds and/or using the old ground to re-invent new style, among other things.

Applications close on July 31, 2020

For the full criteria, guidelines, application form, application checklist and FAQs, please go to:

The Whickers were established in 2015 to fund and recognise original and innovative documentary. We seek to use the generous legacy of our namesake, pioneering broadcaster Alan Whicker, to support emerging film and audio documentary-makers in the funding and production of director-led programmes. The Whickers are comprised of two annual awards: the Film & TV Funding Award and the Radio and Audio Funding Award.

]]> 0 Fetisov Journalism Awards Accepting Nominations Mon, 20 Jul 2020 04:56:19 +0000 Gleb Fetisov, Founder, Fetisov Journalism Awards

Gleb Fetisov, Founder, Fetisov Journalism Awards

Media organisations from around the world have been invited to nominate journalists who change the world for the better with their publications for the annual Fetisov Journalism Awards.

The Fetisov Journalism Awards winners share the biggest monetary prize in the history of journalism and the entire world comes to know about inspiring their deeds and participation is free.

The Awards are available in four categories: outstanding contribution to peace; contribution to civil right; outstanding investigative reporting; and excellence in environmental journalism. The submission form may be filled out by a representative of a registered organization nominating another journalist or by a nominee. All information must be provided in English.

Publications (stories/articles/reportings) participating in the contest must have been published in printed media (newspapers/magazines/journals) and/or posted on media websites/outlets between June 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. The word restriction for the submitted publications is 20,000 words.

In accordance with the instructions on the website, one publication must be attached to the application form but if a series of publications on one subject is submitted for the contest they must be sent in one file. The attached file which must be in PDF format must not exceed 10 Mb.

For participation in the competition, personal details of the representative of the nominating organization; personal details of the nominee; and information about nominee’s publication including the category of the competition will need to be provided.

The total prize fund is 520,000 CHF (Swiss Franc) but three winners in each category will share a monetary prize of 130,000 CHF (including taxes, as stipulated by the legislation in force). The first prize winners receive 100,000 CHF each, the second prize winners receive 20,000 CHF each while the third prize winners receive 10,000 CHF each.

Full information about participation is available online at Before filling the online form, it is advised that applicants read the rules of entry at for inquiries, please contact the organisers by email through

]]> 0 Entries invited for MegaCities-ShortDocs Citizen Film Festival Mon, 20 Jul 2020 04:53:31 +0000 Didier Bonnet – Founder and President, Megacities Shortdocs

Didier Bonnet – Founder and President, Megacities Shortdocs

Megacities Shortdocsinvites applications for participation in the 6th edition of the MegaCities-ShortDocs Citizen Film Festival, a festival of short documentary-films that highlight initiatives which seek to bring effective solutions to MegaCities’ challenges and inspire people to take actions to improve the life of MegaCitizens in their MegaCity.

The international contest is hosted with festivals held in various megacities to support the making of short documentaries raising awareness about urban challenges and seeking solutions.

The contest is open to professional and amateur documentarians who live in one of the 38 megacities around the world.

Documentaries for entry must be up to 4 minutes long and cover issues and local initiatives in a megacity, covered by one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations. Possible topics include mobility, energy, health, accommodation, supply, business, security, communication, culture and education.

Megacities include Tokyo, Jakarta, Delhi, Seoul-Incheon, Manila, Mumbai, Karachi, Shanghai, New York, São Paulo, Beijing, Mexico City, Guangzhou-Foshan, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Moscow, Dhaka, Cairo, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Kolkata, Buenos Aires, Tehran, Istanbul, Lagos, Shenzhen, Rio de Janeiro, Kinshasa, Tianjin, Lima, Paris, Chengdu, Lahore, London, Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City, Nagoya, Chennai and Rhine-Ruhr.

The best shortdocs will be exhibited during the festivals around the world. Winners will receive a trip to Paris and up to EUR1,500 (US$1,667).

The deadline to register on online at and to upload ShortDoc on 15, 2020. See tutorial at Results of the selection process of 15 to 20 nominees by an international professional Jury will be announced in November.

The finalists (best ShortDoc Makers among the 15 to 20 nominees) will be invited and the winners awarded at the Paris Award Ceremony in mid-December 2020 while screenings in a selected number of megacities around the world will take place between December 2020 to end of June 2021.

For more information and to apply, please click:

]]> 0 NED Calls for Applications for Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Programme Mon, 20 Jul 2020 04:27:20 +0000 Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is calling for applications from democracy activists, journalists, civil society leaders, and scholars from around the world for the annual Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Programme.

Fellows will have the opportunity to spend five months in residence at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in Washington, D.C., in order to undertake independent research on democracy in a particular country or region.

The programme offers five-month fellowships for practitioners to improve strategies and techniques for building democracy abroad and five-month fellowships for scholars to conduct original research for publication. While in residence, fellows reflect on their experiences; engage with counterparts; conduct research and writing; consider best practices and lessons learned, and develop professional relationships within a global network of democracy advocates.

Fellows are expected to complete a written product relating to their proposed research project. The fellowship culminates in a formal presentation in which fellows typically focus on their research project or another topic relating to the state of democracy in their country.

The fellowship offers fellows an important opportunity to step back from the field, reflect upon their work, and explore new ideas in a comparative context.

To be considered for the programme, applicants should:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the English language
  • Propose a project focusing on the political, social, economic, legal or cultural aspects of democratic development
  • Be available to work in residence at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington, D.C. during the 5 month fellowship period (October 1-February 28 or March 1-July 31). No other fellowships or jobs may be held at this time.

Applicants on the practitioner track should have substantial practical experience working to promote democracy or human rights in their country of origin or interest and be mid-career professionals.

Those on the scholarly track should possess a doctorate (a Ph.D., or academic equivalent) at the time of application; have a proven record of publications in their field; and have developed a detailed research outline for their fellowship project.

To apply for the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship applicants need to first create an account through NED’ss online portal: Detailed instructions on how to create an account is available at After creating an account, the applicant is required to submit: his/her information; project proposal for the practitioner or the scholarly fellowship track; letters of recommendation; Resume/CV and Biography. All application materials submitted are to be in English.

Each Reagan-Fascell Democracy fellow receives a monthly stipend for living expenses; basic health insurance and roundtrip travel to and from Washington, D.C., at the beginning and end of the fellowship period. Fellowship payments are calculated to cover the cost of a short-term, furnished rental apartment, plus “cost of living” for food, local transportation, and other necessities.

Fellows are also provided with a fully equipped office, plus a limited budget for long-distance phone calls and professional travel within the United States. Fellows who wish to take family members with them to Washington, D.C., will be expected to cover the costs of their dependents’ roundtrip travel and stay within the United States.

The deadline for submitting the application for the 2021-2022 Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program is October 1, 2020, while the deadline for submitting letters of recommendation is October 8, 2020.

]]> 0  UN Calls on States to Ensure New Technologies Protect Right to Peaceful Protest Mon, 20 Jul 2020 03:42:53 +0000 Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Ms Michelle Bachelet, has called on States and businesses to ensure that new technologies, including facial recognition and the so-called ‘less-lethal weapons,’ are developed and used in ways that do not disrupt and prevent people’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and expression, as well as their right to participate in public affairs.

Bachelet noted that “New technologies can be used to mobilize and organize peaceful protests, form networks and coalitions, and help people to be better informed about demonstrations and the reasons they are happening, thus driving social change, ”but observed that “… as we have seen, they can be – and are being – used to restrict and infringe on protesters’ rights, to surveil and track them, and invade their privacy.”

These were contained in a report published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which examined the impact of new technologies on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful protests.

The report notes that in 2019, protests took place across the world for complex and varied reasons, including in response to structural and racial discrimination and worsening socio-economic conditions, and that this discontent has continued in 2020.

“Given the importance of the enjoyment of the right of peaceful assembly for democracies, and the role Internet-based technologies can play, it is crucial that States close the digital divide and ensure the greatest number of people possible can get secure affordable Internet access,” the High Commissioner pointed out.

The report advised States to  avoid resorting to Internet shutdowns, also called “network shutdowns”, “kill switches” or “blackouts,” which the report terms “a particularly pernicious way of interfering with ICT [information and communications technology] and thus also with assemblies.”

At least 65 such shutdowns took place during protests in 2019, jeopardizing the right of peaceful assembly both online and offline. In addition, such Internet shutdowns were reported to have had a significant economic impact.

The report noted that technology-enabled surveillance has been a major factor in the shrinking of civic space in many countries, with States resorting to intrusive online surveillance and the hacking of ICT tools and social media accounts used by those planning or organizing protests, as well as of protesters themselves.

One particular aspect detailed in the report is the use of facial recognition technology, which allows for the automated identification, surveillance and tracking of protesters. The report noted that many people feel discouraged from demonstrating in public places and freely expressing their views when they fear they could be identified and suffer negative consequences. Moreover, facial recognition technology may also perpetuate and amplify discrimination, including against Afro-descendants and other minorities.

The report urges states to avoid the use of facial recognition technology to identify those peacefully participating in an assembly, and to refrain from recording footage of protesters unless there are concrete indications participants are engaging in, or will engage in, criminal activity.

There should be a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in the context of peaceful protests until States meet certain conditions including human rights due diligence before deploying it. These include effective, independent oversight of its use; strict privacy and data protection laws; and full transparency about the use of image recordings and facial recognition technology in the context of assemblies.

Bachelet said: “As people gather worldwide to protest against racism, including by law enforcement officials, the right to peaceful assembly has never been more important. Facial recognition should not be deployed in the context of peaceful protests without essential safeguards regarding transparency, data protection, and oversight in place.”

The report also details the responsibility of private companies to carry out human rights due diligence, in particular, to ensure that data protection and non-discrimination requirements are included in the design and implementation of these technologies.

It also examined the use of other new technologies, specifically less-lethal weapons and ammunition. While batons, pepper spray and tear gas have been used by law enforcement officials for many decades, advances in technology have led to the development of new types of less-lethal weapons and ammunition that are used to crackdown on protesters. These include conducted electrical weapons such as tasers, advanced kinetic impact projectiles, pepper balls and pepper ball launchers, acoustic weapons and drones, and autonomous systems that deploy tear gas.

Bachelet said the “So-called less-lethal weapons have caused devastating harm when used during peaceful protests across the globe. While these weapons may be needed in some law enforcement settings, there is an urgent need for their use to be closely monitored and the standards of necessity and proportionality to be rigorously applied.”

he pointed out that: “A less-lethal weapon can kill if it is improperly used, whether deliberately or accidentally. Mandatory training in less-lethal weapons for law enforcement personnel is also essential, as is ensuring accountability for human rights violations related to their misuse.”

The High Commissioner called on States to strictly comply with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

She also urged them to take into account the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement issued recently by her Office.

]]> 0 Media Experts Say Radical Fiscal Reforms Needed to Salvage the Media from Negative Effect of COVID-19 Mon, 20 Jul 2020 03:39:44 +0000 Ms Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher, BONews

Ms Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher, BONews

Media experts including the chief executives of some media organizations have called for radical fiscal reforms, including steady power supply, bailouts in form of grants and soft loans, and other basic social amenities, to salvage the Nigerian media from the negative impact of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in conjunction with the BONews Service hosted media experts to a Twitter Chat on July 2, 2020, at which discussion the panellists dissected the challenges and proffered solutions to the impact the COVID- 19 global pandemics has had on media outlets, practitioners and journalists across the country.

The Twitter Chat with the theme: “Ensuring the Survival of the Media in the Face of a Global Pandemic – The Role of Governments” and used the hash tag #MediaNGCovid19 was moderated by the Executive Director of MRA, Edetaen Ojo and had on the panel seasoned journalists including Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher of Premium Times; Toun Okewale, MD/CEO of Women Radio; Ted Iwere, MD of SME Media and Mrs IbimSemenitari, Publisher of Business Eye.

While the expressing their views during the Twitter Chat the media experts agreed that the media had been facing challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they, however, noted that the pandemic had further deteriorated the work conditions of media practitioners and journalists across the country.

The professionals expressed concerns that the current economic situation might bring about Government negative influence on the activities of the media.

Responding during the chat, Ted Iwere explained that the complete absence of activities at the height of the COVID-19took a direct hit on the media. “With limited or complete absence of commercial activities in the private and public sectors, the media took a direct hit. It was struggling in the best of times. Things just got worse under COVID,” he said.

Also sharing her perspectives on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the media, TounOkewale- Sonaiya pointed out that a lot of media practitioner lost their means of livelihood as a result of the pandemic. A lot of our media colleagues lost their means of livelihood. Employers are struggling. Nigerian traditional media is sinking. Media is at the frontline of Covid-19 and needs help. Without the media, there’s no news. Let’s remember the media broke news on COVID19,” she said.

DapoOlorunyomi, while sharing his insights pointed out that the pandemic gave “law enforcement agencies discretion to abuse journalists and certainly it has tightened the screw in the ability of the media to generate revenue through events, circulation and advertising among other things.”

Mr. Olorunyomi, further emphasized the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the media, revealing that: “It has affected the capacity to do good storytelling because the access to sources are more problematic, it has raised human rights challenges especially with regards to the privacy rights of patients.”

While making recommendations, Mrs. Okewale suggested that the provision of basic social amenities like power supply and the good road will go a long way in reducing the impact of the pandemic. “The government should focus more in providing an enabling environment to allow for professionalism. This is what the media need” she said.

Mrs. Okewale added that bailouts in the form of a grant and soft loans were inevitable to help the media survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, Mr. Olorunyomi said: “it is a more elaborate conversation which cannot be easily summarised. It will include radical fiscal reforms, significant waivers on imports of machinery and tools, broadband access and creating an environment for innovation” to put the media back on the right track.

Zoe Titus, a participant from Southern Africa, tweeted that governments should routinely provide a conducive environment for media operations (public or private) saying: “let’s take a leaf from the Windhoek Declaration.”

However, a twist of opinions arose on the issue of government giving grants or other financial assistance to media organisations to ensure their survival or sustainability.

Bankole Adams, a participant noted that the move has the potential to birth ‘a tainted media that will pander to the paymaster’. “We already see the ugliness of the pandering in the media space. Why make it worse?”  he said.

Buttressing Bankole’s position, MrsMojirayoOgunlana-Nkanga said the move could lead to unnecessary influences and manipulation of the media suggesting rather that: “It’s better private media houses remain independent from government. And of course, we know politicians, especially the Nigerian kind.”.

Ted Iwere also agreed with the position, saying media houses are more likely to throw their independence into the bargain if they receive free money. He believes that it would result in the loss of editorial independence unless the concessionary funds are subject to standard credit conditions.

]]> 0 ________________________________________ Nigerian Breweries Donates Food Items to Oyo State NUJ to Cushion Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic Mon, 20 Jul 2020 03:33:56 +0000 ayo Adelaja, Corporate Affairs Manager, West Africa, Nigerian Breweries PLC

Mr. Tayo Adelaja, Corporate Affairs Manager, West Africa, Nigerian Breweries PLC

The Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc, has donated of some food items to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Chapter, to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on them. 

Presenting the items at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, the Corporate Affairs Manager, West Africa, Mr. Tayo Adelaja said the items were to support members of the union and pledged a better working partnership with the media.

The donations, made through the Community Support Programme of the company, included bags of rice, garri, packs of vegetable oil, packs of semolina, packs of noodles, packs of maltina products, washing soaps and hand sanitisers.

According to Adelaja, the visit was part of the Brewery’s efforts at reaching out to its immediate communities with a view to cushioning the economic effects of COVID-19, adding: “The whole world is challenged, of course, we know. We were very excited at the turn of 2020, which is the beginning of a new decade. There comes this world challenge. This pandemic is here.”

He further noted that one major consequence is that a lot of people have lost their jobs while for those, who have not even lost their jobs, some are not being paid when they should be paid and those who are being paid, are at best paid half salaries. He said a lot of things have gone wrong totally that no one knows how long it is going to take for everything to come back.

It is for the reason of the pandemic that the management of the Brewery decided to look at its immediate community and do the little it can do for them to have little impact as a business.

Mr. Adelaja added that the brewery did not bring the items to the NUJ because it read somewhere that its members were hungry, but it was just a little gesture, pledging the company’s readiness to support the programmes of the Union.

“There is no establishment that can actually exist without the media. We look forward to a synergy. We look forward to a very good working relationship with the NUJ. I can assure you that our relation will be strengthened much better than what revolves before now,” he said.

The chairman of the Chapter, AdemolaBabalola, received the items on behalf of the executive and commended the company for the gesture. He emphasized on the need for the company to ensure its presence was felt by the union through execution of projects at the press centre, adding: “I want to assure you on behalf of my colleagues across the state that in Oyo NUJ today are professionals, who know their onions and are ready to partner Nigerian Breweries to deliver on your mandate to the public.”

]]> 0 Journalist Kidnapped from his Residence by Unknown Armed Men Mon, 20 Jul 2020 02:39:46 +0000 Matthew Onwuasoanya, Anambra Newspapers and Publishing Corporation

Matthew Onwuasoanya, Anambra Newspapers and Publishing Corporation

Matthew Onwuasoanya, a lawyer and journalist with the Anambra Newspapers and Publishing Corporation (ANPC), publishers of National Light and Sports Light newspapers, was kidnapped by armed men dressed in security outfit at his residence in  Awka, Anambra State, in the early hours of May 30, 2020.

An eyewitness said the unidentified gunmen in security uniform who kidnapped the journalist at 2 am came in a white Hilux truck and a Highlander.

On 8 June, Mr. Oliver Onwuasoanya, Matthew’s brother lodged complaints at the Central Police Station in Awka and also with the Commissioner of Police and later reported to his employers that they have been searching for him after which the station said it commenced actions on the search for the journalist.

The Awba-Ofemili League of Professionals (ALeP) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, to intervene and help find the journalist.

He was released from detention on July 8, 2020, having been held incommunicado for over a month in detention

]]> 0 Publisher Goes into Hiding over Threat to his Life Mon, 20 Jul 2020 02:36:18 +0000 Mr. Cletus Opukeme, Publisher/Editor-in-chief, Daily Watch

Mr. Cletus Opukeme, Publisher/Editor-in-chief, Daily Watch

Mr Cletus Opukeme, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Watch has gone into hiding over alleged threats to his life for a news story he published that exposed fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) running into billions of naira. The issue is reported to have attracted the attention of the Senate and House of Representatives which set up various committees to probe the commission’s Interim Management Committee.

Cletus had earlier raised alarm claiming that there are clandestine moves by GodswillAkpabio, Minister of the Niger Delta, in connivance with men of the Nigerian Police Force and the Inspector General Police (IGP), to abduct him and do with him whatever they were instructed to do.

On May 26, 2020 at about 3.45pm local time, a detachment of Police detectives suspected to be from the Force Headquarters in Abuja raidedthe Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press centre on Gbiaye Street in Warri, Delta State and arrested Mr. Matthew Omonigho, who reports for the Daily Post Online.

Mr. EdekiEgafe, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); Mr. Francis Sadhere, Business Day; and Mr. Christopher Odomhe, a freelance journalist were also later arrested after they went to the Warri Area Command of the Nigeria Police to ascertain the reasons for the arrest of their colleague.

Following the arrest of Omonigho, the leadership of the NUJ in Warri had dispatched Edeki, Sadhere and Christopher to visit the Warri Area Command to ascertain the reason for Omonigho’s arrest. Rather than attend to their enquiries, the officers also detained the three journalists. Their mobile phone handsets were confiscated and searched by the operatives.

The detectives quizzed Matthew and the other the journalists about their links with a suspect, Mr. Cletus Opukeme whom they were searching for.

The Minister of the Niger Delta supervises the NDDC.

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