Theme: Gearing up for a Community in 2015: How Free is the Flow of Information in ASEAN?
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is now accepting applications to its 2011 Journalism Fellowship Programme.
The Programme is open to nationals of Southeast Asian countries who are interested in exploring and producing in-depth stories on cross-border or regional issues on the theme, ‘Gearing up for a Community in 2015: How Free is the Flow of Information in ASEAN?’
Now on its 10th year, SEAPA’s Fellowship Programme has provided journalists in the region the opportunity to learn as much about Southeast Asia and spend up to four weeks in a second country to investigate and write about subjects relevant to the region.
Since 2002, the Programme has had 80 fellows who have produced dozens of stories on a wide range of subjects including migration, disasters, refugees and stateless children, religion, terrorism, human rights, ICT and many more.f
For 2011, the Fellowship attempts to take a closer and analytical look at ASEAN’s plans for integration, in particular policies and regulations aimed at facilitating the free flow of information. To date, only two countries in the region – Thailand and Indonesia – have laws on access to information at the national level, but the media and the public have yet to fully benefit from these laws.
ASEAN is working towards becoming a community of close to 600 million people starting in 2015. The governments in the region are committed to establishing a rules-based community that is people-oriented and to building a common economic market.
The free flow of goods and services is envisioned under a common or single market in ASEAN. A free and open investment regime is also a goal.
What about the flow of information? Under the so-called ASEAN Road Map, member-states are encouraged to develop an institutional framework to facilitate free flow of information. But how serious are governments in wanting to promote freedom of information? How much information is accessible to the public?
While government officials and private sector leaders from the region are making plans towards an integrated community, most of the citizens of the 10-member regional bloc are largely unaware of these plans, much less of what ASEAN is all about.
As ASEAN gears toward building a community, it is imperative for people in the region to know, appreciate and familiarize themselves with regional interests and concerns, with the realities that are the source of both opportunities and challenges.
Beyond stories on border disputes, exploited undocumented workers, environmental degradation, human trafficking and other issues that have been written about and published, there is still a lot more of relevant cases to investigate, leads to follow, information to dig up, government records to unearth and timely stories to develop about ASEAN.
SEAPA is inviting Southeast Asian journalists to submit story proposals on any topic around the planned integration, especially the little known but equally important aspects of it. Applicants are encouraged to read up on recent developments in ASEAN, in particular the so-called road map for the ASEAN community, to help them contextualise story ideas and explore and frame questions for their proposals, such as:
. In a community, what are the mechanisms that will handle bilateral problems?
. Who gains and who benefits from a single market and production?
. What does the free flow of information mean in the context of a community?
. How can ASEAN prevent and/or address border disputes?
. How will the community deal with transnational crime like trafficking of persons and terrorism?
. Can integration lead to better access to information in individual ASEAN countries?
Who can apply?
Journalist nationals of Southeast Asian countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and East Timor) with at least five years of experience in writing for print, broadcast or online media, either as staff or freelance writers.
Applicants should have some background or experience writing in-depth stories on social, political or economic issues in their countries.
. An essay in English of no more than 600 words introducing himself/herself and explaining the story proposal and how he/she will be carrying out research on the subject
. Brief resume with emphasis on current job
. Two samples of work published in 2010
. Two reference letters, one from the applicant’s immediate superior or editor.
. Filled-up application form
Deadline for the submission of applications is April 22, 2011. Only those selected will be contacted.
The Fellowship Programme is divided into three parts: 1) three-day Orientation, 2) three-week Fieldwork in a second country, 3) three-day de-briefing and editorial meeting
SEAPA will cover travel, accommodations, food and all other expenses incurred throughout the entire Programme.
Dates and Venue: The Fellowship will run from June 13 to July 15, 2011. The Orientation and De-briefing will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Output: Fellows are required to submit a draft of an in-depth story or feature article on the chosen topic at the end of the programme in mid-July.