[Regional] Fellowship 2017: Gender and Access to Information

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Gender is a key consensus issue in the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with gender sensitivity and gender mainstreaming being key values in the economic, political-security and socio-cultural community pillars that guide regional cooperation. ASEAN’s goal specifically is to work towards achieving “gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls”.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is one of only three international human rights treaties ratified by all countries in the region.

Although gender concerns cut across a multitude of issues, ASEAN cooperates specifically on issues such as human trafficking, science and technology, violence against women, social protection, entrepreneurship, and human rights. ASEAN’s two regional human rights bodies – the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) – have made violence against women a priority focus of their work to come up with a declaration and regional plan of action, respectively.

On the other hand, the right to access to (public) information is also a key element that helps drive equitable and sustainable development, including achieving gender development goals. Its importance both as an overriding principle and in actual practice that can help address gender issues intersecting various development concerns commonly felt in the different countries in the region.

For the 2017 Fellowship, SEAPA is inviting mid-career journalists to uncover gender issues that have an access to information back story, particularly those which are relevant to ASEAN concerns or community building. We are inviting applicants to propose stories that they can investigate in their respective or neighbouring countries relevant to this theme to contribute to the regional conversation by comparing perspectives between countries on gender issues in relation to access to information.

Some questions that can be answered by fellowship grant applications include:

  • Gender issues that are affected by access to information held by public bodies.
  • Information that can empower women or to achieve gender equality or mainstream gender issues and concerns in ASEAN
  • Information that can be exchanged at the regional level to promote gender equality and women empowerment.

The initial phase of the 2017 Fellowship will be the Regional Reporting Fellowship, which will give reporting grants of 2,000 USD to successful applicants to cover their expenses in order to produce in-depth reports. A program for applications for the second phase of this Fellowship through the Developing Media Fellowship will be announced in a few weeks.

Application eligibility:

  • Working journalists, or bloggers with at least five years’ experience in reporting for print, broadcast or online media, either as staff or freelancers. Applicants may demonstrate their eligibility for the fellowship by submitting at least two work samples – especially those related to the theme. Articles originally using a regional language are also accepted as samples, if an English translation or description is provided.
  • Applicants must be a citizen of one of the 11 countries in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
  • Encouraged to apply:
    • Women journalists.
    • Journalists working from outside the country capital, including those working in small or community media.

What to submit?

  1. Brief resume
  2. One strong recommendation letter from the applicant’s immediate work supervisor about the capability and commitment of the applicant.
  3. One written indication from a media house to support the applicant’s story proposal by publishing or airing the prospective output/s in their outlet.
  4. Two samples of in-depth reports recently published or aired in the past year. Older reports related to the topic may also be included. (Note: Sample stories in local languages need to be translated into English or a description provided.)
  5. Main application proposal:
    1. The story proposal should contain the following elements:
      1. An issue affecting women or gender issues
      2. involving the issue of access to information: practices, processes and challenges.
      3. relevant to the ASEAN region (the proposal should explain how the issue is relevant to other countries in Southeast Asia or the region as a whole)
    2. Please follow this outline for your story proposal:
      1. Proposed specific topic/title
      2. Abstract of the story (max. 300 words)
      3. Proposed story-plan methodology.
      4. Target output format.
    3. Motivation Essay (~300 words):
      1. Why did you join this fellowship?
      2. How do you think this Fellowship will help you as a journalist? (max 200 words)
      3. Please state the reasons why you think this story is important in the context of the issue/theme, the Southeast Asian region and your work as a journalist.

Note: Team reporting efforts are accepted, provided that the proposal identifies a lead reporter, who shall be accountable for the final output and presentation of the report. In such cases, there will be no adjustments to the Fellowship Grant.

Please submit requirements to seapa@seapa.org with subject line: 2017 Regional Reporting Fellowship. We encourage applicants to submit their story proposals early, and to review the proposal after submission. Changes to story proposals may be made before the submission deadline.

SEAPA may contact an applicant to hear a direct pitch for the story proposal to help an application qualify for selection. We will also notify applicants in case similar proposals are submitted in order to allow the applicant to revised her/his proposed story.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • Strength and relevance of the story proposal based on its relevance to the theme and its news value.
  • Viability of the proposal in terms of completion of the submission requirements (previous section), and work plan for the fellowship.
  • Competence based on the applicant’s experience, personal statement and recommendationsTwo independent experts will help SEAPA select the successful candidates after screening out those who meet the minimum criteria.

Deadline of proposal and above requirements submission: 15 October 2017 at 5 p.m. Bangkok time.

Regional Reporting Fellowship 2017

  1. Each successful Fellowship will be awarded a grant of 2,000 USD, with half to be paid upon acceptance and the other half, upon submission of the final reporting output.
  2. Fellows are required to attend a one-day Presentation and Debriefing session on 1 December (Tentative).
  3. Up to Six fellows will be selected by the SEAPA Secretariat based in Bangkok.

Fellowship Output

Deadline: 30 November 2017

Main story output can be in the format of the participant’s regular medium of reporting, i.e., any of the following:

  • One 2,000-word main article, plus an 800-word sidebar story, photo essay or videoclips; or,
  • A full audio (minimum of 15 minutes) or video production (minimum of 10 minutes) based on your regular medium of reporting; plus an 800-word written sidebar story, photo essay or videoclips.

In addition, fellows must also submit a supplementing story of:

  • One report (minimum of 600 words) on the Access to Information dynamics/issue underlying the main story. The story should explain the process and challenges of accessing information as a journalist and/or the people’s right to know, in the context of producing your main story.

Developing Media Fellowship

SEAPA will also announce a program on the same theme for a training-orientated Fellowship for journalists from Cambodia, Laos, and Timor Leste, as well as for Myanmar and Vietnam journalists working outside the capital and major cities. (Please watch this space for updates).