Applications for the UK Government’s new Chevening Africa Media Freedom Fellowship open 3 September 2020

Applications for the UK Government’s new Chevening Africa Media Freedom Fellowship open 3 September 2020

Applications for the Chevening Africa Media Freedom Fellowship to study in the UK are open between 3 September and 3 November 2020, 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 September to October/November 2021 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.

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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.

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.

Chevening Fellowships are offered to mid-career professionals who have reached a position of influence and want to increase their knowledge, networks, and potential through tailored short courses, research, or professional placements at UK institutions.

Chevening 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.

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.

Head of Scholarships at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Naomi Rayner, 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.

‘Since the programme started in 1983, many of those selected have gone on to become respected leaders across a range of sectors. Being a part of the Chevening network instils a strong sense of pride and responsibility, I have seen this first hand and am consistently impressed by the passion and commitment of the scholars and alumni I meet.’

 ‘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.’

Chevening’s Head of Programme Management, Louise Thomson, said:

‘Chevening doesn’t just open doors, it opens your mind. You will learn so much simply by interacting with people from all over the world, travelling around the UK in your spare time, and getting involved in the communities you live in. Those who get the most out of the experience are the ones who put the most into it.

‘With so much to learn and achieve, your time in the UK goes by faster than you can imagine. But your time in the UK is only the beginning of a life-long journey as a part of an international community of changemakers. Our hope is that you will leave the UK inspired, motivated, and better equipped to bring your own ideas to life.’

British High Commissioner to Uganda, Peter West said:

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

‘Our alumni network is full of dynamic influencers who have shared the same experience that you will. They can offer encouragement, mentorship, advice, and contacts. When you return home after your studies you should feel well-equipped to start making a real difference professionally or socially.

‘There is a lot to potentially gain from submitting a thoughtful application, so if you have what it takes to be a Chevening Fellow, I would encourage you to apply before the 9 December deadline.’

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