Call for Applications: From Personal Security to Surveillance Capitalism – Training Programme

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BIRN invites journalists, Civil Society Organisation (CSO) representatives, legal professionals and IT experts with an interest in the issues where media and technology intersect to apply for a five-day digital rights capacity-building programme. Applications are welcomed from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.


Over the last decade, journalistic techniques have evolved alongside new developments that require professional and accurate coverage. Meanwhile, disinformation and propaganda proliferate online. Rapid technological change needs professional journalism to respond to these emerging challenges without sacrificing ethics or standards. 

Journalists and media outlets in the region often lack the capacity to cope with the challenges of these new technologies, particularly at the local level. However this is not only a problem for the media: cross-sectional responses are often required. 

With this specific capacity-building programme, based on real-world journalistic workflows, BIRN strives to provide assistance, training and resources to media outlets and civil society groups in the region, in order to boost their capabilities for dealing with complex tech-driven challenges in their working lives.

Our capacity-building programme focuses on two main areas:

  • personal digital security of journalists and NGO workers in the field
  • the political aspect of surveillance capitalism, as seen from the point of view of media and NGO workers.

The programme aims to empower participants to defend themselves against surveillance capitalism and understand power relations between the public and private sphere.

The programme focuses on personal privacy protection and document handling, reporting on issues around surveillance capitalism and finally digital activism and lobbying for policy change. Our wrap-up sessions encourage debate and networking, so that participants can develop relationships and establish connections with media and NGO sector workers, and  ultimately benefit from these synergies to cover surveillance capitalism with a broad perspective. 

The programme is led by Državljan D (Citizen D), an NGO built on the foundational principle of inclusive promotion of human and digital rights. Državljan D is highly experienced in digital security training for local and regional journalists as well as giving insights into digital privacy and security issues: from state to corporate surveillance and secure data handling, to app and device usage. In addition, they provide help and guidance to citizens and journalists looking to improve their digital skills and habits, thereby securing their digital privacy and strengthening their digital security. For more information, see here.

Topics we plan to explore: 

(1st and 2nd of April): Personal digital security: aiming to explain the issues of surveillance capitalism that impact on our privacy and security, to offer effective ways to combat it, and to facilitate hands-on exercises that participants can replicate in their own environments.

(3rd and 4th of April): Reporting on surveillance capitalism: focusing on developing effective media reporting skills when tackling surveillance capitalism issues, from both theoretical and practical points of view, while referencing media reports from the region.

(5th of April): Digital activism: addressing digital policy development, the role and practices of digital activists, including examples from the region and real-world strategies.

Who can apply?

Local journalists, CSO representatives, legal professionals and IT experts interested in media. We welcome anyone who wants to improve their digital skills and habits, protect their digital privacy, and upgrade their digital security, regardless of whether they have extensive knowledge of the area, or merely the enthusiasm to know more. Our applicants are those people who want to get informed, learn methods for safely and confidently reporting on these topics to audiences and communities, and to ultimately use this knowledge to advocate for better solutions.

How to apply?

Applicants should complete and submit the application form attached to this CfA. All applications should be submitted in English to [email protected], along with a CV.

DATE OF TRAINING: April 1st – April 5th, 2022


LANGUAGE: The training sessions will be conducted in English, with simultaneous translation into local languages also provided.

DEADLINE: March 15th, midnight, Central European Time

Download the Application Form.