Open Call: Third Cycle of the Digital Rights Programme for Journalists

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Journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo are invited to apply for the third edition of BIRN’s Digital Rights Programme, which seeks to analyse threats to digital rights and freedoms and to document, explore and communicate to the wider public the abuses of digital tools to undermine democracy and human rights.

Illustration: BIRN/Igor Vujcic

BIRN is looking for people who want to create engaging and informative content focusing on technology and the opportunities and challenges it poses to democracy and human rights, in particular:

  • Freedom of expression,
  • COVID-related tech regulations,
  • Content blocking and removal,
  • Artificial intelligence, machine-learning and algorithmic decision-making processes,
  • Transparency of processes of digital transformation in the region,
  • Hate speech and discrimination in the digital environment,
  • Gender issues,
  • LGBTI+ issues,
  • Digital security and phishing campaigns,
  • Privacy and data protection,
  • Surveillance practices,
  • Accountability of the major internet platforms and online safety of users,
  • Information security,
  • Disinformation and misinformation,
  • 5G technology in the region,
  • Cryptocurrencies/blockchain,
  • Social media bots and troll farms.

BIRN offers a comprehensive six-month programme for all accepted applications, which includes:

  • Financial support ($1,325 gross),
  • Regular networking opportunities,
  • Meetings with relevant stakeholders dealing with digital transformation challenges and freedom of expression,
  • On-the-job mentoring and editorial sessions to produce high-quality journalism and educational sessions focused on digital security for media.

Support is available for professional freelance or staff journalists to cover local, national and cross-border topics. The stories produced under the programme will be published by Balkan Insight and by prominent European, regional and international media outlets.

Click here to apply for the programme.

The call is open until October 31, 2022.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to all journalists who believe they have a good story concerning the health of the digital ecosystem in the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo . We also welcome applications from staff reporters from local and national media who wish to co-publish the story with us.

Formal applicants can be:

  • Individual journalists (working as part of newsroom structures or as freelancers),
  • Teams (eg. reporter, producer, photographer, video editor) with a designated team leader as the contract signatory.

BIRN is committed to gender diversity and freedom from prejudice on any grounds.

Story requirements

  • The story must focus on at least one of the topics listed above,
  • It must be relevant and current to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo ,
  • Stories that cover more than one country will be given an advantage,
  • Only in-depth, investigative stories will be taken into account,
  • Each story should be around 2,000 words long,
  • Each selected story must be published within six months of receipt of the first instalment.

How to apply?

Fill out the application form and follow the instructions.

Attach the signed declaration document.

Evaluation and selection:

Step I: Technical evaluation will be carried out by BIRN staff to ensure the applicants have followed application procedures and submitted all the required documents.

Step II: Evaluation will be carried out by the editorial board to select applicants based on the evaluation criteria, including:

  • Quality of the proposed idea,
  • Feasibility of the proposed plan,
  • Ability to reach the general public,
  • Relevance of the proposed idea.

Step III: Notification of applicants.

For additional information, please contact [email protected]

The Digital Rights Programme for Journalists is made possible through support from the UN Democracy Fund, Internews and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.