Experienced journalists across the Balkans are invited to apply for the fifth annual Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme.
This year’s topic is justice. Applicants are encouraged to consider the theme in broad terms and submit original story proposals exploring issues surrounding the delivery of and access to justice – in both legal and social contexts.
Click here for more information on the 2011 fellowship topic
Journalists selected – by an independent committee – to take part in the fellowship will receive a €2,000 bursary, up to another €2,000 for travel expenses and will attend career development seminars in Berlin and Vienna.
Completed articles will be published in English and local languages in regional and European online and print media.
In addition, the top three articles, again judged by an independent committee, will attract awards of €4,000, €3,000 and €1,000.
Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute and a member of the programme’s selection committee, described the fellowship as “a success story”.
“The programme offers a unique opportunity for detailed, in-depth reporting in your country and beyond. At the same time, if offers fellows the opportunity to meet colleagues and industry professionals from across Europe.
“Publication of the fellows’ articles in the most important media in the region and internationally is certainly clear proof that this project is a worthy venture – an opportunity that should not be missed,” he said.
The fellowship programme was established in order to develop and support Balkan journalists reporting on complex reform issues that have regional and EU significance.
To encourage regional networking among journalists and support balanced coverage of topics central to the Balkans and the EU, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE Foundation established the fellowship in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.
Justice: 2011 fellowship topic
The topic for this year’s programme is justice. Applicants are encouraged to consider the theme in broad terms and investigate issues surrounding access to and delivery of justice in both legal and social senses.
Applicants should explore issues surrounding justice in their country – in government, in business, within society, among interest groups, between individuals and within families – and draw parallels to the situation in neighbouring countries and the EU.
As Balkan states adjust to new economic and political realities, are all citizens equal before the law? Are all laws just? What of the impact on social justice issues such as access to education, equal opportunities and employment? Has the road to EU membership provided adequate protection for citizens at home and abroad?
With the establishment of international courts and tribunals, and the existence of myriad extradition agreements, jurisdictions now cross borders. While some may find it more difficult to dodge justice, do all criminals have fewer places to hide? Does the threat of international legal action deter the abuse of human rights by governments?
The transitional economies of the western Balkans have, in the main, developed systems, values and legal frameworks that are broadly in line with those in the EU. However, unequal access to justice, haphazard investigation, weak enforcement and corruption are everyday realities. The task for our 2011 fellows will be to pitch fresh story ideas which shed new light on regional and international justice.