The fellowship theme for the year, titled “Documenting threats to the rivers of Southeast Asia: Looking through the journalist’s lens”, is to focus on the management of rivers and the impact of climate change and development on water resources as well as the communities living along the rivers.
SEAPA’s executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said the theme was chosen because it is relevant to the prevailing situation in the region, which has been hit by bouts of natural disasters in 2011. A report from the UN ESCAP estimated that more than 1,000 people had died and millions more lost their homes and livelihood due to the devastating floods that hit Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“Environmental issues are not only confined to a local community, as we have seen how the impact extends beyond the state boundaries. This is a relevant issue that should be explored by journalists in the region,” said Gayathry.
The fellowship is open to mid career journalists working in print, online or the broadcast media with at least five-year experience in journalism. Freelancers are also welcome to apply for the fellowship.
To date, SEAPA has hosted about 100 journalists in the region, who spent between three and four weeks in a second country to investigate their stories, which were based on the theme for the year. Topics covered by the fellows in the past have included migration, refugees and stateless children, religion, terrorism, human rights violations, ICT and the digital divide, and the free flow of information in the region.
“This is a very relevant program that provides a unique opportunity for journalists around the region to practice and sharpen their journalism skills in different social and cultural settings. At the end of the program, fellows will go home with better perspective of the region, ” said Gayathry.
Application forms and instructions are available on the SEAPA website at official website and the closing date is 31 March 2012. Successful candidates will be selected by a panel of judges and announced by 3rd May 2012, the global annual World Press Freedom Day.
The programme will start with a four-day orientation in Bangkok from 19-24 June 2012, following which the fellows will spend three weeks in the country of their choice to conduct their investigation. They will return to Bangkok on 14 July for a four-day de-briefing before leaving for their home country.
The fellowship will support all travel and stay costs as well as allowances during their field assignment.
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