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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for applications for its Berlin fellowship programme, “Empowering journalists in the digital field,” in which six journalists will be invited to attend a training programme on “digital self-defence” from May to October 2024. Deadline to apply: Monday 4 December 2023 at 23:59 (CET).

Reporters Without Borders Germany is calling for applications for its fellowship programme, “Empowering journalists in the digital field.” The deadline to apply is Monday 4 December 2023 at 23:59 (CET). Six journalists will be invited to Berlin for a period of six months from May 2024 until the end of October 2024. During their stay, the participating journalists will complete a comprehensive training programme on “digital self-defence” for journalists. The programme is funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises. 

What RSF offers 

  • RSF covers all travelling costs, local public transportation and health insurance costs.
  • RSF takes care of all visa-related matters.
  • RSF provides a free-of-charge apartment in Berlin for the duration of the fellowship.
  • RSF grants a monthly allowance of 1000 EUR a month.
  • RSF conducts a comprehensive training programme on digital security, taking about 20 to 25 hours per week. 
  • RSF also provides insights into its activities.

Topics of the training programme for digital self-defence 

  • Holistic security basics for journalists and other media workers;
  • Operational security including risk assessments and security planning;
  • Online identity management for investigative journalists, including technical background and practical use of anonymisation tools;
  • Secure online communication concepts, technology and tools, including secure online conferencing for interviews;
  • Password, account security and data protection on social media and other online accounts for media workers;
  • Device security for computers and mobile phones of journalists at risk;
  • Website security for media websites under attack; 
  • Online and offline data storage security including encryption for media files;
  • Online information verification and Open Source Intelligence; 
  • Information about digital violence — online gender-based violence, doxxing, impersonation, trolling. 

Who can apply 

  • Professional journalists, media workers, bloggers and non-professional journalists
  • Who are exposed to digital threats of any form;
  • Who experienced digital violence such as doxxing or impersonation; 
  • Who want to educate themselves about digital security in order to improve their personal security and the safety of their sources; 
  • Who are interested in passing on the knowledge acquired during the scholarship programme to colleagues in their home regions and, ideally, already have some experience in teaching or training;
  • Who are able and willing to fully participate in the programme. We expect the applicants to be available for all activities of the programme, including the comprehensive training for digital security. 
  • During the selection process, consideration will be given to applicants who work as investigative journalists on topics such as the climate crisis, corruption, labour rights or migration.

Fellowship requirements

  • Strong command of the English language (programme entirely conducted in English);
  • Adequate experience working as a journalist (including as a non-professional journalist);
  • Strong interest in cultivating in-depth knowledge about digital security for journalists. A high level of proficiency in regards to digital security is not required, and anyone who is used to working with a computer and smartphone can apply;
  • Able and willing to fully participate in all activities of the programme;
  • Willingness to return to one’s home region after the fellowship in Germany.

Application procedure