As concern has grown about the rise of misinformation, governments and regulators in many countries around the world have started clamping down on freedom of expression – online and in the media – introducing new “anti-fake news laws” and regulations. And in Africa, a survey earlier this year found public support for media freedom is in sharp decline across the continent, with the media seen by many as often promoting false information and violating public trust.

Over eight weeks from mid-May to mid-July 2020, the University of Westminster will host a residential course at its London campus for leading African journalists, media regulators, public information specialists and defenders of media freedom to debate the proper boundaries of media standards, trust and freedom.

Applications are being sought from 11 African countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“This fellowship aims to promote a vigorous exchange of ideas, sharing of experience and constructive learning to help answer the questions of what are the proper mechanisms and boundaries of standards, trust and freedom,” course co-director Peter Cunliffe-Jones said.

Applications for the Chevening African Media Freedom Fellowship (CAMFF) opened on 16 October and will close on 9 December 2019. The programme is aimed at

  • Prominent journalists – leading voices in the media sector
  • Senior staff at media regulators (press councils etc)
  • Senior staff at statistics agencies responsible for releasing reliable information
  • Senior figures in media freedom watchdogs, covering the countries concerned

The course will be led by Dr. Winston Mano, a leading academic expert on communications in Africa and director of the University’s Africa Media Centre, and Peter Cunliffe-Jones, who in 2012 founded Africa Check, the continent’s leading independent fact-checking organization.

Candidates interested in the programme may apply before 9 December via: