Brussels, 23 February 2020 – Six Fellows from Maldives have been selected for the fourth round of Media4Democracy’s Fellowship programme that aims to empower future leaders of institutions that underpin media pluralism where the election of the Maldivian Democratic Party in 2019 has provided an opportunity for media reform after decades of authoritarian control.
The selected Fellows will spend three weeks in Denmark in June 2020 based at the Danish Union of Journalists, receiving intensive training and coaching from Media4Democracy senior experts Mogens Blicher Bjerregård and Henrik Ahrens. The Fellows will also meet local experts, journalists, and media industry leaders as part of an experiential learning process aimed at improving their leadership, communication and advocacy skills and increasing their understanding of the role and function of strong media institutions. They will also be supported to develop individual project ideas to implement on their return to Maldives, with ongoing coaching provided by the experts for a further four months.
In January, Mr. Bjerregård and Mr. Ahrens conducted a rapid assessment in Maldives to identify the key challenges and opportunities for media institutions that the Fellows can focus on in their work, such as driving journalists’ use of the Right to Information Act, and leading advocacy efforts for reform of the media self-regulation system. During their mission the experts met 16 candidates for the Fellowship programme and reviewed their project proposals. Nicolas Gerrard of the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives joined the experts in meetings with some Fellows. With Media4Democracy inputs the EU Delegation selected the following six Fellows:
According to Mr. Bjerregård, ‘The selected young leaders have the energy and optimism to implement some exciting initiatives to strengthen dialogue and build capacity across the media sector. It’s an important moment in Maldives to take advantage of the opening up of opportunities for media and freedom of expression and the Fellows and their organisations have a critical role to play in the process.’
The core Fellowship curriculum has been developed over the course of previous programmes with EU Delegations to Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kyrgyz Republic and will be further refined to specific needs of these Fellows and their priorities.