Reporting Right Livelihood
A journalism grant scheme to promote impartial and high-quality reporting on the work of 'Alternative Nobel' Laureates
With shrinking media budgets around the world, many newsworthy stories on real solutions to global challenges are often missing out on being reported. More than 160 Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, provide fertile ground for such stories. In 2017, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation has launched a small grant scheme to support impartial and high-quality reporting on the work of ‘Alternative Nobel’ Laureates and, in doing so, put the spotlight on the issues that matter.
A total of eight small grants for journalists is being disbursed in 2017. The grants cover reasonable travel, accommodation and communication costs related to the selected story, as well as a modest honorarium. All successful applicants were requested to sign a grant agreement prior to disbursement of funds and provide adequate justification for the costs incurred upon the completion of the assignment. Should reporting not take place for reasons other than force majeure, the Foundation reserves the right to revoke the funding.
Use of materials
The journalists retain full editorial control and copyright of the story; the Right Livelihood Award Foundation reserves the right to use all associated materials (photo, video and copy) free of charge in its own communications.
The grantees of the inaugural Reporting Right Livelihood journalism programme were selected from among 93 applicants from 48 countries.
Ms Aissatou Barry is a young journalist from Guinea who studied the topic in Kountia’s Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication. She works for Guinea’s Fondation Hirondelle as a deputy editor-in-chief.
Aissatou was granteed €4,800 to produce a multimedia report on fighting impunity in Chad, Senegal and Burkina Faso, linked to the work of Laureate Jacqueline Moudeina.
“En tant que Guinéenne, je suis personnellement marquée par l’engagement de Jacqueline Moudeina, l’avocate tchadienne contre l’impunité en Afrique. Les questions liées à l’impunité sont un sujet mal couvert par les médias africains. Les moyens de mener les investigations nécessaires manquent, sans parler des menaces qui pèsent sur tout journaliste qui aborde ces questions considérées comme des sujets sensibles. Contribuer à la promotion des actions des lauréats du “Prix Nobel alternatif” permet de susciter d’autres vocations et un plus grand engagement des Africains pour la défense et le respect des droits de l’homme.”
Mr Bikash Kumar Bhattacharya is a freelance journalist and researcher based in Assam, northeastern India. He has covered environment, conservation, religious and ethnic revivalisms, and politics stories. His broad interest lies in environmental humanities and anthropology, having been published in Mongabay.com, Eurasia Review, The Assam Tribune, Scroll.in, The Telegraph, Down To Earth (blog), Eclectic Northeast, businessnortheast.com, or youthkiawaaz.com. He was previously awarded a fellowship from the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research for an ethnographic study of Mishing water knowledge in Assam. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Tezpur University, Assam.
Bikash was granted €4,500 to report on Indonesia’s logging sector corruption, an issue constantly raised by late Laureate Munir Said Thalib.
“The Right Livelihood Award is not only deep-rooted in human values, it has also successfully moved beyond the clichéd anthropocentrism by recognizing works dedicated towards protecting the environment. The Reporting Right Livelihood media grant scheme is a golden opportunity for a journalist to cover issues related to the visionary works of Right Livelihood Award Laureates who strive for a better future.”
Ms Fabiola Ortiz is a Luso-Brazilian independent journalist dedicated to reporting on development and human rights. Formerly based in Brazil, Chile, USA and Denmark, she has travelled throughout the Americas, Africa and the Middle East on assignments for Inter Press Service (IPS), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Equal Times, BBC Brasil, News Deeply, LUSA – Portuguese News Agency, and SciDev.net. Her reports were also featured in The Guardian and Folha de São Paulo. Fabiola is currently pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Master in Journalism for Media and Globalization, and is a Fellow at Dag Hammarskjöld UN Fund for Journalists (2015).
Fabiola was granteed €5,000 to provide a multimedia report on how Brazilian martial art Capoeira became a powerful tool to promote peace among men, women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, linked to the work of Dr Denis Mukwege.
“As an independent journalist dedicated to covering human rights and development, the journalism grant is a unique opportunity to be able to successfully accomplish a reporting project: how Brazilian martial art Capoeira can help empower women, boys and girls affected by the ongoing conflicts and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Dr. Mukwege works.”
Mervis Ipheoma Elebe
Ms Mervis Elebe is a Nigerian-based journalist with particular interests in maternal and youth health issues, including state of cancer care in Africa, stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS, infertility, female genital mutilation (FGM), etc. In 2009, her story on ending harmful sexual health practices went viral in Nigeria, showing how these issues transcend culture and tribal affiliation and threaten to tear the nation apart.
Mervis will share with Mr Ray Mwareya (Zimbabwe) a grant of €5,000 to report on the current situation with maternal health in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, linked to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s work on eliminating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.
“I have been interested in writing on women suffering from obstetric fistula; the grant scheme affords me the opportunity to shine the spotlight on Dr. Catherine Hamlin and the wonderful work she has done in Ethiopia with a view to inspiring well-meaning individuals to set up such initiatives in other African countries.”
Ray Mwareya is a journalist who covered climate change, rural women gender rights, access to health, grassroots agriculture, fair trade and public health quality in Germany, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. He was published in The New York Times, Daily Mail, Equal Times Magazine, London Guardian, amongst others. He founded Women Taboos Radio and was the 2016 winner of the UN Correspondents Media Award.
Ray will share with Ms Mervis Elebe (Nigeria) a grant of €5,000 to report on the current situation with maternal health in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, linked to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s work on eliminating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.
“Zimbabwe has Africa’s highest teenage fertility rates. Obstetric fistula is an under-reported story because today most of healthcare aid money in African countries like Zimbabwe is directed mainly at the fight against Ebola, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Obstetric fistula condition and its sufferers are hidden by unscientific myths so the media and society shuns them.”
At the age of 20, Philipp Lichterbeck moved from his native Germany to the United States to volunteer for a farm labour union. After completing his studies in Berlin (Germany), Valencia (Spain) and Tijuana (Mexico), he began working as a journalist, reporting from different countries on a variety of topics: Taiwanese ballet, the Mexican drug war, exorcism in Romania, the strong women of Rwanda, survival in Port-au-Prince, and a North Korean border town. Philipp’s stories appear in German, Swiss and Austrian newspapers. He has also written travel guides and published a book about the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In 2012, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Philipp was granteed €1,500 to report on the ’slow genocide’ of a little known Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous group in Brazil, linked to Laureate Survival International‘s work.
“The journalism grant is a wonderful opportunity to research an important and little known topic: the struggle for survival of the Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous group in southwestern Brazil. The Guarani-Kaiowa’s existence is threatened by the aggressive expansion of big landowners, especially those in the soybean industry. Some call it a ‘genocide in slow motion’.”
Armed with a bachelor in Fine Arts “Mural Painting”, Mr Roger Anis is a Cairo-based photojournalist. He covered the political unrest that Egypt has been experiencing since January 2011, and worked on different documentary photo projects mostly focusing on social issues such as women & sexual harassment, tourism crisis, street kids, or Copts situation in Egypt. His works appears in different media organizations like Shorouk news, AP, ON Agency, or Mada Masr. Having been chosen to participate in the Reporting Change Project with world Press Photo 2012-2014, Roger also won the Reuters Microsoft Photo Award in 2014, before graduating in Photojournalism at the Danish School of Media & Journalism. He participates in exhibitions in Egypt and beyond.
Roger was granteed €4,000 to produce a photo report on Egypt’s current housing crisis, linked to the legacy of Right Livelihood Award’s inaugural Laureate Hassan Fathy.
“Every time I roam the city and look around me I find nothing but ugliness, red bricks, blocks of cement without any planning nothing green, nothing relative to our environment. The incident of the leaning building in Alexandria was an illustration of the disaster we are living in and the bigger disaster that awaits us regarding the housing crisis. Reading about Hassan Fathy made me eager to know more about his ideology and architecture, and knowing that he was the first laureate of the Right Livelihood Award made me feel proud as an Egyptian but also eager to learn more.”
Zofeen T. Ebrahim is an independent journalist and currently the Pakistan editor for The Third Pole promoting discussion about the Himalayan watershed and the rivers that originate there. She has written extensively on reproductive health, minority rights, labour rights and how these issues impact communities. She contributes regularly to national English dailies like The Dawn (she worked there from 1994-2001) and The News as well as international media including the Inter Press Service, The Guardian and The Third Pole. Her work has been commended nationally as well as internationally.
Having applied for a grant of US $57 to cover fuel costs, Zofeen was made a discretionary allocation of €200 to report on modern day slavery, linked to the work of Laureate Asma Jahangir.
“I often apply for writing fellowships but this was different. In my small way I want to tell people that there is an invisible but a substantial workforce that needs to be reckoned and recognised and even honoured.”
The Steering Committee includes Right Livelihood Award Laureates, as well as senior journalism and media capacity building experts. The Steering Committee’s decision is final.
Adelheid Feilcke is Head of European Programme Directorate at German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). She joined DW in 1992 and became the founding head of the Albanian Service. She has worked as a trainer for DW Akademie since 1995. She has been involved in media since 1981, including working as a freelance journalist and cultural manager for national radio station WDR. She studied cultural anthropology and cultural management. During her studies, she worked for the State Music Council of Schleswig-Holstein. She is based in Bonn where the DW Global Media Forum is held annually.
Romaine Jean is a producer at the Swiss public broadcaster Radio Television Suisse (RTS) and President of Fondation Hirondelle, which supports fact-based and independent journalism in conflict and crisis zones around the world. After studying political science at the University of Geneva, she started her professional career at the Swiss national news agency ATS in 1980 before joining RTS. She was presenter of the main television news programme in French from 1996 to 2003 and held several senior management roles since then.
Jo Weir has worked for 25 years with Thomson Reuters Foundation leading media capacity building and award schemes. She has been involved in the training of over 13,000 journalists, travelling to 78 countries — from Albania to Zimbabwe with everywhere from North Korea, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Uzbekistan in between. Jo is also a consultant at Chime For Change, a journalism platform that focuses on helping women and girls speak for themselves. She is based in London.
Martin Schibbye is Editor-in-Chief of Blank Spot Project, with Stockholm as his base and the world as his work place. As a freelancer he has mainly focused on reporting from South and Southeast Asia, using his feet more than Google. During a mission to Ethiopia in 2011, he was arrested and spent 438 days in jail – for doing his job. After being freed, he received the Swedish Publicists’ Association´s Award in Memory of Anna Politkovskaya, The Ludvig Nordstrom Prize and Reporters Without Borders’ Prize for Press Freedom.
Özgür Mumcu is a columnist with the leading independent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, which received the 2016 Right Livelihood Award for their fearless investigative reporting. He graduated from Galatasaray University Faculty of Law in 1996, and received a doctorate in International Law and International Organizations from Sorbonne University in 2003. He also works as a researcher at Galatasaray University in Istanbul and is a member of the executive board of Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation.
Applicants can be print, online, photo and broadcast journalists (staff or freelance), or journalism students in their final year of studies. Applicants can be based anywhere in the world, however they must produce the report in one of the following languages: Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish or Turkish.
All applicants must complete the application form for consideration by the Steering Committee with an indication of the story angle, the Right Livelihood Laureate(s) to be featured, the media outlet(s) approached for publication, and the indicative budget.