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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 2023 Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship

Fellowship term: January 4, 2023 – July 31, 2023
Deadline for applications: Friday, June 3, 2022

RFE/RL is pleased to accept applications for the 2023 Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship. The purpose of the Fellowship is to help aspiring journalists from the Western Balkans pursue their profession in support of media pluralism and independence. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and RFE/RL that is inspired by Jiří Dienstbier Sr.’s contributions to journalism, foreign policy, and human rights. It aims to further RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more just and open societies through journalism.


The Fellowship is a seven-month program. Fellows will spend six months at RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague, where they will be placed with the Balkan Service to receive daily, on-the-job training and mentoring while working alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals. After Prague, Fellows will return to the bureau for the final month.

A monthly stipend at the bureau and in Prague, housing, health insurance, and travel arrangements to and from Prague shall be provided.

The main components of the program are:

  1. Professional mentoring alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals.
  2. Training and development of journalistic skills on traditional, multi-media, and digital platforms.
  3. Participation in the daily editorial discussions that inform a professional and independent press.
  4. Independent work on a personal project.
  5. Understanding of the mission and practice of a professional, free, and independent media.

The Fellowship also features workshops on journalistic practices and tools, discussions with government officials, civic leaders and regional analysts; visits to local media and news agencies in Prague; and professional development opportunities in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.

Fellows will be expected to represent themselves and the Fellowship, in English, at public events and in discussions relating to media freedom in their country.

The Fellowship accepts applications from journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Application Instructions

Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. Eligible applicants will be from one of the five target countries; have a minimum of two years’ experience working as a journalist in their native language; be committed to working as a journalist in, or for audiences in, their home country; share RFE/RL´s mission; and be proficient in English.

A complete application includes the following materials:

  • Personal statement
  • 3 Work samples
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae, including current contact information
  • Letter to Jiří Dienstbier Sr.

In addition, please let us know how you learned about the Fellowship (e.g., RFE/RL’s website, Facebook, a professional or academic reference, etc.).

Application materials must be submitted in English.

Candidates may be contacted and asked to participate in a telephone, online or in-person interview as part of the application process.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a very important part of your application, and will be closely read and considered in the selection process. It should be written in English and not exceed 750 words. In your personal statement, please address your journalistic experience, including your reasons for pursuing journalism; the values and convictions that guide your work; experiences that have influenced your journalism; and what you hope to accomplish as a journalist. In addition, please explain your reasons for applying for the Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship and what you hope to gain from it. You are also encouraged to briefly describe your idea for a personal project, which will be completed during the Fellowship.

Work Samples

Please attach 3 work samples, on any platform, demonstrating your best professional work. Two of the samples must have been published within the year of the Fellowship deadline. All samples must include a date and, if not in English, they must be accompanied by an English translation. In the case of video submissions, an English-language summary is sufficient. If translations are not your own, please state so.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required with your application. One of your letters should be from a current supervisor or colleague who practices journalism and knows you professionally. The writers should explain their relationship to you and describe your qualifications, potential for professional growth and development, and reasons that make you an excellent candidate for the Fellowship. Letters must be submitted in English.

Curriculum Vitae

Please attach your updated curriculum vitae. This shall include your name, email address, social media profile, phone number, present address and permanent address; a detailed work history since completing your formal education; and educational background. Please also list any noteworthy distinctions or awards, and current or recent memberships in professional, political, or other groups. Please also state if you have received any type of certification (and at what level) of English language proficiency.

Letter to Jiří Dienstbier, Sr.

Jiří Dienstbier Sr. is credited with being an exemplar of the commitment to human rights that informs Czech foreign policy around the world. In 300 words, please describe a lesson or contribution your country could offer to the world based on its experiences over the last several decades.

Privacy Notice for RFE/RL Fellows

Fellowship at RFE/RL is contingent upon the successful completion of a background security investigation/check performed after the acceptance of RFE/RL´s offer letter. More details and information about the collection and processing of your personal data will be provided to you together with the fellowship agreement.

NOTE: The Fellowship will take place in accordance with all Coronavirus-related measures both in the Czech Republic and applicants’ countries, and is therefore subject to change.



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​About Jiri Dienstbier

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