Vaclav Havel and Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship Programs
RFE/RL offers fellowship programs that provide mentoring and support for outstanding journalists dedicated to promoting human rights and democracy in our target regions.
- The Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship is available to aspiring, independent journalists in the European Union's Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.
- The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship is available to aspiring, independent journalists in the western Balkans.
Czech Foreign Ministry, RFE/RL Welcome 2017-2018 Journalism Fellows
On December 13, 2017, participants in the Václav Havel and Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowships were hosted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic to mark the official launch of the 2017-2018 program.
In a meeting at the Ministry’s Czernin Palace, David Červenka, Director of the Human Rights and Transition Policy Department, welcomed the fellows, declaring “the irreplaceable role of independent journalism in the protection of democracy and human rights worldwide.”
Joanna Levison, Director of Media and Public Affairs for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), affirmed the value of RFE/RL’s partnership with the Ministry, and the role of independent journalists in promoting pluralism and a free press.
The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship, launched in 2011, is guided by the late Czech leader’s belief in the transformational power of free speech, and provides support to journalists in the European Union's Eastern Partnership countries and Russia. The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship is inspired by Jiri Dienstbier Sr.’s contributions to the fields of journalism, foreign policy, and human rights, and is available to journalists from the western Balkans.
This year’s fellows are from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Russia and Ukraine. Fellows are placed with an appropriate language service at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters for six months, during which they develop the editorial awareness and journalistic skills that inform and enable a professional and independent press.
The programs are a joint initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and RFE/RL. The Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship enjoys the generous support of the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97.
About Fellowship Programs
Fellows are selected as a result of a highly competitive process. They are placed with an appropriate language service at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters to receive on-the-job training and mentoring, while working alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals. Programs equip Fellows with cutting-edge journalistic skills, and involve them in the daily editorial debates and discussions that inform a professional and independent press so that they may become standard-bearers of the profession and leaders in their communities, on-line, on air, and in the world.
The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship (VHJF) is a joint initiative of RFE/RL and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, generously supported by the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation Vize97. Launched in 2011, it is inspired by the late Czech leader’s belief in the transformational power of free speech, and builds on RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more open societies through journalism. More information about the Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship is available here.
Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites the VHJF in its 2017 Statement on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day
The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship (JDJF) is a joint program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and RFE/RL, funded by the Ministry. Launched in 2014, it is inspired by Jiri Dienstbier Sr.’s contributions to the fields of journalism, foreign policy, and human rights, and intended to further RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more just and open societies through journalism. More information about the Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship is available here.
Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites the JDJF in its 2017 Statement on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day
Fellowship Focus Map
Map of countries where the Václav Havel and Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowships are available.
- Blue: The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship
- Red: The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship
About Havel and Dienstbier
About Vaclav Havel
Václav Havel was the first post-revolutionary president of independent Czechoslovakia in 1989, and the first Czech president in 1993. He was also a renowned playwright, poet and essayist. Vaclav Havel's name is synonymous with peaceful resistance to authoritarianism and commitment to individual liberty and dignity.
About Jiri Dienstbier
While Havel is well-known internationally as the “philosopher king,” a former political prisoner who became president, there is another, less well-known figure in many of the iconic photographs of Havel from that time pictured with him, smiling warmly under a thick, tobacco-stained mustache.
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Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship Fellows
Natalia Kondrashova, Russian Federation, Moscow
Natalia Kondrashova has worked for a number of independent Russian media outlets. She was a news editor at the Republic, an online Russian forum on economics, and a senior news editor at RBC, one of the country’s largest online media, reporting on business, politics, and social life. Most recently, she was a news editor for the Russian independent channel Rain (Dozhd), reporting on domestic and regional politics, business, and culture. Kondrashova is currently completing a Bachelors degree at Moscow’s Lomonosov State University in public relations and business journalism. She is also studying Eastern European history, politics, and economics. She speaks Russian and English.
Raman Pratasevich, Belarus, Minsk
Raman Protasevich is a journalist from Belarus specializing in new platforms and reaching young audiences. He has worked for some of Belarus’s most popular news media and social networks. He has live-streamed mass protests in Belarus that were otherwise not reported by the country’s tightly controlled media, and has created his own podcast about political life and social problems. He also worked as a freelance journalist and photographer covering the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern regions. Protasevich speaks Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, and English. At this moment Raman is a student at the Institute of Journalism of the Belarusian State University.
Glib Zhavoronkov, Ukraine, Odessa
Glib Zhavoronkov reports on corruption and societal and political issues in Ukraine. He draws on a background in civil society activism and video production to publish across media platforms, using a documentary style. He has produced video reports and live TV shows for Ukraine’s independent Hromadske TV affiliate in Odessa, produced explainer videos and anti-corruption reports for NGOs, and has hosted an entertaining political video blog. Zhavoronkov studied International Relations at Odessa National University and speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and English.
Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship Fellows
Una Čilić, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
Una Čilić is a freelance journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her work focuses on digital media development and convergence, verification of user-generated content, eyewitness media, and human rights issues with a focus on the Roma minority. Čilić is a co-founder of a web-based, educational video game called FactChecker, for which she and her team won funding during a Hackathon for western Balkans countries. The game is currently in development and will be used as a tool for broad audiences to learn how to debunk and verify fake content online. Čilić is a regular contributor to online media outlets such as Euronews, Diskriminacija, and MC Online, and has worked as an editor's assistant and project assistant for Media Center Sarajevo, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Kosovo 2.0, The Local/Sweden, and other outlets. She has a Bachelors in Journalism and a Masters in Political Science with a focus on European integration from the Faculty of Political Science in Sarajevo, and holds an MSc in Media and Communication from Lund University, Sweden. Čilić recently published her thesis research on the use of satirical user-generated content in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a means of promoting civic engagement. She speaks Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian and English.
Nektar Zogjani, Kosovo, Prishtina
Over the past five years, Nektar Zogjani has worked as a journalist reporting mainly on political developments in Kosovo. Prior to joining the Insajderi news portal in 2015, a new but rapidly growing media outlet in Kosovo, he was a correspondent for the regional media outlet Balkan Insight, and contributed to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). He recently was engaged as a co-author of a research report on employment in Kosovo and the effects of privatization on workers. He has also authored analyses and feature stories, focusing mainly on internal political issues, for local and regional media. In 2014, a report to which he contributed received the First Prize for Investigative Journalism on Poverty by the United Nations Kosovo Team. Zogjani has a Bachelors in Political Science from Pristina University and is completing studies in Journalism at the AAB College in Pristina. He speaks Albanian and English.
Mahmud Musalı, Azerbaijan, Baku
Mahmud Musalı has worked as a freelancer and editor for Azerbaijani media since 2013. During his study in Turkey, through social media, he reported on events in Ankara and Istanbul related to the 2013 Gezi Protests in Turkey. As an editor and writer, he worked for an independent platform "Pahoo.az" in Baku focusing mostly on culture, technology, and entertainment.