The Scholarship

Reporters Without Borders Germany offers journalists from war zones and crisis areas the opportunity to take a break in Berlin for four months and complete a training program in digital security.

The program is funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises and supported by the secure email service ProtonMail.

It aims to provide participants with practical knowledge and skills to protect themselves against digital threats such as surveillance or hacker attacks in their journalistic activities. In a second phase, participants prepare their own project through which they can pass on their newly acquired knowledge to colleagues in their home countries. In this way, journalists outside the scholarship program can also benefit from the digital security skills taught in the program.

In 2020, a total of eight scholarships will be awarded to journalists from war zones and crisis areas.

What we offer

We cover the travel costs, take care of all visa-related matters, and provide scholarship holders with a pleasant apartment in Berlin for the duration of the scholarship, as well as a monthly allowance and free use of public transportation in Berlin. We also organise their participation in a varied scholarship programme taught by experts in the field of digital security. In addition, during their stay scholarship holders gain insights into the activities of Reporters Without Borders, a globally active journalist and human rights organisation.

Main topics of the digital security training

  • Individualised threat models for journalists: how do I identify my risks?
  • Legal standards: what rights do journalists have against government surveillance?
  • Technical background information: how does the internet work (including IP, DNS and email communication)?
  • Encryption: how can you protect your communications (emails, calls, text messages, etc.) against surveillance?
  • Anonymization: how can you hide yourself online?
  • Security on social media: how do you secure your accounts, and what can you do against trolling?
  • Commercial surveillance: what do companies want to know about their customers, and how can you protect yourself against this?