Deyda Hydara Scholarship
A distinct fellowship program for journalists under acute threat was launched in November 2023: The Deyda Hydara Scholarship, named after the journalist and longtime RSF correspondent murdered in The Gambia in 2004.
Reporters Without Borders Germany is implementing this protection program for media professionals who are in need of temporary protection because they are no longer safe in their own country due to targeted threats and cannot find refuge in their home region. In recent years, this has unfortunately become increasingly necessary due to rising reprisals and multiple crises worldwide. In cooperation with protection programs such as Protect Defenders (EU), as well as the German Elisabeth-Selbert-Initiative and most recently the Hannah-Ahrendt-Initiative, RSF has already been able to offer selected journalists the opportunity to reorient themselves in a safe environment, evaluate their further career goals and security situation, take advantage of safety trainings and receive support in dealing with traumatic experiences.
Deyda Hydara was editor of the independent Gambian newspaper The Point and correspondent for the news agency AFP as well as for Reporters without Borders. For his newspaper, Hydara wrote a popular column on politics in The Gambia entitled "Good morning Mr. President", in which he regularly criticized the president and his policies and was constantly threatened for this. The 58-year-old was the father of four children. He was shot dead in the street on December 16, 2004. Shortly before, he had sharply criticized the new, extremely repressive press laws under the then dictatorship of President Yahya Jammeh.
Baba Hydara, the son of the murdered journalist, was moved by the idea of supporting media professionals from all over the world with a program to keep the memory of his father alive.
“My mum, sisters and brothers, we are very excited by this opportunity to rename this fellowship program after our father. We believe that RSF’s work goes a long way in helping journalists and their families all over the world feel supported and appreciated while doing the most difficult and dangerous work at times. Our father worked with RSF for decades and devoted his time and energy in getting journalism and the free press propagated in West Africa. Throughout his career he helped young aspiring journalists in the Gambia, encouraging, supporting and promoting their own careers, many of whom are now very successful in their careers across the journalism world. We are proud, honoured and very humbled by this great gesture.”
The Deyda Hydara Scholarship replaces the "Emergency Assistance Fellowship" program, which has been awarded in exceptional cases since 2016. Nominations are put forward by the RSF regional programs; a direct application is not possible.