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Bandhu Media Fellowship 2014

Bandhu Social Welfare Society

Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) has been working for the sexual minority population to uphold their rights, epidemiology and livelihood opportunities challenges since 1996 in Bangladesh. The sexual minority groups are grossly ignored by the media in general, partly because of stigma and lack of clear understanding among journalists about the groups.

BSWS has been organizing the media fellowship program for last couple of years with a view to make a bridge between the sexually minority groups and the media.

A total of 10 journalist fellows from 10 different traditional and non-traditional media outlets (newspapers, online media, radio ‍and television) would contribute to make mass media more responsive and sympathetic to the sexual minority communities.

Last date of submission is 20 September, 2014. Detail information of the media fellowship program is available at BSWS’s official website:

More detail about Banhdu Media Fellowship 2014


Sexual minorities in Bangladesh, namely men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender/hijra communities face violence, discrimination and rejection from families, workplaces, educational institutions and broader society. They often cannot access the same services and rights as other citizens, and are vulnerable to poorer health. For example, HIV prevalence among populations of MSM and transgender people in South Asia has seen alarming increases in recent years and according to the Commission on AIDS in Asia (2008), greater than 50 percent of all new HIV infections could be among MSM by the year 2020.

Unfortunately, media reporting on these vulnerable, sexual minority groups in Bangladesh has often been prejudiced, inaccurate and sensationalist, resulting in a distortion to the public’s views on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.[1] To remedy this, Bandhu Social Welfare Society is launching a Media Fellowship initiative that leverages the influence of the media to work as a positive force for improving the human rights and health of these vulnerable populations. By engaging with communities and raising awareness among media practitioners, the media can influence public opinion and policies and programmes, and contribute to a more effective HIV response in the region.

The not-for-profit Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) has been working since 1996 to provide appropriate sexual health services for these communities through economic livelihood, health care, and legal support, as well as to establish a place in Bangladeshi culture and public policy for a third-gender identity. BSWS has been running similar Media Fellowships on a variety of issues since 2011.This Media Fellowship initiative is an activity under the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme, for which the United Nations Development Programme Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (UNDP APRC) is the Principal Recipient and BSWS is a Sub-Recipient.

For more information on the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme visit

Rationale for the Media Fellowship:

Producing reports/features on specific issues through media fellowships have been used by development organizations in many countries as an effective policy influencing tool to make issues more obvious to general audience as well as policymakers. Different types of media as well as traditional and new media platforms including newspapers, online newspapers, blogs, radio and television channels around the world have been helping to raise public awareness on this important issues by consistently highlighting HIV gender violence and so many other issues around the world. By doing so, media fellowships have been successfully used to impact governance institutions and policies.

In the context of Bangladesh, many international and national organizations have offered media fellowship in order to involve journalists more on a specific issue where media usually gives little or no attention for various reasons. The sexual minority groups are grossly ignored by the media in general, partly because of stigma and lack of clear understanding among journalists about the groups. Even reported, these groups need protection of their confidentiality and seek equal status like other human beings in society.

BSWS intends to make a bridge between the sexually minority groups and the media in order to cater better understanding between the two and create a positive attitude towards these minority people. It is expected that journalist fellows from 10 different newspapers, online media, radio, television and blog would contribute to make mass media more responsive and sympathetic to the sexual minority communities, reduce misreporting, ignite new horizon for journalistic reportage, highlight the rights of the sexual minority population and pave ways for creation of a higher degree of social tolerance.

Areas to be covered:

  • Human rights of sexual  minority populations
  • Epidemiological perspective of HIV and key populations at higher risk
  • Stigma and discrimination faced by towards sexual minority populations based on their sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Religious beliefs and social views towards sexual minorities
  • Livelihood opportunities, challenges and barriers

Number of Fellowships:

A total of 10 fellowships will be offered to journalists from the national level media outlets including dailies, online newspapers, radio and television. Out of the 10 fellows, three will be from daily newspapers (Bengali and English daily), three will be from online newspapers/news agencies, three will be from television channels and one will be from radio.

Selection Process:

Through newspaper and online advertisements, BSWS will invite applications from interested journalists to offer the fellowship to 10 journalists for three months to produce reports and feature stories on sexual health and rights, including HIV/AIDS, sexual diversity, human rights of Sexual Minorities as well as some other issues related to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). BSWS will also give additional effort by sending press release to media and letter to all media gatekeepers requesting to nominate reporter for the fellowship from their media.

Tasks of Media Fellows:

Each media fellow will be responsible to perform the following activities:

  • Produce and submit four specialized, reports/features/documentary on given issues within the first two months during three months fellowship program.
  • Mandatory Attendance in one -day residential orientation workshop organized by BSWS.
  • Study background materials supplied by BSWS.
  • Field work/case study/research/interview are required for report/feature stories.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Articles or contents of fellows must be focused on above mentioned area.
  • One day residential orientation session is mandatory for all selected fellows.
  • Fellows will be responsible to publish/webcast/broadcast their reports/features/documentary   in their respective media outlets.
  • A lump sum payment will be paid through one installment upon the timely publication and submission of the news/feature stories to BSWS.


  • Thirty reports/features/documentary (3 items by each fellow) on sexual minority issues of Bangladesh.
  • A print or e-book would be published.
  • A publication with the details of selected fellows both print and online version.

Selection Criteria:

  • Minimum five years of working experience as a full time journalist with national newspapers, online newspapers, radio, television and regular writer in blogs.
  • Preference will be given to journalists having experience on sexual orientation and gender identity, and human rights issues.
  • Experience in reporting on sexual minority populations will be an advantage.
  • The fellowship will be awarded to national level print, online, radio, and television reporters.
  • Applicants have to submit a recommendation letter by his/her Editor/CEO/supervisor (addressing BSWS Executive Director) with the assurance of publishing four reports on Sexual Minority Population issues.
  • Applicants have to submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) with recent photograph and present and permanent contact address.
  • Applicants have to submit a motivational letter mentioning why he/she is interested to obtain the fellowship program.
  • Must have enough influence to publish reports and feature stories in their respective media outlets.
  • Sound knowledge on sexual minority populations and their challenges will be considered as an asset.
  • Positive attitude towards the sexual minority populations will be given priority.
  • Former BSWS fellows are not eligible to apply for the fellowship 2014.
  • Media fellowship application will only be accepted in a given format available for download from BSWS official website (

Orientation of selected media fellows:

Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) will conduct a comprehensive residential orientation workshop as well as research and planning session for selected media fellows. BSWS will also organize one learning workshop with ongoing Media Advocacy after the successful completion of the media fellowship program. Special award may also be offered to best one fellow at the end of the fellowship program.

Remuneration, field expenses reimbursement and other support:

  • Fellows will receive a fixed amount of BDT 50,000 (Travel and Communication Cost) will be provided after the successful completion and submission of the agreed reports to BSWS.
  • At the completion of the project a dissemination workshop will be held and award will be given to the best report or feature story.
  • Selected fellows will be provided publications, IEC materials, e-book, DVD, interesting links, connection, network related to sexual minority population issues.

Review and Monitoring:

BSWS media and communications team and mentor/s will monitor the quality of the submitted news reports on a regular basis and provide time to time feedback in order to improve the quality of reporting. The communication team will also help journalists to find interesting story angles, get access to Sexual Minority populations and produce quality reports. For any assistance and clarification, fellows can contact Mr. Zohurul Islam, Project Coordinator or Mr. Zahid Al Amin, Communication & Public Relation Specialist of BSWS.

Publication of Best Reports and Feature Stories:

BSWS will publish a collection of the best reports and feature stories with high quality photographs. This book, printed in Bangla and English, will be published in BSWS website and UNDP knowledge management website and it will be an excellent policy influencing tool and be distributed to all concerned, including the fellows themselves.

Application Deadline and Submission Materials:

The last date of the application for Bandhu Media Fellowship 2014: 20 September, 2014.

Application will be accepted through online only. Any kind of persuasion for obtaining fellowship will be considered as non-qualification of the applicant.

The application must include CV with photograph, a motivational letter, a letter of recommendation from supervisor and filled up online application and send on before September 20, 2014.

[1] UNDP, CFAR (2014). A Framework for Media Engagement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in South Asia.

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