United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has disclosed that 60 exceptional African journalists will receive new scholarships over the next five years to gain experience in the newsrooms of Britain’s leading media organisations, saying that r, applicants from 10 African countries are eligible to apply for the scholarships in 2019.
Secretary Hunt made this disclosure while unveiling his vision to improve media freedom around the world. He called on leaders to recognise that a “media freedom is not a “Western” value, still less a colonial-style imposition, but instead a force for progress from which everyone benefits.”
He added that £15.5m of UK aid money will be given to help Ethiopia run transparent, free and fair elections.
Secretary Hunt disclosed his plans on May 2, 2019 while speaking at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day celebrations, hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In his speech, Jeremy Hunt said “whatever we politicians claim during election campaigns, no single party or leader or philosophy has a monopoly on wisdom. Instead the progress of humanity clearly shows that wisdom arises from the open competition between ideas when different viewpoints are given the oxygen to contend freely and fairly.”
He stressed that a free media “provides a channel for people to voice discontent without resorting to violence. If problems and tensions are bottled up then they are far more likely to boil over. Stopping journalists from reporting a problem does not make it go away.”
Secretary Hunt also made the link between a free media and lower levels of government corruption, pointing out that “far more effective than the crackdowns regularly launched by authoritarian regimes is the sunlight of transparency – just witness the striking overlap between the least corrupt countries in global indices and those with the freest media.”