CNES-Setu National Media Fellowship 2006

The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research invites applications for the second CNES-Setu National Media Fellowship (2006), a program aimed at enabling metro media journalists as well as those from the North East of India to research, understand and communicate on issues relating to the North East as well as in other parts of the country.

The fellowship will be spread over three months and it is open to journalists in all recognized Indian languages including English. The fellowship carries an award of Rs.75000 and the fellow is expected to cover the travel and related costs of the project from these funds. The last date for receipt of applications is March 15, 2006 and the award will be announced by March 31, 2006.

The fellowship gives an opportunity, in alternate years, to journalists from the metro media and the region respectively who need to step back from the rush of daily reporting and editing and find the time and space to think through and write about issues of professional concern to them. In normal circumstances, they would not be able to focus on these issues as these would be “outside” their beat.

In its second year, the fellowship invites applications from the print media and photo-journalists in the North-east, who wish to travel to other parts of the country and work on specific research projects.

The program recognizes that all professionals need time to review their work and lives and get a chance to refocus and reconnect with those realities and issues which mean a lot to them. The fellowship offers a much needed space to enable professionals to return “recharged” to their work and with deeper insights.

The North East of India is a region which remains misunderstood and “distant” from the “mainland”. Although many perceptions have changed in the past years, many misconceptions still prevail, both in the media and in the wider viewing and reading public. This national fellowship is a modest effort by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, which has been active in bridging information gaps and policy advocacy with regard to the region, to develop better understanding, greater sensitivity as well as more accurate reporting of issues. If media persons are mis- or uninformed, the public cannot expect to be well-informed!

The CNES-Setu Fellowship programme seeks to build better information, better communication and better networking between journalists in the North East and different parts of the country. It also advocates a better-informed and sensitive flow of reporting both about the region as well as other parts of India so that stereotypes are challenged and that policy makers, fellow media professionals and organizations as well as larger newspaper audiences are reached. Both regions need to change their approaches and views of each other and the media is a critical tool in this process.

The first CNES-Setu Fellowship 2005 was awarded to Nitin Sethi of Down to Earth magazine of New Delhi, to work on bamboo-related issues and was supported by contributions from Assamese professionals in the United States.

There are two sets of issues for the national fellowship: a list for those going to the North East has been flagged and for those from the region wanting to moving out and look at problems and challenges across India, a separate list of concerns is outlined below (see Issues).

The selected fellow would need to produce both a monograph at the end of his/her assignment, which would be published after appropriate editing. In addition, the fellow would need to publish not less than six articles in his/her home paper on the issue for which he/she has been selected. This is irrespective of whether the journalist is a full-time employee of a newspaper/magazine or freelance. Indeed, freelancers are also encouraged to apply.

In an effort to encourage new talent, preference will be given to journalists who have not previously won awards or fellowships.

The CNES-Setu fellow will be picked by a Selection Committee comprising of Sanjoy Hazarika, C-NES Managing Trustee and media professional (former New York Times correspondent and consulting editor of The Statesman), Pradip Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free Press (Manipur) and Dileep Chandan, editor, Asom Bani, Assam.

Eligibility, Terms and conditions

? To be eligible for the fellowship, an applicant must be a full-time journalist with a minimum work experience of 5-to-10 years
? The applicant must obtain an editor’s written consent for the period of the fellowship, including the publication of articles as specified in this outline and later in the contract
? The selected applicant will be bound, under contract, to complete the fellowship. Failure to do so will invite legal action.
? The fellowship will enable the awardee to develop specific recommendations which can be shared with policy-makers and which are time-bound and actionable


Applications are welcomed in email format but only with MSWord attachments (not cut and paste). A printed copy of the emailed application must accompany the latter, with a letter on the applicant’s letterhead and full address with phone numbers and email details. The applicant must attach by email or enclose in a package (to be sent by mail or courier) the following details:

? a two-page research proposal
? a brief curriculum vitae (not more than a page)
? clippings of six major articles published in the applicant’s magazine or newspaper over the past calendar year (any vernacular language set of clippings must be accompanied with an adequate translation in English)
? a photo-journalist must submit one major photo essay published in the English language or vernacular media, also from the past calendar year
? a work plan (methodology, travel and research, contacts and prioritization of the case study)
? all applications must be neatly typed with double spacing. Hand-written applications will not be considered.
? Selected applicants must be fluent in English; a good knowledge of Hindi would be an advantage
The issues

Those applying for the 2006 Fellowship (traveling outside the North-east to other parts of the country) would need to take one of the following issues as the research study and any one state or city of the options listed after each issue:

? gender and governance: women in panchayati raj institutions ? how real, how independent (Rajasthan or Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh)
? Coping with floods and natural disasters: what can be done — learning from villagers and rural administrations (Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh)
? Either A) The issues before river linking: in whose name, for whose benefit — water-rich states versus the water-deficient or B) Embankments: interim solutions become permanent problems (case studies from Bihar)
? The Right to Information: babudom’s bane, the empowerment of the public ? or neither? ( Maharashtra or New Delhi)
? Urban waste management: where will all the plastic and muck go? (Kolkata or Mumbai or Chennai)
? Non-government organizations: are they truly representative and sensitive to peoples’ needs or a powerful new elite (Rajasthan or Karnataka or Kerala)
? The spiraling of domestic violence and gender bias: its impact on women and children ( Punjab and Haryana)
? The rise and rise of communalism: new confrontations, new paradigms (Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh)
? Globalization in a rural setting in Punjab or Maharashtra ? changes at the grassroots or collapsing systems?
? Human rights and the interests of the State: reality and tragedy meet policy and pressure (Andhra Pradesh or Jharkhand)

Submission deadlines
March 15, 2006
Announcement of Fellowship
March 31, 2006

Apply to:
The CNES-Setu National Fellowship
Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research
D 6, 6143/3 Vasant Kunj
New Delhi 110070
Tel 91-11-26121426 Email:, Website:

About C-NES

The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research was set up in 2000 by a group of concerned citizens. It has offices in Guwahati in Assam and New Delhi and works on areas relating to governance, participative planning, rights, water resources, rural livelihoods, rural water transport, status of women, peace building and better understanding. It seeks to advocate the issues and challenges before the North-east.

C-NES works at both field and policy levels and is committed to building bridges between the North-east, among the least-known and understood parts of India, and other parts of the country. As part of this process, C-NES conducts workshops and training programs as well as reviews of government policy and projects. It also seeks to develop better understanding between the North-east and the neighbouring regions, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.

C-NES believes that the wide ethnic diversity of the region and its location ? on the edge of South-east Asia ? is a strength and advantage, not a handicap.

Its Board of Trustees includes Dr. VA Pai Panandikar, Niketu Iralu of Nagaland, Dr. Jayanta Madhab, economic adviser to the Assam chief minister, Ms. Patricia Mukhim, columnist and social activist, and Lt.-Gen (Retd.) VK Nayar, former Governor of Manipur. Sanjoy Hazarika is the Managing Trustee.

Mission Statement

The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) was established to conduct research on issues relating to the North East of India in a broad range of areas. It seeks to disseminate information, develop alternate policy structures which reflect peoples perceptions, and do mobilize public opinion. C-NES’ interests include governance, environment, information, gender, human resources, strengthening civil society, culture and heritage, communications and connectivity as well as regional cooperation. It is envisioned that its primary role will be in the fields of concept development and field research, as initiator, disseminator and articulator of information and policies in and for the area while creating a bridge between field and policy as well as between the North-East and the rest of India.

? C-NES recognizes the right of every individual in the region to live in dignity, peace and safety because only under such conditions can the quality of their lives be improved and their deepest aspirations met.
? values the unique ethnic and ecological diversity of the North East and sees this heritage as an advantage
? encourages local governance, decision- making and initiatives as the key to social and economic development
? believes that trained human resources and skills can bring about major changes
? lobbies actively for changes in official policy at the national, regional, state and district levels which it considers necessary to build a just society
? supports regional cooperation as a strategy to create long term, sustainable economic development

The Centre’s programme priorities include the following:

? Livelihood generation
? Infrastructure and transport
? Documenting cultural and environmental diversity
? Development of data-banks
? Studies of migration, internal displacement and refugee flows
? Local governance
? Media exchanges and communication
? Horticulture and innovative farming
? Networking among different groups and partnerships with organizations sharing goals

Trust, Trustees and Advisory Council

The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research was registered as a Trust under Sec.80G/ Income Tax Act 1961.

The Managing Trustee is Sanjoy Hazarika, a former correspondent of New York Times and author, who has worked extensively in the region. The Chairman of the Trust is Dr. V A Panandikar, former President of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. The other Trustees are Mrinal Pande, author and editor; Niketu Iralu, Social worker from Nagaland; Ms. Patricia Mukhim, columnist and social activist, Meghalaya; Dr. Mahfuza Rahman, Executive Trustee, Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi, Assam; Dr. Jayanta Madhab, former Chairman of the North East Development and Finance Corporation; Chaman Lal, former Director General Police, Nagaland; and Lt. Gen.(retd.) V K Nayar, former Governor of Manipur.

Sanjoy Hazarika, an authority on the region, has traveled extensively in the North East and its Neighbouring areas in connection with C-NES projects as well as journalist, editor and film maker. He is also consulting Editor at The Statesman and Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He has made a series of documentary films on the region especially on the Brahmaputra river. He is Convenor of the CNES- Setu National Media Fellowship involving journalists from the North East and other parts of the country. A former correspondent for The New York Times and author of several books including Strangers of the Mist, Tales of War and Peace from India’s North East, Mr. Hazarika was a member of the first National Security Advisory Board (1998-1999) and a member of the advisory panel (North East) for the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution. He is member, National Council of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and former member of Committee to Review The Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).

The Advisory Council is headed by Dr. Madhab. Other members include LC Jain, development economist and former High Commissioner to South Africa, OP Jain, cultural Philanthropist, Dr. Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign, Jahnu Barua, film Director, NN Vohra, former Home Secretary, and Denghuna, former Secretary, Govt. of Mizoram.

Aims, Objectives, Networking

Using a strategy of local-level and regional studies, the Centre aims to impact policies and perceptions at all levels to help build a more equitable society. C-NES is involved in programmes in the following areas:

? River transport, understanding development of need based livelihoods
? Conflict
? Participatory planning
? Gender sensitization and status of women
? Traditional governing institutions and making them more open and democratic
? Environmental protection
? Reviews of social projects and policies through local team
? Developing better communications through media fellowships

The long term goals of such projects are to strengthen peoples’ participation in tackling problems and policy development, involving a participatory approach, using the skills, resources and knowledge of local groups. At the same time, the Centre will ensure interaction with specialists in these fields. Local government institutions will be kept informed of the Centre’s activities.

More information can be accessed at its website:

Tax status, Funds

Contributions to C-NES are eligible from deduction under 80G of the income tax Act, 1961.Its tax exempt status has been renewed till 31.3.2008.The trust is also registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Ministry of Home Affairs, vide their letter ll/21022/83/(102)/2003 dated August 13,2003. The FCRA registration number is 231660377, Category: Social.

The Centre invites funding from individuals, business and industry, government and philanthropic institutions for its corpus and activities. Details about support can be obtained by writing to:

Managing Trustee
D /6,6143 /3, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi 110070
Program Manager
C/o, RGVN,
8th Byelane,
Rajgarh Road, Guwahati-781003
Assam, India

Phone : New Delhi : 91 11 26121426
Guwahati : 91 361 2454376, 2528652


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