The Patsy Robertson Young Journalist Essay Competition 2022

The CPU Media Trust – which seeks to defend and enhance media freedom within the Commonwealth – is launching a competition for young journalists in memory of Patsy Robertson, a great champion of the Commonwealth and its journalists. The prize will be £500. Details on the subject of the essay and on how to enter are set out below.

Subject 

“Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego.” 

Mahatma Gandhi

GANDHI’s 1947 proclamation is still echoed internationally in defence of media freedom. But, as a former editor, he was not uncritical of a free press, calling false news “a crime against humanity” and scorning much Western journalism as ”trash”.

That was then: the printed press was the media: the reading public its audience. There was an unwritten social compact that the press was free and unfettered in return for voluntarily adopting publicly recognised standards.

But now the Internet has created a new, often anarchic, realm – that of social media: frequently untrained, unfair, vindictive and offering no reasonable right of reply.

So how can we protect media freedom without endangering the concept of a free press?  How do we protect the 21st century public from itself?

Competition Rules:

  • Entrants should provide an essay on the above subject of 1000 words or less  
  • Must be under the age of 25 and from a Commonwealth country
  • Be undertaking or recently completed journalism training and working within the field
  • All entries should be sent as an attachment to an email providing brief background information of the entrant and with a contact email
  • Email address for entries:  cpumediatrust@gmail.com
  • Entries must be received by 31 December 2021
  • The judges for the Award are the Trustees of the CPU Media Trust
  • The prize for the winning entry is £500

Background:

Patsy Robertson was a ground breaking journalist from Jamaica who, in the late 1960s joined the  newly established Commonwealth Secretariat in London. She was official spokesperson for the Commonwealth from 1983 until 1994, and also director of information from 1988.  After leaving the Commonwealth Secretariat she went on to work at the UN in New York but always maintained her close Commonwealth links. She was a Trustee of the CPU Media Trust for many years until her death in 2020.  Throughout her life she actively encouraged and mentored many young journalists throughout the Commonwealth.


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