Freedom of Expression

Fellowship “ Freedom of Expression Orlando Sierra”

About the Fellowship

Venue: Office of the Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

1889 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006,
United States of America.

Modality: Virtual

Deadline to present applications: March 18, 2022

Start Date:  April 2022

Length of the Fellowship: 8 months


To provide an opportunity for young journalists and lawyers from OAS Member States to understand and apply the mechanisms of protection of the inter-American system of human rights in the area of freedom of expression.  


To assist with tasks of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission, under the supervision of the Special Rapporteur. The fellow will be assigned to monitoring activities carried out by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the state of freedom of expression in the hemisphere. The fellowship is part of a project component whose objective is to provide capacity building to civil society for monitoring the right to freedom of expression and use of protection mechanisms of the inter-American system on human rights.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created in October, 1997 as a permanent office with functional independence and with own operative structure with the objective of stimulate the defense, guarantee and promotion the right to freedom of expression and information in the hemisphere. In March 1998, the IACHR defined the characteristics and functions of the Office of the Special Rapporteur and decided to create a voluntary fund to provide it with economic assistance.


  • Be a citizen of an OAS Member State;
  • Advanced proficiency in Spanish and a proven knowledge of a second official language of the OAS.
  • Applicants that are lawyers must have attended an officially accredited law school (a copy of the diploma and transcripts must be submitted) and must have obtained their law degree after January of 2008;
  • Applicants who are journalists may have majored in philosophy, literature, journalism, political science, social sciences or any other related field or have more than three years experience in the field of professional journalism. Professionals should have received a university degree after January 1, 2008. (a copy of the diploma and transcripts or certificates in related field work must be submitted);
  • Have a demonstrable professional interest in the legal field of human rights, specifically in the area of freedom of expression and access to information;

The following additional elements will be taken into consideration:

  • Knowledge and experience on human rights and groups in specially vulnerable conditions.
  • Knowledge/experience conducting or participating in journalistic or academic research or analyses related directly with the right to freedom of expression;
  • Professional experience with an organization that defends freedom of expression or press;
  • Knowledge of French or Portuguese (Official OAS languages).

Required documents:

The following documents are required in order to be considered for the fellowship:

  • Letter of interest.
  • Completed Fellowship Application
  • Two letters of recommendation,  (one of which should be from a freedom of expression organization or human rights organization).
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Certification of second language.
  • For lawyers, copy of law degree, grades obtained, and proof of registration as an attorney before the courts or the appropriate body. For other professionals, copy of degrees and grades obtained or certification of a minimum or four years’ professional experience as a practicing journalist;
  • Written paper of up to three pages developed under the following guideline:
    • Description of two events that ocurred in your country or in another country of the Americas in 2021/2022 with an impact or a possible effect on the exercise of freedom of expression. The work must be presentes half in English and half in Spanish using any format. If not possible please explain.
    • The facts should be narrated in a narrative and descriptive style including all the necessary information to understand the case in an accurate, concise and complete manner. At least two completely independent sources must be included to describe the case in accordance with the examples that can be found in Chapter II of the Annual Report 2020 of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

    • At least one of the cases outlines needs to include a final paragraph assessing the situation of freedom of expression and access to public information in the light of the standards developed by the inter-American Human Rights System.


  • Remuneration: The fellowship offers a stipend of $3,200 per month.
  • Modality: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the fellowship will be conducted virtually from the selected candidate's country of residence until further notice.
  • The IACHR/Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression will award a certificate of participation in the Fellowship Program to the fellows who satisfactorily complete the entire period of the fellowship.

Responsibilities of the selected candidates:

  • Once an applicant has been selected, he/she should formally accept the fellowship in writing, confirming with the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights his/her availability to complete the fellowship during the specified time period.
  • In the event a candidate accepts a fellowship but cannot complete it, for whatever reason, he/she must immediately inform the Office of the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR so that the course of action may be decided.
  • If the candidate resigns, cancels or terminates the fellowship after the program has begun without providing sufficient reason and evidence to the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for doing so, he/she will fully reimburse the Office for all costs incurred on his/her behalf.

Presentation of candidates:

The application and other required documents must be submitted to the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR prior to the closing date of the application period (March 18/2022 by email with the subject ORLANDO SIERRA FELLOWSHIP 2022 to:

NOTICE: This fellowship is offered thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Government of Switzerland to the project: “Freedom of Expression in the Americas” .