The Dark Side of Drug Policies – Scholarships for Journalists

26 April 2010

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) is now calling for applications to its new media scholarship program

Call for Applications

HCLU is now calling for applications to the “The Dark Side of Drug Policies” scholarship for journalists who are prepared to work on an investigative report about a specific problem generated by drug policies in their countries. The aim of the scholarship is to raise media awareness on the consequences of drug control policies at the local or national level.


This scholarship is part of the European Drug Policy Initiative (EDPI), an ongoing cooperative project of European NGOs to improve drug policies and promote human rights and harm reduction as the key principles to tackle drug related problems. The EDPI has recently targeted 10 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Sweden. The initiative is coordinated by the Budapest-based Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), one of the leading drug policy organizations of Europe. The project is funded by the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Common Sense for Drug Policy (CSDP).

Who is eligible?

All journalists based in Europe are eligible for the scholarship - please do not apply if you are not based in one of these countries. The application should include a CV of the journalist, a max. 2 page description of the aims, methods and the budget outline of the investigative report project. The overall time the applicant plans to spend on the report should not exceed 4 weeks.

In addition, the applicants should provide the following:

  • A letter of assignment on the official letterhead of a media organization from the Publisher/Editor or Bureau Chief. Independent production companies are required to provide a letter from their broadcast organization. It should include the commitment to publish the results of the investigative report.
  • Applicants are required to submit copies of two recent issues of their publication they consider the best (linked or scanned and emailed to us)

Highlighted Topics

Applicants have to prove that their report will contribute to a better understanding of the impact tat drug control policies have on public health and human rights, i.e., making drug policies more transparent and accountable.

  • Repressive law enforcement interventions, imprisonment
  • Impact of international drug conventions on national drug policies
  • Effectiveness of drug treatment
  • Drug related expenditures of national and local governments/police
  • Barriers to access to health care
  • Stigma of drug use
  • Poverty and drug use
  • Contrast of attitudes toward licit and illicit drugs
  • Drug use as a cultural heritage
  • Impacts of the drug war on ethnic minorities
  • Violence related to the black market of drugs
  • Forced treatment of drug users
  • Drug users with HIV and AIDS
  • Medical use of illegal drugs
  • Impact of drug policies on families
  • Fear-based drug education & prevention
  • Mandatory drug testing in schools and workplaces
  • Best practice in education, care, treatment & harm reduction


All applications must be submitted by 10 May. HCLU will select and contact the best applications by 15 May 2010. The amount of the scholarship will be decided on an individual basis, taking into consideration the special needs and local circumstances of the report.

The HCLU will contract the selected journalist, the copy rights of the article will belong to the HCLU and will be published on the European Drug Policy Initiative (EDPI) website. The HCLU with its expertise on drug policy issues and its network of professionals will provide technical assistance and support for journalists participating in the project.

Selected journalists are requested to finalize and send their reports (in their national language) by 15 June 2010. The articles will be translated into English and published on our website on the World Anti-Drug Day (26 June).

If you have more questions please contact Peter Sarosi at