Canadian Journalism Initiative to Promote Human Rights, Gender Equality and Press Freedom Worldwide Ramps Up

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announces $11.7 million Funding Boost for Journalists for Human Rights to launch “Canada World: Voice for Women and Girls” in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya.

TORONTOMay 3, 2019 /CNW/ – Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), Canada’s largest global media development organization, today joins up with The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister of Women and Gender Equality, to announce plans to significantly expand JHR’s international programs with $11.7 million in funding from Global Affairs Canada. The funding will support JHR’s newest and biggest media development project to dateCanada World: Voice for Women and Girls, a collaboration, led by JHR, between leading Canadian media partners and leading Global South media partners across the Middle EastKenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Media development work strengthens journalists’ ability to do their jobs as referees between authorities and society. The project, led by JHR and funded by Global Affairs Canada with support from Canadian media partners, works to pair Canadian media expertise and techniques with local independent media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Middle East and Kenya. In so doing it will work to strengthen democracy, governance and foster more inclusive, efficient and transparent institutions.  Canadian media partners include Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Bell Media/CTV News, CBC, Corus/Global TV, La Presse, and the National Post.

As Canada’s largest home-grown media development organization, JHR is uniquely qualified to do this work. Canada World integrates the best of Canada’s top journalism talent into its programming. The program’s public-private partnership approach to media development focuses on three main objectives:

  • Strengthening local media sectors through journalism training to improve local coverage of human rights, with an emphasis on women’s and girls’ rights, in target regions.
  • Ensuring greater public input into decision-making, in particular on the rights of women and girls in target regions.
  • Improving the participation of women and girls in public life through media and civil society in target regions.

“To achieve true gender equality, women must feel empowered to raise their voices. Women bring a unique perspective and voice to anything they do and this is no different in the media sector. When women’s voices are heard, different stories start to be told. We get closer to hearing the whole story,” said The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality.

“There has never been a media development program that has harnessed such an impressive range of top media companies and minds to protect women and girls, while reinforcing Canada’s strong commitment to the freedom of the press worldwide.”
said Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director of Journalists for Human Rights

Over the next four years, JHR’s Canada World program will reach approximately 12 million people internationally and six million at home. Local journalists will produce stories on human rights and work to foster gender equality. The project will build the capacity of over 1,000 journalists, 640 journalism students and 650 key stakeholders related to the rights of women and girls and engage over 600,000 citizens in the targeted regions.

“By uncovering and disseminating truth, journalism has the power to protect and strengthen democracy, entrench human rights and equality and hold governments to account,” said Michael Cooke, Chair of the Board of Journalists for Human Rights.

“APTN and JHR have partnered for a few years now to expand the reach of news coverage across Canada,” says Jean LaRose, CEO of APTN. “We believe that fair, objective and responsible journalism is one of the key pillars behind a healthy democracy. It is our goal to build these pillars and expand them across all communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to share what we have learned about journalism’s ability to help others achieve democracy, inclusiveness and assist reconciliation in post-conflict societies around the world.”

“Corus is honoured to have Global News join JHR and our fellow media partners as we offer support for the independence of journalists throughout the world,” said Troy Reeb, Executive Vice President, Broadcast Networks at Corus Entertainment.  “Democracy depends on freedom of expression, the exchange of diverse ideas and fact-based accountability.”

“Bell Media is thrilled that CTV News is continuing our longstanding partnership with JHR by joining them and other media partners for Canada World,” said Wendy Freeman, President, CTV News. “Being able to give the best of our Canadian journalism skills back to the world through media training, development and mentorship, while telling vital stories of human rights – especially those of women and girls – reinforces our commitment to freedom of the press worldwide.”

“We never take for granted the importance of journalism and the privilege we have in Canada and here at CBC News to fully use our expertise in the interest of Canadians.

We welcome the opportunity and responsibility to share the strength and experience of CBC News with emerging journalists. We are happy to partner with Journalists for Human Rights in this important work,” says Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News.

“If we can help journalists do their work well – that’s a gift for the entire population. In the end, journalists do their work to help the society and the democracy to function. La Presse is proud to support JHR and to support this work through participation in this project,” said Éric Trottier, Editor in Chief of La Presse.

“We’re proud to participate in Canada World,” says Julie TravesActing Editor-in-Chief of the National Post. “Free speech is critical to thriving democracies and it’s a privilege to share our skills with emerging newsrooms, and to learn from them.”

JHR’s programs provide long-term journalism training in developing countries to embed the coverage of human rights in daily journalism and create self-sustaining skills and practices.  Recent examples include:

  • JHR-mentored media coverage sparked a fatwa from Islamic clerics forbidding honour killing.
  • JHR-mentored media coverage helped to shut down a militia responsible for committing mass rape in Kisumu, near Bukavu in eastern DRC.
  • Working through media to highlight needless deaths in the then besieged Al-Rukban camp on the Syria/Jordan/Iraq border. Within a day of coverage airing, the government of Bashar al-Assad allowed the opening of a humanitarian corridor to the camp.

About Journalists for Human Rights
The mission of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is for everyone in the world to be aware of their human rights. Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) trains journalists worldwide to cover human rights issues ethically and objectively. For 17 years, Canada-based JHR has worked with over 16,000 journalists in 29 countries, reaching an estimated 65 million people. Currently JHR operates sector-wide programmes in the Democratic Republic of the CongoSyriaSouth SudanMaliJordan, and with Canada’s Indigenous communities. For more information, please visit www.jhr.ca

SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)

For further information: Janine de Vries, Director of Operations, Journalists for Human Rights, 416 904 6193, [email protected]; Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, Journalists for Human Rights, 647 892 9673, [email protected]; For field perspective: Mustapha Dumbuya, Senior Trainer, JHR South Sudan / Kenya, [email protected], Whatsapp +254 701 068 128

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