NEWSLETTER: May 8 – JHR leads the conversation on misinformation & Tanzania publishes first COVID related headline


May 8th, 2021

This week’s highlights

  • JHR leads the conversation on misinformation on World Press Freedom Day
  • Test your human rights knowledge in JHR’s World Press Freedom Day quiz series!
  • Listen to the Big Digital Lies podcast from JHR partner World Press Freedom Canada ft Rachel Pulfer on harmful social media communication
  • Information Saves Lives: Tanzania publishes its first COVID-19 headline and the Spotlight series in South Africa continues talks on COVID-19’s impact on human rights
  • Join us for our Mental Health & Indigenous Journalists webinar
  • JHR and Hot Docs co-present SIEGED: THE PRESS VS. DENIALISM


JHR leads the conversation on misinformation
on World Press Freedom Day



On World Press Freedom Day this past Monday, JHR was proud to host a webinar on the current challenges faced by journalists and the public worldwide in tackling mis/disinformation as they navigate the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’.

Executive Director Rachel Pulfer spoke to online disinformation expert Craig Silverman, JHR project manager Siyabulela Mandela and World Press Freedom Canada president Shawn McCarthy on mis/disinformation’s threat to the power and trust traditionally held by independent media, in particular — and proposed several solutions for minimizing the havoc wreaked by the deluge of false information flooding the digital sphere. Watch a recap of the webinar here.

They were joined in the webinar by the Honourable Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of International Development, who reiterated her support for JHR’s Mobilizing Media for COVID-19 (MMFC) project, which is training journalists in 12 countries in Africa and the Middle East to tackle mis/disinformation during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Hopefully, is something that has served communities and citizens to access good, timely information during the pandemic, and those skills, capacities and relationships built over the past year will serve those communities in the future, with regards to health information, to stand up for their rights and democracy, and to further create inclusive societies”, said Minister Gould during the webinar.

Rachel Pulfer also joined Shawn McCarthy in sharing their views on the action that Canada needs to take to combat misinformation in an op-ed for Ottawa Citizen and a series of CBC Radio interviews.



Test your knowledge in JHR’s
World Press Freedom Day Quiz series!



Congratulations to the top scorers of JHR’s first quiz series! It is encouraging to see so many people take an active interest in learning about the current human rights issues around the world.

On this World Press Freedom Day, JHR launched a month-long quiz series for our social media followers. The quizzes test participants’ knowledge of human rights challenges and successes in the 12 host countries of the Mobilizing Media for COVID-19 project, while sharing some inspiring insights and stories of change emerging from MMFC.

For our second quiz, we will focus on Iraq, Yemen and Mauritania. Click here to get a head start on the quiz!




For Big Digital Lies, JHR partner World Press Freedom Canada interviews Rachel Pulfer on what we can do about misinformation


Photo Credit: World Press Freedom Canada

Many Canadians get their news from the internet and navigate through a web that is polluted with disinformation and misinformation. What’s the impact of this on the people tasked with cutting through the noise? How do we get to the real facts?

JHR partner World Press Freedom Canada teamed up with Ottawa journalist Sarah Turnbull to probe the issue in a podcast series, ‘Big Digital Lies’. In the final episode, The Path Forward, Turnbull interviews Rachel Pulfer on Journalists for Human Rights’ work with First Draft News and a network of Canadian expert trainers including Craig Silverman, training journalists to identify and debunk misinformation and disinformation online and on social media platforms. Take a listen here.

Listen to the full series here.



Information Saves Lives:
Tanzania publishes its first COVID-19 headline & the Spotlight series in South Africa continues talks on COVID-19’s impact on human rights


Corona usurped our rights, say entrepreneurs in an article in Zanzibar Leo

As part of JHR’s Mobilizing Media to Fight COVID-19 (MMFC) project, the first stories about the impact of the pandemic on human rights in Tanzania have been published. While there were restrictions on covering COVID-19 in the past year in Tanzania, there now seems to be more space for covering such stories and journalists are eager to publish accurate information so people can make informed decisions. A first story – in Swahili – features business people who say the extent of the epidemic’s impact on their business is something that they have never experienced before. One businessman says before the COVID-19 pandemic, he used to earn up to $250 per day but now, he’s hardly been earning $10. He explains how this has been hard on him as the sole breadwinner for his family.


COVID-19 and the right to Freedom of Expression in South Africa

In South Africa, a series of conversations in the media is putting a spotlight on the impact of COVID-19 on human rights in South Africa. This series titled ‘Spotlight’ is brought to you by JHR in partnership with Media Monitoring Africa and Sound Africa. For 9 weeks they will be putting a spotlight on human rights issues and COVID-19, every Wednesday at midday Johannesburg time. Spotlight has already mobilised 6,100 followers.

On our fourth episode, we are joined by Fred Felton, an editor and senior writer for Umhlanga Life, a community newspaper in Durban, South Africa. We are also very honoured to have Marystella Simiyu – who is the Program Coordinator for the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria.

In this episode we are putting a spotlight on the right to freedom of expression in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, which we marked on Monday. South Africa has dropped one place on the World Press Freedom Index to number 31 and according to Reporters Without Borders that compile the report, while press freedom in South Africa is guaranteed by the constitution, it has become more fragile in recent years. For more on this episode, please view the link:


The above stories are part of the Mobilizing Media to Fight COVID-19 project funded by




Join us for our Mental Health & Indigenous Journalists webinar!



Mental health has been in the news a lot recently, but what about the psychological wellness of the professionals producing that news, particularly that of people of colour and Indigenous journalists?

JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program is bringing together a panel of journalists and experts to discuss what many in newsrooms and beyond are dealing with when it comes to the challenges involved in carrying difficult stories, reporting on traumatic events, and the steps you can take to care for yourself and your colleagues.

Award-winning journalist Brandi Morin moderates a discussion on mental health for journalists with Meera Selva, Lenard Monkman, Anna McKenzie, and Adeline Bird.

Thursday, May 13, 2021 @ 12:30pm EST



About the panelists:

Meera Selva is an accomplished senior journalist with experience in Europe, Asia and Africa. She is the Deputy Director of the Reuters Institute and the Director of their Journalist Fellowship Programmes, and her recent work includes studying how the pandemic has affected journalists’ mental health.

Anna McKenzie is an Opaskwayak Cree reporter with IndigiNews covering child welfare on so-called Vancouver Island.

Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation. He is a reporter with the CBC’s Indigenous unit and has been with them for five years.

Adeline Bird is a Afro-Ojibwe author, broadcaster, and director, and a member of Rolling River First Nation. She is a freelance host at SportsNet, and wrote Be Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide for Women of Color.

Moderator Brandi Morin is an award-winning French/Cree/Iroquois journalist from Treaty 6, AB. For the last 10 years Brandi has specialized in sharing Indigenous stories, some of which helped spark change and reconciliation in Canada’s political, cultural and social environments.



This May, JHR and Hot Docs co-present


Still from ‘SIEGED: THE PRESS VS. DENIALISM’. Photo Credit: Hot Docs

JHR is thrilled to co-present SIEGED: THE PRESS VS. DENIALISM from April 29 – May 9, at North America’s largest documentary festival, Hot Docs, taking place online this year due to public health restrictions.

The film looks at the way Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has used the COVID-19 pandemic to attack the press, and how this undermined efforts to ensure Brazilians had the necessary public health information they needed to stay safe. The film’s synopsis:

As Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll soars, President Bolsonaro unleashes a relentless media campaign of misinformation, undermining the efforts of journalists desperate to inform a nation during the darkest months of the pandemic.

Tickets on sale now: .



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