Journalists for Human Rights will work with the United Nations Democracy Fund and four local partners on a new initiative that will mobilize media to change lives in four Arab Countries over four years
TORONTO, ON March 18th 2021 – With support from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is launching an initiative in collaboration with local partners Sala Association in Morocco, The National Union of Journalists in Iraq, Awan Media in Lebanon and Ulysse F.M and Radio 6 in Tunisia to help foster an environment with greater accountability and governance, through journalism.
This initiative will look to advance media freedom and access to data and information, enhance the capacity for journalists to cover sensitive human rights related issues, engage underrepresented groups and ethnic minorities and provide journalists with the resources to improve their legal knowledge through strong working relationships with civic actors; specifically in a region overwhelmed with political corruption, the underrepresentation of marginalized communities in politics and media, and the mismanagement of national resources leading to an increased socio-economic divide, all which threaten any future democratic reform.
“Media is the first and most public check on the abuse of power.” said Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, Journalists for Human Rights. “Public officials who make decisions based on facts and truth lead to better governance outcomes, stronger transparency and clearer accountability. And the sobering reality is that without a free media, societies lose the capacity for free thought. With that gone, all our other freedoms go too.”
The need for this work in the MENA region is urgent. As of March 2021:
∙ An annual report produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced that Iraq was the second deadliest country for journalists in the year 2020 with fifty journalists killed for their work
∙ Ghaya Ben Mbarek from the independent Tunisian media platform Meshkal has gone on record to denounce the harassment she, as well as her colleagues received at the hands of police while covering the Tunis political protests in January 2021
∙ The RSF reported that the Moroccan government were launching smear campaigns against notable investigative journalists, political activists and government critics.
∙ Lebanon’s official government media committee has blocked media stations such as MTV and Al-Jadeed from operating in districts controlled by armed political powers in the country.
With the implementation of this initiative, JHR in conjunction with its partners and the United Nations Democracy Fund looks forward to fostering an improved working environment for journalists, and ensuring the stories that reflect everyday life are reported in truth.
About Journalists for Human Rights
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) trains journalists worldwide to cover human rights issues ethically and objectively. For 18 years, Canada-based JHR has worked with 16,000+ journalists around the world. Currently JHR operates sector-wide programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, South Sudan, Mali, Kenya, Jordan, and with Canada’s Indigenous communities. For more information, please visit www.jhr.ca
For more information:
Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director Journalists for Human Rights
147 Spadina Avenue #206, Toronto ON MFV 2L7 416 413 0240 x 206