Forum Announces Safety Training Help for Freelance Journalists

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - A new opportunity for Canadian freelancers to apply for financial help to attend hazardous environment safety training courses in the US or Britain was announced today by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.

The Forum Freelance Fund will provide bursaries up to $2,500 to cover approximately 70% of course and travel costs. Applications will be considered and awards made by an independent jury.

"Responsible employers already send their own staff on these courses when they are likely to be placed in harm's way," said Forum president Cliff Lonsdale, "but freelancers are mostly left to fend for themselves. With the news industry relying ever more heavily on freelancers in dangerous situations at home and abroad, there's a significant safety gap that needs to be addressed. The Forum Freelance Fund is a step in that direction."

The principle of collective responsibility for freelance safety, which underpins this initiative, has been formally endorsed by RTDNA Canada - The Association of Electronic Journalists, and by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. Support has also been expressed by the International News Safety Institute and by Reporters without Borders Canada.

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, Canada News Wire and individual donations. Other sponsors and financial supporters are being sought, so that the program can be extended.

"We are particularly grateful to CBC News for making a three-year commitment to the program," Lonsdale said. Initially, two training places will be offered. The first  application deadline is Monday, October 17.

Approved safety courses bursary recipients may choose include those offered by Andrew Kain Enterprises Limited, Centurion Risk Assessment Services Ltd. and Columbia Journalism School.

Canadian freelancers are defined as those with Canadian citizenship or residence and others who work abroad substantially for Canadian media. Further details of the Forum Freelance Fund are available on the Forum's website: http://journalismforum.fims.uwo.ca.

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is an educational charitable organization that promotes the physical and emotional safety of journalists in Canada and abroad. It also address the impact of coverage on people caught up in violent and traumatic stories as well as the effects that covering violence and trauma may have on news consumers.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

For further information:

Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, CJVFT:  519-473-6434 / journalismforum@uwo.ca


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