Journalists for Human Rights launches new journalism training project in South Sudan

TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada's leading media development organization, Journalists for Human Rights, has launched a new project to train journalists and journalism students in South Sudan, the world's newest country.

The two-year project will see Journalists for Human Rights trainers working alongside South Sudanese journalists to help strengthen media and increase reporting on human rights issues.

"It's the first time that a project has actually brought together all of the media actors in the country," said David De Dau, executive director of South Sudan's Agency for Independent Media and the project's implementing partner. "The skills and the knowledge that journalists gain in terms of covering human rights issues in the country may actually hold the government accountable."

The initiative is supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund and it will also employ SMS technology to increase access to information in South Sudan, where an ongoing internal conflict has made it difficult for journalists to safely do their jobs.

"We're excited to be introducing text messaging as a reporting tool that will help journalists in the capital share important stories with audiences across the country," said Danny Glenwright, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights, who recently travelled to South Sudan to launch the project. "We talked with dozens of journalists who are eager to learn new skills that they can use to help build peace and draw attention to important human rights issues, such as the ongoing food crisis."

The South Sudan project will get its official launch in Canada at Night for Rights, a fundraising gala for Journalists for Human Rights on September 25 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. Lisa LaFlamme, chief anchor at CTV national news, and Masai Ujiri, general manager of the Toronto Raptors, will co-chair the event.

Samuel Awami, of Tanzania's The Citizen newspaper, and the 2014/2015 Gordon N. Fisher/Journalists for Human Rights Fellow at Toronto's Massey College, will give the keynote address. Awami will speak about his experiences working with Journalists for Human Rights trainers to cover major human rights issues in Tanzania.

CBC News Network host Reshmi Nair will emcee the gala, which will also feature performances by Dragonette, the Juno Award-winning Toronto electro-pop band, and Torquil Campbell, lead singer of the Montreal-based indie rock band Stars.

Notes for Editors:

Journalists for Human Rights (www.jhr.ca ) is Canada's leading media development organization. JHR trains journalists to report ethically and effectively on human rights and governance issues in their communities. Since 2002, JHR has trained over 12,500 journalists whose stories have reached over 50 million people.

JHR currently has projects in Jordan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Ontario, and South Sudan.

SOURCE: jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

For further information: Danny Glenwright, Executive Director at danny@jhr.ca, 416 413 0240 ext. 207

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