Five freelance journalists win hostile environment training bursaries

 

LONDON, ON, July 27, 2015 /CNW/ - On behalf of us all, they cover news, take pictures, make documentaries and seek understanding in some of the most dangerous places on Earth – such as Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Brazil, Pakistan, Ukraine and Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone.

They are freelancers, working independently without many of the protections major news organizations provide for their staff.

Now five more of them will attend specialized hostile environment training (HET) courses, with help from the Forum Freelance Fund, a project of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.  

Jason O'Hara, a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker, is the inaugural winner of the Portenier Human Rights Bursary, which pays up to $3,000 towards HET. Ashley Hamer, Paul Hergesheimer, Kiran Nazish, and Yves Choquette won bursaries of up to $2,500 each. All were chosen by an independent jury including journalists with significant experience of working in the world's hot spots. 

Jason O'Hara has been working since 2010 on a feature-length documentary about the forced clearance of Brazilian favelas before the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. His work has also appeared on CBC's the fifth estate and The Nature of Things.

Giselle Portenier, who sponsors the new bursary for independent journalists and filmmakers working to uncover human rights abuses, said: "I am delighted that Jason O'Hara has been chosen as the first annual recipient of this award. O'Hara has already proven his commitment to human rights journalism and has faced personal violence in his efforts to enfranchise favela dwellers in Rio De Janeiro."

She added: "I hope that this bursary will help him stay safe, keep his subjects safe, keep his material safe, and ultimately, give voice to people who need to be heard."

Ashley Hamer is currently based in Juba, South Sudan. Just two years out of journalism school in Britain, she covers Sudan's civil war for several international news organizations, including Al-Jazeera English and Agence France Presse (AFP). She has also covered fighting in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.

Vancouver-based Joshua Hergesheimer has freelanced for several Canadian media organizations, including the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Observer, Georgia Straight and The Globe and Mail.  His work has taken him to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Guatemala, reporting on the human impact of conflict.

Kiran Nazish, from Pakistan, works out of Erbil, in Northern Iraq, for a range of news organizations including Al-Jazeera English and the New York Times. She has covered conflict and humanitarian issues from various parts of the South Asia and the Middle East, including Kobani, Syria.

Yves Choquette, based in Montreal, is an experienced Canadian photographer who has covered conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East. His work is sold through international photo agencies.

Bursary winners choose HET courses available from nine approved providers in Canada, the USA, Britain and Kenya. The bursary competition has been held each year since 2011, for most of that time in cooperation with the UK-based Rory Peck Trust.

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada and CNW Group. It is also supported by individual donations. The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is sponsored in general by The Globe and Mail.

Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

Image with caption: "Canadian documentary filmmaker Jason O’Hara, who had been filming a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro before the 2014 World Cup final, receives emergency treatment after being beaten and kicked by police, who stole one of his cameras and broke another. O’Hara is the inaugural winner of the Portenier Human Rights Bursary for safety training from the Forum Freelance Fund. Photo credit: Bernardo Guerreiro/Midia Ninja Collective. (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458655.jpg

Image with caption: "Ashley Hamer (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458646.jpg

Image with caption: "Jason O'Hara (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458648.jpg

Image with caption: "Joshua Hergesheimer (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458651.jpg

Image with caption: "Kiran Nazish (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458653.jpg

Image with caption: "Yves Choquette (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150727_C7635_PHOTO_EN_458657.jpg

For further information: Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, 1-519 852-4946, jane.hawkes@journalismforum.ca


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