JHR and the OFIFC launch a province-wide Indigenous media workshop series

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2015 /CNW/ - Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) are partnering to run a series of workshops to bring Indigenous communities and journalists together. 

Friendship Centres throughout Ontario will host the workshops, which will provide Indigenous community members and journalists an opportunity to discuss challenges they face when working together and identify solutions to improve communication and relationships between the two groups.

Workshops are being held in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Sudbury and North Bay from February 27 through March 9. JHR and the OFIFC will also facilitate workshops in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Toronto later in 2015.

"We are pleased that Journalists for Human Rights acknowledges the need to better inform those that inform the public on Indigenous issues.  Communities that work together must better understand each other and through the media this can be accomplished," said Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

"Indigenous issues continue to be misrepresented in Canadian media, even as stories about Indigenous people are increasingly in the headlines," said Danny Glenwright, executive director of JHR. "The challenge is providing accurate and fact-based news, as well as fresh angles and perspectives to stories about entrenched human rights issues and inequalities. I'm proud to say this project is tackling this issue and bringing these stories to light."

The workshop series is part of JHR's Indigenous Reporters Program, a three-year initiative to increase the quality and quantity of news stories about Indigenous people, culture and issues in Canadian media. In addition to the workshops, the program is providing 18 scholarships to Indigenous journalism students across Canada, coordinating 18 paid internships for emerging Indigenous reporters, and providing media literacy training and journalism skills training in 10 Indigenous communities in northern Ontario.   Workshops will be co-facilitated by Friendship Centre staff that have also engaged other Aboriginal organizations inviting them to attend the sessions. 

By 2017, the Indigenous Reporters Program will expand the workshop series to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, further improving national and local coverage of Indigenous issues in Canadian media.  

About JHR

Journalist for Human Rights (JHR) is Canada's leading media development organization. Through skills training and mentorship, JHR empowers journalists to report ethically and effectively on local human rights issues that would otherwise be ignored and unaddressed.

Since 2002, JHR has trained more than 13,000 journalists in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Canada.

About OFIFC:

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres represents the collective interests of the 28 Friendship Centres in Ontario that provide services in the areas of education, employment, culture, health, social enterprise and well-being to the urban Aboriginal population from Atikokan to Windsor. Friendship Centres are status blind, mandated to serve all Aboriginal people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, origin, age, disability or marital status.

SOURCE jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

For further information: JHR contact: Miles Kenyon at miles@jhr.ca or 416-413-0240 ext 209; OFIFC contact: Kelly Patrick at kpatrick@ofifc.org or 416-956-7575, Ext. 278

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