JHR Announces their Co-Chairs for Night for Rights 2016!

TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is delighted to announce the dream team of Masai Ujiri, President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors;  Troy Reeb, Senior Vice-President of News, Global; Radio and Station Operations for Corus, Karyn Pugliese,  Executive Director of APTN's award-winning News and Current Affairs programming, Lisa LaFlamme, Chief Anchor and Senior Editor for CTV National News, Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star, and Catherine Cano, Chief Executive Officer of CPAC, Canada's Cable Public Affairs Channel, will host the 2016 annual Night for Rights Gala event as Honorary Co-Chairs.

On October 6, 2016, 350 of Canada's top journalists, media executives, business and political leaders will gather at the Arcadian Court in Toronto to recognize journalists from Northern Ontario to DR Congo, and illustrate the powerful social and development impact of their work.

Last year the event raised more than $140,000 for rights-based journalism programming, with more than 300 guests attending this powerful evening. This year, with programs expanding both in Canada and abroad, JHR targets raising $160,000.

New this year in the co-chair role are Karyn Pugliese and Michael Cooke.

Karyn Pugliese is Executive Director of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), the world's first national aboriginal broadcaster, with a leading team of reporters, video-journalists and technical crews, covering both daily breaking news and investigative journalism. "So far JHR and APTN have worked together for two years training and developing young Aboriginal journalists.  We're excited to expand this partnership into Aboriginal communities where we'll support grassroots journalists using new media. We are deeply grateful JHR is working with us to help educate Canada and achieve reconciliation word by word, story by story, one truth at a time."

Michael Cooke is the editor of the Toronto Star. Prior to leading the Star's editorial team, he has also held the editor-in-chief role at the Vancouver Province, the Chicago Sun-Times (twice), and the New York Post. Cooke has travelled extensively in Africa in the last five years, most notably doing pro-bono work for the Canadian-based Journalists For Human Rights foundation. He has given journalism seminars in many countries, with longer stays in Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia and has recently become a videographer.   "No democracy without a free press … no press free without a democracy," Cooke says. "That just about sums up what JHR's folks are working towards abroad, especially in countries such as South Sudan, which has a democracy about as fragile as it gets."

Masai Ujiri is the President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors. He recently led the Raptors to their best season ever. "The positive impact of the training from Journalists for Human Rights has been very encouraging and I am honoured to be able to lend my support to their important work in any way I can," he said. ‎"Africa has the potential to become one of the greatest continents in the world and the work of JHR will play an important role in making that dream a reality."

As head of news and local broadcasting for Corus Entertainment, Troy Reeb oversees a team of 1,800 staff across 39 radio stations, 15 conventional television stations, the BC-1 all news specialty channel, Globalnews.ca and dozens of local websites dedicated to news and entertainment information. A former political reporter and Washington Bureau Chief for Global, Reeb was promoted to the network's top news job in 2008 and assumed oversight of all station operations two years later. He added the Corus Radio portfolio to his responsibilities earlier this year. Troy is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, the Provincial Awards Celebrating Excellence and numerous industry honours. He currently serves on the board of Journalists for Human Rights.

"It's an honour to co-chair this year's Night for Rights gala" said Reeb, "which has grown quickly to become one of Canada's pre-eminent journalism fundraisers.  As a small and nimble organization with connections worldwide, JHR punches significantly above its weight. Night for Rights will showcase its incredible success in helping to foster independent journalism to support democracy and human rights."

Lisa LaFlamme is the anchor of CTV News' nightly broadcast - the most watched national news programme in Canada. She is also the winner of multiple RTDNA and Canadian Screen Awards, and a powerful advocate for providing voices to those who need their stories told.  

"To me, the work that JHR does, particularly at this time of global tumult is critically important. Spreading press freedom, education and holding the powerful to account is the biggest step in building democracy," she said. "I have had the privilege of working with these brave journalists and have seen first hand their dedication to helping others shine a light onto the darkness of corruption and help make positive change."

Catherine Cano has more than 30 years' experience in the journalism industry, reporting on the conflict in Middle East, the U.S. Presidential Elections, and the Olympic Games. She has been honoured as one of the top 100 most powerful women in 2012 by the Women's Executive Network, won two Geminis Awards, and is a recipient of the Michener-Deacon Fellowship. Her passion and commitment for human rights journalism is a big asset to JHR.

"As a healthy state of journalism is paramount to a healthy democracy, JHR's work has become crucial in countries transitioning to democracy, "said Cano.  The organization helps journalists get all the necessary tools to tell the stories and make sure their governments are held accountable."

With the support of this incredible team of visionary leaders, JHR is gearing up for their biggest event yet. With the goal to raise more than $160,000 for human rights media programs, the gala will draw an elite crowd of journalists, lawyers, politicians and businessmen and women from around the world united by one cause – a stronger, freer press.

"Night 4 Rights is JHR's once-a-year opportunity to gather our dynamic community together in celebration of the extraordinary things that happen when courageous journalists tackle tough human rights stories," said Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. "With Masai, Troy, Karyn, Lisa, Michael and Catherine as Honorary Co-Chairs, supported by an incredible team, we are anticipating our best night ever."

Free press is often taken for granted, but is a necessary platform for human rights. JHR recognizes this platform by training journalists to create a change towards freedom of expression and fair reporting.

About Journalists for Human Rights
Journalists for Human Rights is a Toronto-based organization that aims to empower journalists to provide objective and ethical reporting on human rights issues. JHR has operated in 23 countries and trained more than 13,000 journalists and journalism students on rights-based reporting, with more than 50 million people impacted by human rights stories from JHR-trained journalists. Night for Rights is their annual benefit gala to support these programs. More information about JHR can be found at: www.jhr.ca. Gala tickets can be purchased at: night4rights.com.

-  Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement  -

SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)

For further information: Media Inquiries: Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, Journalists for Human Rights, Tel: 416-413-0240, E-mail: rachel@jhr.ca

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