JHR Co-Founders Ben Peterson and Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque Honoured by Canadian Governor-General David Johnston for Meritorious Service

Co-founders recognized for their work launching Journalists for Human Rights, Canada's leading media development organization

TORONTO, Dec. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Journalists for Human Rights (www.jhr.ca) is delighted to announce that Canada's Governor-General David Johnston has awarded JHR co-founders Ben Peterson and Alexandra Sicotte Levesque the Meritorious Service Medal for their work founding Journalists for Human Rights.

Created in 1991, the medal is intended to recognize individuals – both Canadian and foreign – who have carried out meritorious acts bringing benefit and honour to Canada. Recipients earn the ability to use the letters MSM after their name.

Being awarded the MSM is among the highest honours that a Canadian civilian can receive. Said Peterson: "I want share this great honour with everyone that has made JHR what it is - donors, staff, volunteers, partners - united in our passion for human rights journalism."

"This medal is a tribute to the people who stood by us when we were two young people with only an idea in our pockets, and to those passionate journalists, volunteers and staff in Canada and abroad who have made JHR the organization it is today," said Sicotte-Levesque. 

"Nearly 14 years later, we are seeing more than ever how media is a powerful tool for social change---but with the growing number of crises around the world, we are also witnessing how grave human rights violations are aggravating these crises. JHR's role today may be more important than it ever was."

 "JHR is thrilled to see Ben Peterson and Alex Sicotte-Levesque so recognized for their extraordinary work launching Journalists for Human Rights – a Canadian media development pioneer that has since become an international phenomenon," said JHR's Executive Director Rachel Pulfer.

JHR has grown from an idea, developed by Peterson and Sicotte-Levesque over MSN-messenger between Toronto and Montreal, into a global Canadian success story and international pioneer in media development across three key regions: sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Canada.

The organization has built a powerful reputation worldwide for its courageous and innovative work strengthening media, an essential institution in advancing democracy.

"Ben and Alex are two of Canada's finest," said Pulfer, "and this medal is richly deserved."

Notes for Editors:

Journalists for Human Rights (www.jhr.ca) is Canada's leading media development organization. JHR helps journalists build their capacity to report ethically and effectively on human rights and governance issues in their communities. JHR started work in Ghana since 2003. The organization has since scaled its work across Africa, the Middle East and Northern Canada. Currently, the organization runs projects in Northern Canada with Indigenous journalists, supported by the J. M. W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and RBC Foundation; in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Flatley Family Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation; in South Sudan, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund; and in Jordan, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund and the Donner Canadian Foundation.  

Since 2002, JHR has trained over 12,500 journalists whose stories have reached over 50 million people.

SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)

For further information: please contact Hannah Clifford at hannah@jhr.ca or 416 413 0240 (office).

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