MEDIA CALL: Journalists for Human Rights to welcome Rodney Sieh of FrontPageAfrica newspaper, Ahmed Hussen, MP of York South Weston, CTV News' Lisa LaFlamme, Deputy Minister Deb Matthews, Indigenous Affairs Minister David Zimmer, Northern Ontario's Midnight Shine and media personalities to Night for Rights fundraising gala

TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Tonight, Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) will celebrate the transformative power of human rights journalism at its annual Night for Rights gala in Toronto.

Lisa LaFlamme, chief anchor at CTV national news, Masai Ujiri, general manager of the Toronto Raptors, Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star, Troy Reeb, head of news at Global News, Karyn Pugliese, news director at Aboriginal People's Television Network will co-chair the event, which will be hosted by Kayla Hounsell of CTV News Atlantic and Sandie Benitah of CP24.

The evening's keynote speaker is Rodney Sieh, a JHR media partner and international press freedom hero for his work covering corruption in Liberia and this year's Gordon N. Fisher/JHR fellow at Massey College.

"I am a living witness to the power of JHR's work," said Sieh. "Canada, like a lot of international partners dole out millions of dollars in aid to countries like Liberia each year. This is where we come as journalists, the unsolicited gatekeepers simply ensuring that aid monies reach the intended targets - the poor and needy."

Rachel Pulfer, JHR's executive director, will relate stories from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, and provide a sneak peek at two new projects in South Africa and with journalists from Syria.

"We have JHR-trained journalists in South Sudan, the Middle East and across the Democratic Republic of the Congo doing this important and dangerous work," said Pulfer. "They are using skills they learned from JHR trainers to document stories from the worst hit areas." 

The focus of the evening is the Indigenous Reporters Program, and the launch of Buried Voices: Changing Tones, a new report documenting how well media is covering Indigenous issues in Canada. We'll also be giving out our second annual Human Rights Reporting Prize.

Journalists for Human Rights to launch new study assessing Indigenous media coverage

Journalists for Human Rights is set to launch a second report on Indigenous media coverage in Ontario when it hosts its annual Night For Rights gala this evening.

Buried Voices: Changing Tones is the follow up to the initial 2013 Buried Voices study and examines media coverage of Indigenous communities in Ontario from June 2013 to March 2016.

The new study shows that although Indigenous people continue to be underrepresented in Ontario's online and print outlines, there has been some significant changes.

The report includes contributions and analysis from media and Indigenous experts, including APTN's Jorge Barrera, CBC's Duncan McCue and Connie Walker, Toronto Star's Tanya Talaga. The report will be made available at the venue, and online on Friday, Oct. 7.

Background:

The first Buried Voices report was released in September 2013. It showed that although Indigenous people make up 2 per cent of the province's overall population, they represented only 0.28 per cent of overall media stories between 2010 and 2012 – seven times less than what should be proportionally represented. The tone of the coverage was also measured and showed that the negative outweighed the positive: a three-year average of 33 per cent negative compared to 23 per cent positive. Most of the negative stemmed from editorials on Idle No More. That report covered June 2010 - May 2013.

The findings established a baseline for JHR to begin its pilot project, called the Northern Ontario Initiative, where it sent journalists to six First Nations in northern Ontario for three months to train community members on journalism skills.

The success of that pilot led to the launch of our three-year Indigenous Reporters Program in 2015, which aims to increase the quality and quantity of Indigenous voices in Canadian media. More than 800 non-Indigenous journalists and journalism students have been trained on best practices for reporting on Indigenous people. And of twenty internships held with media partners eight Indigenous journalists have obtained employment.

The first Buried Voices study was referenced in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's final report last year. By enabling Indigenous people to be the custodians of their own stories, the Indigenous Reporters Program helps to implements its recommendations.

JHR is hosting a Night for Rights media call with some of the evening's co-chairs and speakers at 5:50pm at the Arcadian Court at 401 Bay Street on the eighth floor.

-Thank you to CNW for sponsoring this release-

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 14,500 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, with a pilot set to launch in South Africa in 2017.

SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)

For further information: please contact Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director at 416 413 0240 ext. 206, 647 892 9673 (mobile) or rachel@jhr.ca

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