Portenier bursary competition offers safety training for independent journalists exposing human rights abuses

LONDON, ON, May 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Independent documentary-makers and freelance journalists working to expose human rights abuses can apply for a bursary to help them obtain hostile environment training, more usually made available to journalists working in war zones.

The 2017 Portenier Human Rights Bursary competition, offered by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, opens today and closes on June 15.

The annual bursary, introduced in 2015, is sponsored by the documentary filmmaker Giselle Portenier, whose work on human rights abuses has been internationally acclaimed. 

When the bursary competition was established Ms. Portenier said: "Human rights abuses continue unabated in the 21st  century, and human rights defenders worldwide need the support of journalists and documentarians to help them shine a light on these injustices. Some of the worst abuses are committed against women and children, sometimes as a result of war, but often systematically, in the name of culture and religion.

"The purpose of this bursary is to help ensure the safety of journalists and documentary filmmakers as they expose some of the most egregious abuses of human rights in the world today."  

The bursary provides C$3,000 towards a hostile environment course of the winner's choosing from a range of approved course providers in Canada, the USA or Britain. It is open to qualified independent applicants of any nationality, experienced or novice, working on significant projects for which funding is in place. The rules are available on the Forum's website.

The bursary is awarded by an independent jury with expertise in the field, including a representative of the UK-based Rory Peck Trust, which offers safety training bursaries and other support to freelancers.

Last year's Portenier winner was Eman Helal, an Egyptian photojournalist whose work documents sexual harassment and attacks against women in her country. Applications were received from freelancers and independent documentary-makers in 25 countries.

In 2015 the Portenier was won by Jason O'Hara, a Toronto filmmaker working on a documentary about abuses in the clearance of favelas in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Portenier herself is currently making what she says may be her most important film yet. In The Name Of Your Daughter is a documentary that will give a voice to some of the most courageous girls in the world: Tanzanian children who risk their lives to stand up for their human rights and avoid female genital mutilation and child marriage. 

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is a charity whose work is supported by The Globe and Mail, CBC News, Radio-Canada, CNW Group and by individual donors. 

Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

For further information: See the Forum's website www.journalismforum.ca or contact Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, ‪1-519 852-4946, jane.hawkes@journalismforum.ca


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