Another chance for freelancers in danger

LONDON, ON, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Freelance journalists who work under dangerous conditions are to get another chance to win bursaries to help with hazardous environment training.  The Forum Freelance Fund will award bursaries of up to $2,500 each.  Applications for the third annual competition close at the end of August.

The Forum Freelance Fund is a project of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, an educational charity concerned with the physical and emotional wellbeing of journalists.

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, Canada News Wire, Macintosh Media and by individual contributions.  Last year it awarded bursaries to freelancers based in Afghanistan, Tunisia, China and Colombia. Three were Canadian and all four contributed to Canadian media.

"We will be continuing the very successful co-operation we established last year with the Rory Peck Trust," said Forum president Cliff Lonsdale.  "Three of our winners last year benefitted from additional funding from the Trust, which is based in the UK and supports freelance camera people world-wide."

According to the International News Safety Institute, a record 152 journalists and media workers were killed worldwide in 2012 because of their work.  Twenty-eight were killed in Syria alone.  An increasing number of those who died in conflict zones were working on a freelance basis, many without the training and support systems afforded to regular employees.

"This situation should be a concern for every media organization," said Lonsdale, "not just the ones that already have an excellent record in this area. If organizations don't feel able to support every freelance they use, at least they can contribute to this kind of independent fund to help with some of the most pressing cases."

Most of those affected were young people trying to make their name in an increasingly tough environment, he said. Many didn't have the necessary resources or training to meet basic safety needs.

The Forum Freelance Fund competition is run in two streams. In one, freelancers apply for bursaries up to $2,500 to help them attend courses provided by any of five approved commercial trainers in the US and UK, all of whom offer discounted rates.   This year TYR Solutions joins AKE, Centurion, Pilgrims Group and Tor International on the list of approved commercial course providers.

The other stream is for bursaries up to $1,000 to attend a lower-priced course - Reporting Safely in Crisis Zones - at the Columbia Journalism School in New York , October 18-20, 2013.

Selections in both streams are made by an independent panel, including a representative of the Rory Peck Trust.

Full application details are available on the Forum's website: http://journalismforum.fims.uwo.ca

SOURCE: Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

For further information:

Media enquiries to Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, at 519-473-6434 or journalismforum@rogers.com


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