Journalists for Human Rights Recognizes Human Rights Reporting Around the World

At its annual gala, Canada's leading media development organization recognized journalists in Sierra Leone and Northern Ontario for their work on human rights stories.

TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - In its eleventh year, Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), Canada's leading media development organization, celebrated its largest event ever at Night for Rights, a celebration of human rights journalism on September 26th.

More than 300 of Canada's top journalists, media executives, business and political leaders gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario to recognize the accomplishments of journalists from Sierra Leone to Northern Ontario.

Mike Metatawabin, Chair of Wawatay Native Communications Society, spoke first. He reflected on JHR's partnership with Wawatay to train and publish Aboriginal journalists from Northern Ontario.

"It is important for Wawatay Native Communications Society, a 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and operated organization, to partner with Journalists for Human Rights," explained Metatawabin. "We are proud that this project is transferring journalism skills and the principles of fair and balanced reporting to our communities and working to strengthen the relationship between local aboriginal reporters and mainstream Canadian media."

The evening also recognized Amara Bangura, a Sierra Leonean journalist and the 2013-2014 Gordon N. Fisher-JHR Fellow at Massey College, whose career was shaped by training from JHR.

"The JHR model of training is one of the best that I received as a journalist," Bangura said. "I would be where I am today had I not had the opportunity to sit by JHR journalism trainers for up to eight months each and learn from them."

Rounding out the night, journalist and JHR Sierra Leone Country Director Yeama Thompson, spoke about JHR's work to empower female journalists and ensure so-called 'women's' issues - health, education, gender-based violence and child welfare - are firmly on the public agenda in her country.

"As a Sierra Leonean and former newspaper editor, I am delighted to be here, to create awareness of and support for the work JHR is doing in Sierra Leone, said Thompson. "This work brings lasting change by strengthening the voices and professional capacities of journalists, and particularly female journalists, both across my country and around the world."

The ceremony was hosted by Dawna Friesen, Global News Anchor and Executive Editor. John Fraser, Master of Massey College, was recognized for his long-time support of JHR's work.

Rachel Pulfer, JHR Executive Director closed the evening with brief remarks. "This is work that expands perceptions of what is possible - for the better," said Pulfer. "Working with journalists, JHR helps to open up public space for discussion of issues - surfacing practical, local solutions to tough problems."

JHR thanks sponsors Accenture, Global News, The Toronto Star, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Rogers, CBC News, and Scribble Live. Thanks also to CTV News, The Canadian Press, The Globe and Mail, The Donner Foundation, The Asper Family Foundation, BMO, Lerners, Blake's, TD, High Road Communications, Steam Whistle Brewery, Derek and Adrienne Fisher, John Honderich, Ian Delaney, Michael MacMillan and Cathy Spoel, Tom Kierans and Mary Janigan and Massey College for their support, among many others.

Notes for Editors:

Journalists for Human Rights ( ) 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. Since 2002, JHR has trained over 12,000 journalists whose stories have reached over 50 million people.

JHR currently has projects in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Tanzania, and Northern Ontario.

SOURCE: jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

For further information:

Claire Hastings, JHR's Director of Community Engagement at, 416 413 0240 ext. 206

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jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

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