LONDON, ON, Sept. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Three more freelancers working in dangerous conditions for Canadian and other media have been awarded safety training bursaries by the Forum Freelance Fund.
"All three are highly deserving individuals our independent jury found to be excellent candidates," said Cliff Lonsdale, President of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, which runs the fund.
Irris Makler has been freelancing for CBC from dangerous places since 2004. She has filed for the network from Jerusalem, Gaza, Baghdad and Kabul. She was one of the first journalists to enter Afghanistan after 9/11, covering US air strikes and the fall of Kabul. She also files for France 24, Deutsche Welle radio, ABC Australia and US National Public Radio, among others.
Makler's jaw was broken in three places when she was hit in the face by a rock while covering a riot in Old Jerusalem in October 2009. In her bursary application, she wrote: "My friends who are staff correspondents say these courses really can save your life, making you re-think safety from the ground up."
Valérian Mazataud is a Montreal-based photographer and reporter who has been freelancing abroad since 2009. He has recently been covering Syrian refugees and the consequences of the Syrian civil war on neighboring countries. He has also covered unrest in the West Bank, Kenya, Iran and Egypt, as well as the earthquake in Haiti. His work has appeared in Le Devoir, La Presse and L'Actualité, among other publications.
Mazataud credits his extensive travel experience with helping to keep him out of trouble so far, although he was beaten with sticks by a crowd during the Egyptian revolution and narrowly escaped being shot in the leg by an inexperienced tribesman in Kenya, whom he was photographing handling a machine gun.
Daniel Otis, a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, has been working in Cambodia for two years, with no formal journalism training.
"Some of the more dangerous assignments I've worked on include shadowing a landmine clearance team along the Cambodian-Thai frontier for The Globe and Mail, sneaking into Burma's beleaguered Rakhine state to report on the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims for the Toronto Star, and spending a week on patrol with a team of armed forest rangers in southwestern Cambodia to write about illegal logging and the international wildlife trade for the Southeast Asia Globe," he told the selection panel.
"When we see applications of this caliber," Lonsdale said, "it renews our determination to keep trying to put the same kind of safety training staffers get within the reach of the freelance community, which plays an increasingly important role in Canadian newsgathering. "
Two of the winners will attend a course at Columbia Journalism School, and one will attend a commercial safety course. Two will also receive extra bursaries from the UK-based Rory Peck Trust, which has a representative on the FFF jury.
"This continues a very important co-operation with Rory Peck Trust that we established last year," said Lonsdale.
The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, CNW and individual donations.
Image with caption: "Daniel Otis (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130911_C6097_PHOTO_EN_30676.jpg
Image with caption: "Irris Makler (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130911_C6097_PHOTO_EN_30678.jpg
Image with caption: "Valerian Mazataud (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130911_C6097_PHOTO_EN_30680.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma
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