TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2018 /CNW/ - Journalists for Human Rights is pleased to announce the short list of 4 finalists for this year's JHR Award for Achievement in Human Rights Reporting.
The finalists for this year's awards are (in no particular order):
Anne Mehler Paperny – Thomson Reuters
Anna Mehler Paperny has been nominated for her dogged reporting for Reuters on Canadian justice and immigration. Her exclusive investigation into Ontario's bail system, published in October 2017, found dramatic racial disparities in the lengths of time people spend behind bars awaiting trial. In short, Mehler Paperny's reporting showed that black people in Ontario spend more time behind bars awaiting trial than white people charged with the same crimes.
Jayme Poisson and David Bruser – The Toronto Star
Jayme Poisson and David Bruser have been nominated for their investigation looking at mercury contamination in the Grassy Narrows First Nation. While the story of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows was first reported in the 1960s and 1970s when a pulp and paper mill dumped 10 tonnes of the neurotoxin into the English River, it wasn't until Jayme Poisson and David Bruser began their investigation in the spring of 2016 that the story gained traction. In January 2017, they traveled to Grassy Narrows where they dug holes on the mill property uncovering hard evidence. This eventually led to the provincial government announce a historic $85 million river clean-up and the federal government announcing it will help build a new $5 million care home for those suffering from mercury poisoning.
Brendan Kennedy – The Toronto Star
Brendan Kennedy has been nominated for his relentless reporting on immigration detention. He has not only shed important light on a system that exists in the shadows, but has also led to tangible change. Kennedy's initial, wide-ranging investigation into immigration detention in Canada, published in March 2017, exposed the injustices of a system that keeps non-citizens indefinitely locked up in conditions meant for a criminal population. In all the stories he tells, Kennedy has given voice to people who have been ignored or actively silenced by Canada's immigration and justice systems. His work exposed institutional indifference and forced governments to account.
Paula Simons – The Edmonton Journal
Paula Simons has been nominated for her investigation and reporting of the life and death of Serenity, a four-year-old Cree child who died after suffering horrific abuse while in "kinship" foster care in late 2016. Simons not only reported on the initial incident, but went above and beyond to create a relationship of trust with Serenity's mother and continued to push authorities to investigate the circumstances of the little girl's death. Over the course of 2017, the story evolved to be less about politics and more about the courageous efforts of Serenity's mother to hold the police and the Crown to account. With sensitivity and respect, Simons gave voice and agency to this young First Nations woman, as she documented the mother's fight to get justice for her lost chioice. In October 2017, a charge was finally laid against Serenity's two legal guardians.
This year's jury was overwhelmed by the quality of writing, rich context, and depth of narrative in all of the short-listed submissions.
The JHR Award for Achievement in Human Rights Reporting was first presented in 2015 as a way to celebrate journalists who have made a significant contribution to human rights journalism. Previous winners include Christiane Amanpour of CNN (2015), Paul Barnsley of APTN (2016), and Sara Mojtehedzadeh (2017).
Award winners receive public recognition, a cash prize, and the opportunity to participate as an expert mentor on a JHR trip to an existing JHR project of their choice.
Tickets for this year's JHR Gala can be purchased here.
Winners will be announced at Night for Rights, taking place October 1, 2018.
Journalists for Human Rights
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is Canada's leading media development organization. We train journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities. When the media puts a spotlight on human rights, people start talking about the issues and demanding change. A strong, independent media is a referee between governments and citizens. When human rights are protected, governments are more accountable and people's lives improve.
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Note for editors
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For further information: Media contact: Janine deVries, Director of Operations, Communications + Research, Journalists for Human Rights [email protected], Phone: 416 413 0240, ext 210