TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - On November 17th, 2012 Sierra Leone will hold the third democratic election since the end of its devastating civil war in 2002. Please watch this video to learn more about the effects the 2012 election is having on media in the country. http://www.jhr.ca/en/sled.php
Given the vital role media plays in setting the tone of an election, the presence of Canada's leading media development organization, Journalist's for Human Rights (JHR), could mean the difference between a peaceful election or a return to violence.
JHR has been working in Sierra Leone since 2007, training local journalists on how to report on politics and elections accurately and fairly.
A reporter with Awoko newspaper, Betty Milton was promoted to Head of the Elections Unit after receiving JHR training. "We don't want to go back to where we came from," she said, "We need JHR here to help train journalists on how to cover the elections."
For the first time in Sierra Leone's recent history, the 2012 election will have no direct intervention from the UN peacekeeping mission. Without international oversight the election process is unpredictable and violence and political instability are likely.
JHR has a strong track record in Sierra Leone. During the 2008 election, JHR's staff was praised by Ibrahim Seibureh, Editor in Chief of national daily the Concord Times, with keeping the tone of election coverage balanced and fair, as well as by international elections observers and other actors.
The result was a bloodless transfer of power for the first time in Sierra Leone's post-war history.
On October 1st Journalists for Human Rights launched the Sierra Leone Election Drive to raise awareness of the upcoming presidential elections in Sierra Leone and to raise funds to continue JHR's journalist training programs in the country.
To view JHR's short video about the need to keep elections coverage balanced in Sierra Leone, or to find out more information about the campaign, please visit http://www.jhr.ca/en/sled.php
JHR (Journalists for Human Rights) is Canada's leading media development organization. Our goal - to make everyone in the world fully aware of their rights - is as unique as it is powerful. Since JHR's founding in 2002 the organization has worked tirelessly to strengthen independent media in sub-Saharan Africa by building the capacity of local journalists to report ethically and effectively on human rights and good governance issues. JHR's work ensures the media can play its rightful role as a referee between state and civil society.
The more people are aware and free to discuss human rights, the more they will hold their governments to account, leading to improved public services, less corruption, better economic opportunities and stronger democratic processes.
Between 2002 and 2010, JHR has:
- Run programs in 17 Sub-Saharan countries.
- Trained over 12,000 professional African journalists and students.
- Partnered with over 250 African media organizations.
- Reached an estimated 50 million Africans with human rights information through our local partners.
SOURCE: jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)
For further information:
Robin Pierro, Creative Communications and Program Manager
416 413 0240 ext 201.
JHR can facilitate interviews with our staff on the ground, or with individuals in the media and development sector in Sierra Leone.