Journalists for Human Rights Holiday Giving Campaign

Media entrepreneurs amplify voices in South Africa

 Teams from the first cohort of the JAMLab smile for a group photo after presenting their ideas at 'Demo Day.' The teams are joined by Lab Director Indra de Lanerolle and JHR's Rachel Pulfer and Hannah Clifford (back row, far left).

Teams from the first cohort of the JAMLab smile for a group photo after presenting their ideas at 'Demo Day.' The teams are joined by Lab Director Indra de Lanerolle and JHR's Rachel Pulfer and Hannah Clifford (back row, far left).


For 15 years, JHR has worked around the world to ensure reporters and citizen journalists have the skills they need to objectively and effectively report on issues affecting their communities and hold duty bearers accountable -- especially young, emerging journalists. In that time, JHR has seen that an independent media that serves its democratic purpose is only possible when it is able to sustain itself. Yet, it is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s disrupted & digital age.

To consider new ideas in media JHR launched, in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand and Ryerson University, the Journalism and Media Lab (JAMLab) this year.

Six teams of young South African journalists and media entrepreneurs worked to imagine new ideas in media, how to reach new audiences and, sustain themselves. To date, three of the six have received funding to continue their work from the South Africa Media Innovation Fund. Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director JHR says “All winning projects are designed to ensure voices of women, girls, township dwellers, and those too-often excluded from coverage in South Africa take their rightful place in the public conversation there.”

The three winning teams work on diverse issues that affect young people such as setting up a financially viable radio and digital platform for women (Soul City), connecting freelance journalists in underreported parts of the country with national newsrooms while improving coverage in rural areas (Media Factory) and delivering local news in local languages through community radio (Volume News).

This holiday season please donate to #GiveYouthAVoice and ensure that media can continue serving it’s democratic purpose and that ALL voices can be heard.


Investigating Torture in Jordan

 Nour with JHR In Country Program Manager & Expert trainer, Mohammed Shamma.

Nour with JHR In Country Program Manager & Expert trainer, Mohammed Shamma.

JHR's annual Human Rights Reporting Award recognizes the best human rights story produced in Jordan each year. The 2017 awards were the best yet - with a record number of applicants and diverse range of topics covered in the submissions. Crucially, many of the strongest pieces were submitted by young, female journalists. 

The first place prize was awarded to Nour Ezz Addin and Amin Otla, from Roya TV who completed a investigative story on torture in Jordan's security centres. The story considers 943 complaints relating to crimes of torture and ill-treatment within the security centers were monitored during the past five years. Only three of those were transferred to the police court for investigation, they are still pending before the courts. Read the story below. Original version in Arabic can be read here. 

Nour used data journalism skills learned in a JHR workshop with CTV's Kaleigh Ambrose to distill the information and assemble her story. Hear more about Nour's story, JHR's impact and her hopes to become a war reporter in the video below. 


Empowering Syrian Journalists 

With support from JHR young Syrian journalists are doing their work getting news to the Syrian people. Watch this video by CTV News .


Youth Creating Change Over the Airwaves in Webequie First Nation

For the past four years, JHR has worked in remote First Nations communities across northern Ontario to provide journalism and media literacy training. This past year, one of the communities we worked with was Webequie First Nation where Leslie Spence began amplifying the voices of youth in the community over the airwaves. In September, he was hired by the Band Council as the Comprehensive Planning Coordinator. Read about Leslie's experience in creating his weekly youth radio show below. 


Q: Why did you get involved in the Indigenous Reporters Program?

Leslie: I was kinda interested about what this journalism was all about. I met Sara who was working in a portable with all the students. So I got involved with journalism. She helped me with doing a youth gathering, for me to put the word out there for those summer students she was working with. [Sara] helped with outline, put on paper what the topics are and such. In the past I used to talk on the radio and help with bingo calling and whatnot. That’s when I realized the radio, there is more to this.

Q: What have you learned through the program?

Leslie: Through this program, I’m learned I know how to run a youth radio show. I know how to put together news bulletins, and put news on social media. And to have a voice. I’m able to empower other people, to be able to do stuff than do the same things over and over.Through this program, I was able to learn how to build news bulletins, learn how the operate the radio show, and gain confidence, to talk about youth related issues around our community.

I’m very honoured to have Sara teach me these things and these skills.

Q: Through the program, you’ve developed a youth radio program. Can you tell us more about it?

Leslie: It’s for the youth, to get the word out, and for the youth to have a voice, and what’s going in the community in relation to the youth. I want to get Elders to talk on the radio, get them to talk about storytelling for the youth, and get the youth to call in too on the air. And from different communities too.

Q: Do youth come on the radio?

Leslie: Every now and then. And we play music, and after my youth radio I have other youth tell me, ‘you did a good show’ or, ‘I liked the music.’

Q: What topics do you talk about on the show?

Leslie: Any youth related issues, what the youth are doing out there. There’s a youth councilor in Summer Beaver, or in Eabametoong. That’s they’re being recognized as a youth council.

Q: What do you plan to do in the future with the skills you’ve learned through the Indigenous Reporters Program?

 Leslie: The skills I’ve developed. I want to inspire people, and get the youth to be empowered. That they can do this, and overcoming their shyness. That you can do what you want to do — positively.

Q: Why do you think it is should we have programs like the Indigenous Reporters Program?

Leslie: It gives the youth empowerment and to have a voice, and to be heard. 

Q: Do you think other communities should have this program?

Leslie: They should. I’m sure there are people out there like me, who are like me who are talkative and very sociable. And who can talk about youth issues. 

Q: Why do you think it is important for all Canadians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to care about this work and working with First Nations communities?

Leslie: It gives a positive perspective on being First Nations. And sometimes you see on the news, you see very negative…they give us a very negative images in the news. People should care about this program because it puts a whole different perspective on First Nations in a positive way. It puts a positive perspective on First Nations. And to empower the youth to be heard.

Anything else you want to say?

Leslie: JHR is awesome.


From internship to job in the media industry. 


An integral part of JHR's Indigenous Reporters Program is the emerging Indigenous reporters internship program where, in partnerships with newsrooms across the country, we offer paid internships to emerging Indigenous reporters to ensure new voices are entering the media industry. 

In the last three years, JHR has coordinated 27 emerging Indigenous reporting internships. 21 interns now have jobs in the media industry. Emilee Gilpin, who interned at the Tyee, earlier this year is one, now working at the National Observer. Read Emilee's reflections below and, to read her stories from her time at the Tyee click here. 


Video left: Emilee Gilpin reflects on her time at the Tyee. Video courtesy of the Tyee.



Q: Describe your involvement in the JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program (IRP):

Emilee:  I was awarded JHR's 'Emerging Indigenous Journalist' award in the new year and moved to unceded Coast Salish territories, otherwise known as Vancouver, in June. I worked for four months as a reporter for the Tyee, an awesome independent news organization. When I arrived at the Tyee, the editor asked me, "What do you want to do in your time here?" and I knew I wanted to do some kind of series that wrote about Indigenous peoples, cultures and communities, in a good way. When I was in grad school for journalism, I created and facilitated workshops around decolonizing journalism, after seeing a lot of harmful teachings and practices passed on. I saw how Indigenous peoples were historically misrepresented or underrepresented by mainstream media and I wanted to be the change in journalism that I longed to see. 

Q: Do you think it is important to have a program like IRP that offers scholarship and internship opportunities to emerging Indigenous reporters? Why?

Emilee:  I do. Indigenous peoples are diverse and complex. What it means for me, as a Saulteaux Cree Métis woman who grew up disconnected from my Indigenous relatives and culture is completely unique to my story. How I find my way back to Indigenous teachings and methodologies is a personal story, but the fact that JHR recognized my work and supported it was a game-changer for me and I think it could be a game-changer for many Indigenous peoples. There are extremely talented and visionary Indigenous peoples, in isolated communities, in cities, spread all across the country. I think it's important to seek out people who are less visible, but also to uphold people who are doing work that strengthens and empowers Indigenous peoples everywhere. Some people need the support because our societies are mismanaged and unequal, while other folks need support because the work they're doing is isolated and daunting. We all have different reasons we need recognition and support, as Indigenous peoples, or as peoples committed to strengthening Indigenous realities and JHR is playing a significant role in restoring justice and healing.


Q: Were the skills and experience you gained through the internship helpful in establishing your journalism career? How so?


Absolutely! It was my first real journalist gig and it was two-fold. Not only did I learn how to be a journalist in the traditional sense, but I got to put my theories and values around journalism to practice. I believe in relationship-based and culturally-safe reporting and this internship gave me the opportunity to push boundaries, challenge norms and see if the work could be done better. I learned from a talented team of seasoned reporters and editors and sharpened my skills in many ways.

Q: Why should people care about and support a program like the Indigenous Reporters Program Internship Program and the work JHR does in the future? 

Emilee:I think people should care and support because it's grounded in finding solutions to very real problems. JHR's commitment to feeding the force of marginalized peoples and fields of work will make things safer, better and more just for the next generation. Nobody chose who they are, what reality they would be born into or the ways in which we are implicated in systems of power. But JHR tries to address some of the inequity and institutionalized injustice that exists and affects people in different ways. JHR is giving a voice to people who are otherwise made silent and visibility to those otherwise made invisible. They are uplifting good work and playing an active role in change and I am grateful for their commitment to Indigenous journalists and journalisms.