Journalists for Human Rights is receiving an $11.7-million boost from the federal government to support media training initiatives in Africa and the Middle East.
International Development Minister Maryam Monsef made the announcement at Corus Entertainment headquarters in Toronto on Friday.
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) provides learning and mentorship opportunities for reporters as part of a mission to promote awareness of human rights around the world. It operates programs in countries such as Syria, South Sudan, Mali, Jordan, as well as with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
The new federal funding will support the launch of JHR’s “Canada World: Voice for Women and Girls” project in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya.
Canadian media will team up with local outlets in those areas to strengthen coverage of human-rights issues, particularly for women and girls. The initiative also seeks to promote public engagement and the participation of women and children in public life.
“There has never been a media development program that has harnessed such an impressive range of top media companies and minds to protect women and girls, while reinforcing Canada’s strong commitment to the freedom of the press worldwide,” Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights, said in a statement.
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Monsef, who is also the minister responsible for women’s rights, said that women “must feel empowered to raise their voices” in order for gender equality to become a reality.
“Women bring a unique perspective and voice to anything they do and this is no different in the media sector,” she said in a statement. “When women’s voices are heard, different stories start to be told. We get closer to hearing the whole story.”
“Corus is honoured to have Global News join JHR and our fellow media partners as we offer support for the independence of journalists throughout the world,” Troy Reeb, Corus’ executive vice-president, broadcast networks, said in a statement.
“Democracy depends on freedom of expression, the exchange of diverse ideas and fact-based accountability.”
Corus Entertainment/Global News, The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Bell Media/CTV News, CBC, La Presse, and the National Post are among the news outlets that have partnered with JHR on the project.