jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)
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jhr and Media Development
Media development is a relatively underdeveloped sector of international development. Less than 0.5% of all international development efforts are media related. This is a shame.

Media development — and in particular Rights Media - is a necessary and vital component of all international development efforts. Without a thriving local journalism sector, there can be no effective means of communication between citizens and their governments. Good governance and respect for human rights depends on effective media that has the ability to create and inspire real change.

Our approach to media development sets us apart from traditional 'First Generation' media development organizations that focus on freedom of expression and the protection of journalists (e.g. Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Article 19)

jhr falls under the umbrella of 'Second Generation' media development. These organizations focus on strengthening the local media in countries with some level of freedom in the press. 'Second Generation' media development can be split into the following four separate categories:
  1. Infrastructure Building: These organizations tend to build media infrastructure where none previously existed. For example, Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE) helped to build a printing press in Sierra Leone. Similarly, IMPACS built a radio station and a newspaper aimed at a female audience in Afghanistan.

  2. Content Production: These organizations focus on producing and distributing content that is aimed at creating some social gain. Generally, content is centrally produced and is then distributed to partner media organizations free of charge. Farm Radio International produces and distributes material relating to agricultural practices. Search for Common Ground produces material aimed at conflict resolution and distributes it to partner media organizations in countries like Sierra Leone.

  3. Training: These organizations focus on building the skills of journalism practitioners to do their jobs more effectively. This approach generally focuses on working with pre-existing media houses that have demonstrated sustainability. It also insures that local journalists are the ones producing content within the realties of their newsrooms. The BBC World Service Trust and the Institute of War and Peace Reporting focus on this area of media development.

  4. Rights Media: This is a new category of media development created by jhr. Rights Media combines capacity building efforts with a specific communication objective. In jhr's case, we build the capacity of local journalists to report more effectively on human rights, social justice and good governance issues. Rights Media provides local journalism practitioners with the skills to affect change on specific issues.

    Rights Media bridges a sometimes contentious divide between two camps in the sector: traditional 'media development' proponents and 'communication for development' practitioners. The former of the two focuses on developing infrastructure and professional capacity of media professionals and outlets. The latter focuses on getting particular messages into the public domain through the media. Rights Media does both — it focuses on building capacity of local media outlets to effectively get messages to the general public.
 
CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES
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CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

Building bridges between Indigenous communities and journalists 

JHR and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres are partnering on a series of workshops to bring Indigenous communities and journalists together.  

Friendship Centres throughout Ontario will host the workshops, which will provide Indigenous community members and journalists opportunities to discuss challenges they face when working together and identify solutions to improve communication and relationships between the two groups.
 
Workshops will be held in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Sudbury and North Bay from February 27 through March 9. JHR and the OFIFC will also facilitate workshops in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Toronto later in 2015. 


Learn more about the workshops