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

JHR Expands Project in Jordan

Media trainers work on a group assignment during the first advanced human rights reporting training session held in Amman on December 3 - 4JHR is pleased to announce that the project Increased Citizen Dialogue through Strengthened Media in Jordan will expand with support from the United Nations Democracy Fund.

JHR's project  works with journalists in Jordan to cover human rights stories and increase public awareness of local issues.

The expanded project will use data journalism tools and techniques to help reporters cover local human rights stories more effectively. Journalists will use the Maidan app, a JHR-developed crowd-sourcing smart phone tool to collect data for their stories.

The expanded project will run over two years in partnership with the Jordan Media Institute and Community Media Network, and with pre-existing support from the US Middle East Partnership Initiative. 

Learn more about JHR's work in Jordan.

Photo: Media trainers work on a group assignment during an advanced human rights reporting training workshop in Amman on December 3 - 4


 


Fighting Ebola in Liberia – frontline reporting in a crisis

 Kolubah Akoi didn’t start out to be a hero.

But when the Ebola crisis hit Lofa County in Northern Liberia in July, instead of fleeing, the JHR-trained journalist decided to stay and report on the impacts of the devastating disease.

Kolubah credits his JHR training for giving him both the skills and the courage to stay and report on the epidemic.

“I said to myself, I was trained as a Human Rights Journalist, trained to serve humanity,” he explains. “As a Human Rights trained journalist, there are human rights issues that need to be reported and if I leave who will inform the world?"

Read Kolubah's story and learn how he is using JHR training to bring vital public health information to people in rural Liberia. 


 Image courtesy of Kolubah Akoi
 

Night for Rights Gala raises more than $100,000 for JHR!  

Last month, at the Night for Rights GalaJHR supproters raised more than $100,000 to support strong human rights journalism and JHR programs around world. 

JHR-trained reporters from Kinshasa to Beirut, from Juba to northern Ontario, are covering local human rights stories that change lives. And we couldn't support them without our amazing sponsors and the JHR community. Thank you for helping to put human rights in headlines!

See more photos from Night for Rights. Check out the Gala website.