Imagine a world where reporters are only paid about 20 dollars a month. A world where sources pay journalists outright for coverage. In that world, human rights abuses rarely make headlines and human rights abusers are almost never caught.
This is the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country with the lowest human development ranking in the world.
As a supporter of Journalists for Human Rights, you have the power to put human rights into the headlines in the Congo. And if you have been following Congo news, you already know the need is urgent.
In November, an army of rebels took control of the eastern city of Goma. Their first action was to shut down newspapers and broadcasters that did not publish their propaganda. Goma journalists continue to work, but they operate in an atmosphere of constant fear.
Ironically, at this crucial moment, funding for the JHR-Congo project is about to run out. JHR must raise $100,000 this holiday season to continue our work in the DRC through 2013.
Journalists for Human Rights has worked with over 800 Congolese journalists since 2007, mentoring them to produce quality human rights journalism across the country.
How does this work in a place where journalists practice their craft in fear of their lives? Consider the impact of one story, produced by current country director Freddy Mata, on enfants dit sorciers or sorcerer children.
These children are accused of witchcraft by their families and kicked out of their homes.
Mata’s radio station wouldn’t cover the costs of this important project. So JHR gave Mr. Mata a grant of $1000 to produce it.
The story sparked massive national and international outrage at the treatment of sorcerer children. It helped speed up passing a national law outlawing child abuse. It also got the attention of the European Union and UNICEF, who organized the biggest awareness campaign in Congo’s history about the phenomenon.
An investment of $1000, and the time and effort of one dedicated Congolese journalist who cared, made life better for a generation of Congolese children.
JHR’s work in the Congo is critically important. Teaching journalists how to practice responsible journalism is the pillar of our programming. By training and investing in journalists, JHR ensures that the voiceless are heard and that their lives get better.
Please support Journalists for Human Rights’ work in the DRC at this critical moment by giving a year-end donation.