Journalists for Human Rights Coming to ConU

Group will provide training to journalists from war-torn countries

Canada’s largest media development organization has come to Concordia, as the non-profit group Journalists for Human Rights has taken steps to set up a chapter at the university. The club aims to provide training to journalists from war-torn countries, with a particular emphasis on Africa.

“We’re imparting the skills that we learn [in university] and with JHR,” said organizer Melanie Lefebvre. “We’re transferring the knowledge of how to be a journalist to them.”

The organization has a national presence, with over 80 chapters spread across all the provinces. Although chapters are granted the freedom to plan events and activities independently, Lefebvre says she is hoping for co-operation between Concordia and McGill’s chapter.

“Every chapter decides how they run things, but I really want to work with McGill because they have a
well-established chapter and I’m friends with the president,” she said. “So we can really bounce things off each other and it would be awesome if we could collaborate on a big thing.”

“I hope we hit the ground running and get an event [at Concordia].”

-Melanie Lefebvre,
Journalists for Human Rights organizer

An event she expressed interest in joining is the McGill chapter’s regional “Train the Trainers” conference, in which JHR members learn how to teach others to organize a human rights media campaign.

Lefebvre also noted that JHR places a strong emphasis on working with on-campus media. Although there are no concrete plans yet, she is hoping to make inroads into Concordia’s various media outlets.

“[Some chapters] make their own magazine, they make their own radio or TV station,” she said. “It’s really how much you want to put into it, that’s how much will come out. Hopefully we’ll spread our net wide.”

Although there are no events planned yet, Lefebvre hopes to have some announcements in the coming weeks.

“Next week we’ll be announcing the executive and then I hope we hit the ground running and get an event out there, like a tabling event.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.