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03/04/2011

Holler for human rights

Across Canada today, students join to holler about human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo

It’s an election year in the DRC, and we’re already seeing what that can mean—violence and fear.

This week, the country experienced its first attempted coup of the year. More is likely to follow in a country where war officially ended in 2003, but where low-level conflict simmers on intermittently.

That’s why jhr (Journalists for Human Rights) is working there—to help local journalists cover this year’s elections in a way that foregrounds human rights issues at the national level. 

The end goal is a culture of good journalism that’s fair, accurate, balanced and moderate—to replace a form of journalism that’s bought off by politicians, hyper-partisan and dangerous to practice in a large, impoverished country where peace is at best fragile.

(For a cautionary example of how dangerous hyper-partisan media can be in such conditions, consider the media’s role inciting genocide in Rwanda in 1994.)

jhr has worked against such irresponsible journalism in the past in Sierra Leonean elections, and aims to do it again this year in the DRC.

The DRC is a huge land mass the size of western Europe and providing adequate support requires more discretionary funds than are currently provided. 

“That’s why, today,” says Calgary school chapter outreach coordinator Dave Schostek, “we’re running a fun new fundraising exercise across the country: Hollerday!”

Hollerday is a chance for students to get involved and raise awareness about the human rights abuses and ongoing violence in the Congo. jhr school chapters are currently lining up pledges where they’ll raise money by making noise—lots of noise—in order to raise funds to end ongoing human rights abuses in the DRC. Every dollar donated goes directly to support jhr’s programs in the DRC.

To sign up to pledge to make noise and/or donate to Hollerday, check out our website at www.jhr.ca

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Africa Without Maps


  • There's so much more to Africa than predictable headlines about war, famine and AIDS. From Ghanaian beauty pageants to music in Malawi, Africa Without Maps provides a rare glimpse of life in Africa from Journalists for Human Rights interns on the ground.

    Funding for the jhr bloggers is provided by the Government of Canada's Youth International Internship Program.

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