TORONTO–On November 25, 2019, 400 of Canada’s top journalists, media executives, business and political leaders will gather at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Toronto to celebrate and recognize excellence in human rights journalism, from Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario to Bamako in Mali, and to illustrate the powerful impact of their work.
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is delighted to announce that Masai Ujiri, (left) President of the Toronto Raptors, will host the evening in his role as Honourary Co-Chair. Joining him in the role is CTV National News Senior Editor and Chief Anchor and newly minted member of the Order of Canada Lisa LaFlamme; Troy Reeb, Executive Vice President of Broadcasting at Corus Entertainment; Michael Cooke, Journalists for Human Rights Board Chair and former Editor of the Toronto Star; Theresa Ebden, a global marketing program lead at Accenture; and Richard Linley, President of Ontario Craft Wineries.
The Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Night for Rights is CTV News, which has a long and proud history sending top CTV journalists to work on training programs with JHR. The evening will focus on two of JHR’s current programs: JHR’s Canada World: Voice for Women and Girls initiative worldwide, as well as the Indigenous Reporters Program here at home. The Indigenous Reporters Program aims to improve the quality and number of Indigenous voices in Canadian media and which has previously received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation and the Canadian Ethnic Media Association Award for Innovation.
“The world is finally waking up to the link between broken media and broken democracy,” says JHR’s Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. “In an era of deliberate disinformation campaigns distorting democratic outcomes, we’re realizing that clean information is as important as clean water. With Masai, Lisa, Troy, Michael, Theresa and Richard, supported by an incredible team, we are on track for our best night ever.”
Last year, JHR’s Night for Rights raised more than $300,000 for rights-based journalism programming, with more than 400 guests. This year, with programs expanding both in Canada and abroad, JHR targets raising $450,000.
Journalists for Human Rights is a Toronto-based organization that aims to empower journalists to provide objective and ethical reporting on human rights issues. JHR has operated in 29 countries and trained more than 16,000 journalists and journalism students on rights-based reporting, reaching over 65 million people. Night for Rights is their annual benefit gala to support these programs. More information about JHR can be found at: www.jhr.ca. Gala tickets can be purchased at: night4rights.com.
About The Honourary Co-Chair
Honourary Co-Chair for Night for Rights 2019 is Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, joining CTV News’ Lisa LaFlamme. Ujiri’s leadership delivered the 2019 NBA Championship to the Toronto Raptors, an epic experience that brought all of Canada together under the hashtag #WeTheNorth to support a truly extraordinary team. This gave Toronto the title of global champion, kicked off the largest celebration parade in Toronto’s history, and made basketball a hot contender to supplant hockey as Canada’s national sport. In keeping with one of JHR’s fundamental founding and organizing principles, Ujiri is an impassioned advocate for African youth talent, and spends much of the summer criss-crossing the continent supporting basketball camps through his Giants of Africa charity. “What JHR is doing, is speaking out and teaching people how to speak out and tell stories about human issues that I think are going to continue to affect us for a long time,” says Ujiri.
Joining Masai Ujiri is CTV National News’ Lisa LaFlamme. LaFlamme is the Chief Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News – Canada’s most–watched national newscast. She is also the winner of multiple RTDNA and Canadian Screen Awards, and a powerful advocate for providing voices to those who need their stories told. “To me, the work that JHR does, particularly at this time of global tumult is critically important. Spreading press freedom, education and holding the powerful to account is the biggest step in building democracy,” she said. “I have had the privilege of working with these brave journalists and have seen first hand their dedication to helping others shine a light into the darkest corners of corruption and help make positive change.” This year, LaFlamme was named to the Order of Canada.
Troy Reeb – Executive Vice President, Broadcast Networks, Corus Entertainment. As Executive Vice President, Broadcast Networks, for Canada’s largest standalone media company, Troy Reeb oversees Global Television and its 15 local stations; 44 specialty television services including HGTV, Food, W Network, YTV, History and Showcase; 39 radio stations; and all online platforms and apps.
Troy was previously Senior VP of News, Radio and Station Operations. During his tenure, he managed the addition of local newscasts in every Global TV market, launched Global News Radio in 2017, and helped build Globalnews.ca into the largest, private-sector provider of online news in Canada, with over 1.3-billion page views last year. Under Troy’s leadership, Global News in 2013 became the first Canadian network to win the Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in journalism, and followed it up a year later with the award for Best Website, and two years after that with the first-ever Murrow Award for Innovation “The message of JHR resonates,” says Reeb. “People have seen the power of information, truth and understanding, and that is the promise of JHR.”
Michael Cooke is the Chair of the Board of Journalists for Human Rights and the former editor of the Toronto Star. Prior to leading the Star’s editorial team, he has also held the editor-in-chief role at the Vancouver Province, the Chicago Sun-Times (twice), and the New York Daily News. Cooke has travelled extensively in Africa in the last five years, most notably doing pro-bono work for Journalists for Human Rights. He has given journalism seminars in many countries, with longer stays in Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia. “No democracy without a free press … no press free without a democracy,” Cooke says. “That just about sums up what JHR’s folks are working towards abroad, especially in countries such as South Sudan, which has a democracy about as fragile as it gets.”
Theresa Ebden leads Accenture’s media relations in Canada. As a former journalist, she has reported and produced news coverage with Business News Network, Bloomberg News, The Globe and Mail, The Telegram in St. John’s Newfoundland, and the Toronto Star. Ebden is on the board of JHR, and is also the chair of the Ryerson School of Journalism’s Industry Advisory Board. She holds a degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, and trained as a photojournalist at Loyalist College.
Richard Linley is the President of Ontario Craft Wineries, which represents over 100 Ontario VQA wineries from across the three designated viticultural areas of the province (Niagara, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore – including Pelee Island) as well as emerging wine producing regions such as Ontario’s South Coast and Georgian Bay/Grey County. Richard resides in Toronto with his wife and two children and volunteers on the Board of Directors of Unison Health and Community Services. “I’m very honoured to be supporting this year’s Gala and the important work of JHR. In an increasingly complicated world, the ability to access the media, but also communicate and report has never been more critical.”