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JHR Announces their Co-Chairs for Night for Rights 2017!

Press Release

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2017 – On October 5, 2017, 400 of Canada’s top journalists, media executives, business and political leaders will gather at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly the Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto to recognize journalists from Northern Ontario to South Sudan and Syria, and illustrate the powerful social and development impact of their work. Last year the event raised more than $160,000 for rights-based journalism programming, with more than 300 guests attending this powerful evening. This year, with programs expanding both in Canada and abroad, JHR targets raising $200,000.

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is very pleased to announce that Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, will host the evening in his role as Honourary Co-Chair. Supporting Masai is Catherine Cano, Chief Executive Officer of CPAC, Canada’s Cable Public Affairs Channel, Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star, Lisa LaFlamme, Chief Anchor and Senior Editor for CTV National News, Richard Linley, president of the Wine Council of OntarioTroy Reeb, Senior Vice-President of News, Global; Radio and Station Operations for Corus, and Bobby Walman, principal of Civic Works Consulting Group Inc.

About Journalists for Human Rights
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 23 countries and trained more than 13,000 journalists and journalism students on rights-based reporting, with more than 50 million people impacted by human rights stories from JHR-trained journalists. Night for Rights is their annual benefit gala to support these programs. More information about JHR can be found Gala tickets can be purchased at:

The Honourary Co-Chair for Night for Rights 2017 is Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors. His leadership has helped boost the Raptors into a position as one of the NBA’s top teams. “There isn’t a day that goes by in my job that I’m not dealing directly with the media,” says Ujiri. “The media exposes us to important stories around the world. We learn from it and it keeps people honest. Many of the countries that JHR works in are the parts of the world that need a strong media the most. Their work has started to make a real change and it will continue to grow.”

New this year in the co-chair role are Richard Linley and Bobby Walman.

Bobby Walman
Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Bobby is a fundraising, sales and marketing executive with a deep understanding of Canadian politics, having staffed elected officials including former Ministers and Premiers Peterson, McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. Bobby resides in Toronto and currently serves on the board of Journalists for Human Rights. “JHR is a beacon that shines around the world, especially in places that need the proven support and training that only JHR provides,” says Walman. “I am equally proud of JHR’s leadership role assisting Indigenous Canadian reporters.”

Richard Linley
Richard is the President of the Wine Council of Ontario, 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.”

Troy Reeb
As head of news and local broadcasting for Corus Entertainment, Troy Reeb oversees 39 radio stations, 15 conventional television stations, the BC-1 all news specialty channel, and A former political reporter and Washington Bureau Chief for Global, Reeb was promoted to the network’s top news job and later assumed oversight of all stations, also adding the Corus Radio portfolio to his responsibilities. Troy is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, the Provincial Awards Celebrating Excellence. He currently serves on the board of Journalists for Human Rights. “JHR is successful because it is nimble, moves quickly and is wholly focused on supporting journalism as a tool for human rights and democratic development,” says Reeb. In a world where press freedoms seem ever more tenuous, JHR’s mission is more vital than ever.”

Lisa LaFlamme is the anchor of CTV News’ nightly broadcast – the most watched national news programme in Canada. 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 onto the darkness of corruption and help make positive change.”

Michael Cooke is the 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 Post. 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 CongoGhanaSierra 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.”

Catherine Cano has more than 30 years’ experience in the journalism industry, reporting on the conflict in Middle East, the U.S. Presidential Elections, and the Olympic Games. She has been honoured as one of the top 100 most powerful women in 2012 by the Women’s Executive Network, won two Geminis Awards, and is a recipient of the Michener-Deacon Fellowship. Her passion and commitment for human rights journalism is a big asset to JHR. “As a healthy state of journalism is paramount to a healthy democracy, JHR’s work has become crucial in countries transitioning to democracy,” said Cano.  The organization helps journalists get all the necessary tools to tell the stories and make sure their governments are held accountable.”

“Night for Rights is JHR’s once-a-year opportunity to gather our dynamic community together in celebration of the extraordinary things that happen when courageous journalists tackle tough human rights stories,” said Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. “With Masai as our Honourary Co-Chair and Catherine, Michael, Lisa, Richard, Troy and Bobby as Co-Chairs, supported by an incredible team, we are on track for our best night ever.”

–  Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement   –

For further information: Media Inquiries: Janine deVries, Program Development and Community Engagement Coordinator, Journalists for Human Rights, Tel: 416-413-0240 x 210, E-mail: [email protected]



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