The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, CNW and individual donations, and run by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma. Two of the winners will attend a course at Columbia Journalism School, and one will attend a commercial safety course.

The Forum Freelance Fund has awarded three Canadian journalists working in dangerous conditions bursaries for safety training.

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, CNW and individual donations, and run by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma. Two of the winners will attend a course at Columbia Journalism School, and one will attend a commercial safety course, according to a press release.

The award winners are:

Irris Makler: She has been freelancing for CBC since 2004 from Jerusalem, Gaza, Baghdad and Kabul. She was one of the first journalists to enter Afghanistan after 9/11, covering U.S. air strikes and the fall of Kabul. She also files for France 24, Deutsche Welle radio, ABC Australia and the U.S. National Public Radio. Makler’s jaw was broken in three places when she was hit in the face by a rock while covering a riot in Old Jerusalem in October 2009.  “My friends who are staff correspondents say these courses really can save your life, making you re-think safety from the ground up,” she wrote in her bursary application.

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Valérian Mazataud: He is a Montreal-based photographer and reporter who has been freelancing abroad since 2009.  He has recently been covering Syrian refugees and the consequences of the Syrian civil war on neighbouring countries. He has also reported from the West Bank, Kenya, Iran and Egypt and Haiti and his work has appeared in Le Devoir, La Presse and L’Actualité. He was beaten with sticks by a crowd during the Egyptian revolution and narrowly escaped being shot in the leg by an inexperienced tribesman handling a machine gun in Kenya, whom he was photographing.

Daniel Otis: He has been working in Cambodia for two years with no formal journalism training. “Some of the more dangerous assignments I’ve worked on include shadowing a landmine clearance team along the Cambodian-Thai frontier for The Globe and Mail, sneaking into Burma’s beleaguered Rakhine state to report on the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims for the Toronto Star and spending a week on patrol with a team of armed forest rangers in southwestern Cambodia to write about illegal logging and the international wildlife trade for the Southeast Asia Globe,” he wrote in his application.

“When we see applications of this calibre, it renews our determination to keep trying to put the same kind of safety training staffers get within the reach of the freelance community, which plays an increasingly important role in Canadian newsgathering,” said Cliff Lonsdale, president of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.

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