Annie and Paul

Annie DeMelt and Paul Karwatsky

CTV Montreal anchor Paul Karwatsky and Annie DeMelt, who worked on the same newscast until recently, have been hired by Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) to provide webinars on fake news and news literacy to anyone who is interested. Since the project is covered by a federal government grant, there is no cost to participants. At a time when classes have been halted and activities shifted to video, these Zoom sessions could not be better timed,  particularly for high schools.

Both Karwatsky and DeMelt had to undergo training for this project. They have one session set for next week and room for a few more this month. The workshops will have a COVID -19 disinformation element now.

JHR is Canada’s leading media development organization. They train journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities.

"Being in news right now is enormously challenging,” said Karwatsky. “The crisis has been a continuously developing story with more and more new information every day. It has been difficult for seasoned news people to sift through what's accurate and what's not. Online, people are exposed to a constant wave of information, so while difficult it has been very rewarding to try and whittle that down for people and serve them information pertinent to their lives, especially on a local level.”

Adds DeMelt, who left CTV recently and moved into the communications field: “Obviously we both have great respect for the work that Journalists for Human Rights does, both locally and internationally so that was a reason to get on board for this. But in my 17 years in news it was a daily challenge to counter the flood of misinformation and disinformation out there. I think, for someone with my experience in the field, it's a responsibility to help talk to people about this kind of thing and hopefully, empower them with some skills to weed through the jungle of content out there to find the kernels of accurate and valid information.”

Rachel Pulfer, the executive director of JHR, says that her organization is committed to building the capacity of journalists to report on human rights issues around the world. “ As the volume of false information about COVID-19 and the pandemic continue to increase worldwide, it's critically important that Canadians are equipped to spot it and understand what it is. JHR is excited to be bringing together journalists from across Canada to help promote digital news literacy in these unprecedented times."

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Here is the registration link.

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