Filmmaker Sara Taksler joins Human Rights Watch’s Farida Deif and VICE News Reporter Ben Makuch to discuss this portrait of Baseem Youssef, the "Egyptian Jon Stewart," who fights for free speech with wit, insight, and laughs.
A Senior Producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Sara Taksler has pitched stories and jokes, and researched footage for over a decade. Taksler directed and produced the feature documentary, TWISTED: A Balloonamentary, a hilarious and heartwarming look at the world's premier balloon-twisting convention. Taksler can talk backwards and has a remarkable fake sneeze.
Ben Makuch is the host of the VICELAND series Cyberwar and an award-winning national security reporter with VICE News in Toronto. He previously worked with the Canadian Press’ Ottawa Bureau covering federal politics and was one of the first reporters in contact with jihadists from Canada fighting in Iraq and Syria. Makuch’s reporting caught the attention of federal authorities who served him with a top-secret production order to hand over all source materials connected to Farah Mohamed Shirdon, an alleged Islamic State fighter from Calgary. Makuch refused and is now fighting the production order in court. For his work, Makuch was awarded the Canadian National Freedom of the Press Award and was honoured for his investigative journalism by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Farida Deif is the Canada Director at Human Rights Watch. Based in Toronto, she monitors human rights abuses in Canada and advocates for a rights-respecting Canadian foreign policy. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Deif worked at the United Nations with UNICEF, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UN Women where she recently served as the Deputy Manager of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. She is a gender-based violence expert with over 13 years of experience in both documenting violence against women and girls as a researcher and in developing and supporting targeted programs to address these abuses as a development practitioner. From 2003-2008, she was the Middle East and North Africa Researcher in the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, where she researched and wrote on a range of issues from the arbitrary detention of women and girls to gender-related killings. She participated in Human Rights Watch's first fact-finding missions to Libya and Saudi Arabia and has published extensively on human rights abuses across the region. She holds a graduate degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and obtained an undergraduate degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.