World Press Freedom Canada (WPFC) is pleased to announce multi-award-winning journalist Anna Maria Tremonti will be the keynote speaker at its annual World Press Freedom Day luncheon in Ottawa on May 3. She will be joined by Torstar Vice President for Inclusion and Strategic Partnerships, Irene Gentle, for an armchair discussion.

Tremonti is a long-time journalist who has traveled Canada and the world covering societal change, political upheaval, and armed conflict. She has worked in radio and television for decades, mostly with the CBC. She was the founding host of CBC Radio’s flagship, current affairs program The Current for 17 years.

Her latest podcast “Welcome To Paradise” explores her own story of intimate partner violence and the long-term consequences of such abuse. Her longform conversation podcast “More” was released by CBC in early 2020. She is the recipient of two Gemini Awards, a Gracie Award and an Outstanding Achievement Award from Women in Film and Television.

Gentle is a journalist, editor and writer who has held what is arguably one of the most important jobs in Canadian journalism as the first woman editor-in-chief at the Toronto Star from 2018 – 2021. She has also served as managing editor, city editor and business editor. Gentle had previously worked at the Hamilton Spectator in a variety of editorial roles.

“Women and marginalized journalists are increasingly on the receiving end of online harassment and attacks for reporting inconvenient truths. Online hate is not only an issue for the journalists themselves; it is a clear attempt to suppress their reporting and diminish the media,” said WPFC president Heather Bakken.

“Governments worldwide are jailing media workers for the ‘crime’ of committing journalism, revoking broadcast licences of independent media, and engaging in disinformation campaigns that pollute the media space and undermine democracy. It is more important than ever to applaud the role of independent media that can hold to account those in a position of power.”

In addition to the armchair discussion, the following awards will be presented at the luncheon:

  • Press Freedom Prize is awarded to a nominee who demonstrates their public-interest work was frustrated by a cloak of secrecy, legal manoeuvres, political intimidation, or tactics that put their safety or career at risk.
  • Spencer Moore Award for Career Achievement honours the work of a Canadian journalist in pursuit of press freedom and freedom of information.
  • International Cartoon Contest is awarded to a cartoonist who best captures this year’s theme, ‘Free speech or free for all?’

Submissions to the Press Freedom and the Spencer Moore Award can be made here (March 22 deadline). Submissions to the International Cartoon Contest can be made here (April 7 deadline).

This year’s emcees are Catherine Cano, President of CanoVision, and Karyn Pugliese, Executive Editor of the National Observer.

Tickets are available online through Eventbrite or the contact below.

Special thanks to our event partner the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and to our major corporate sponsor the Canadian Bankers Association.