The winner of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) 2020 Press Freedom Award is Kenneth Jackson, reporter/producer with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
The annual award recognizes outstanding achievements by Canadian media workers who produce pub-lic-interest journalism, while overcoming secrecy, intimidation or other efforts to thwart their work.
Backed by his APTN managers, Jackson relentlessly pursued critical information on the fate of Indigenous children who died after being placed in care in Ontario. His reporting included tracking down relatives on the streets of Thunder Bay, filing access to information requests, and going to court to get access to files in civil lawsuits.
The CCWPF gives honourable mentions to Michael de Adder, long-time editorial cartoonist with the Irving-owned Brunswick News Inc., and to Joan Baxter, a Nova Scotia journalist and author.
De Adder’s contract was abruptly ended in June 2019 after he had drawn a series of editorial cartoons on U.S. President Donald Trump, including a depiction of Trump’s callousness towards refugees from Central America. The newspaper chain has continued to deny that the termination of contract is related to the cartoons of President Trump. Baxter, meanwhile, displayed extraordinary fortitude in the face of corporate efforts to thwart her coverage of Northern Pulp’s history of dumping toxic wastewater for decades into Boat Harbour, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
The Committee also awards its Spencer Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement to David Pugliese who covers the military beat for The Ottawa Citizen.
Pugliese has been a fearless chronicler of the Canadian military for many years, often by challenging the Department of National Defence’s poor record on Access to Information. He spent time covering Cana-dian troops in Afghanistan and has broken important stories on questionable practices in defence procurement. The award is named in honour of the late Spencer Moore, a founding director of CCWPF.