OTTAWA, Feb. 4, 2018 – Do you know a journalist or media employee whose work has been frustrated by a cloak of secrecy over the public’s right to know, or by legal manoeuvres or political intimidation? Do you know of a reporter who has risked his/her safety or reputation for the sake of free speech? If so, why not nominate him or her for the annual Press Freedom Award from the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom?
This annual award goes to a journalist or media worker in Canadian print, digital or broadcasting who has made a significant contribution to freedom of expression, often by standing up to government or private interests that would thwart the reporting of events or stories of significant public interest, or by advancing press freedom through the subjects he or she reports on. Institutions that work towards the same objectives may also apply or be nominated.
Nominations based on work related to press freedom in 2017 are now open. The application deadline is March 1, 2018. The winner receives a $1,000 prize and a certificate from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO at the annual World Press Freedom Day Luncheon in Ottawa on May 3, 2018.
The CCWPF is among many organizations that seeks to raise awareness about the journalists who face hardship, including imprisonment, or even risk their lives to inform public, said Shawn McCarthy, chair of the Ottawa-based group.
“Last year was a dismal year for press freedom globally,” said McCarthy, noting the Committee to Protect Journalists reported in December 2017 that the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide had hit a record high of 262.
Meanwhile, at home, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed late last year to hear an important case involving press freedom when it granted leave to appeal to Vice News. The outlet is challenging an Ontario court ruling that reporter Ben Makuch, a recent winner of the CCWPF annual award, must surrender to police his correspondence with an alleged ISIS militant.
Our 2017 press freedom award winners were Patrick Lagacé, La Presse; and Paul Dornstauder and Geoff Leo, CBC Saskatchewan. Lagacé was subjected to police surveillance and wrote several columns exposing and challenging the practice. He shared the honour with his newspaper, La Presse.
Leo, along with producer Dornstauder, researched and wrote a series of stories on controversial land dealings in which two well-connected businessmen made millions of dollars at the taxpayers’ expense. Working against obstacles including government opposition, lawsuits and delayed responses to access to information requests, CBC continues to publish stories on the land scandal.
Other winners in the award’s 20-year history have included: Vice New’s Makuch; Mohammed Fahmy (Al Jazeera English); Katherine Gannon (Associated Press); Michelle Lang, posthumously (Calgary Herald); Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor (Postmedia); Daniel Leblanc (Globe and Mail); John Hoey and Anne Marie Todkill (Canadian Medical Association Journal); Gilles Toupin and Joel-Denis Bellevance (La Presse); Tarek Fatah (author and columnist); Juliet O’Neill (Ottawa Citizen), Andrew McIntosh (National Post); Haroon Siddiqui (Toronto Star); and Kim Bolan (Vancouver Sun).
To apply for the award or to nominate a deserving Canadian journalist or media worker, please fill out our nomination form: CCWPF Press Freedom Award English Nomination Form
For further information:
Shawn McCarthy, at 613 566-3607 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Janice Tibbetts, board member, at 613-233-3181 or email@example.com