Our history

1981
Initially called the CIJ Latin American Committee, the organization now known as CJFE, is born.

This special committee, part of the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), was deeply concerned about the life-threatening conditions for journalists in Latin America during the early 1980s, and decided to campaign against the kidnapping, torture, and murder of media workers.

Working groups were formed in several cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Ottawa. Each centre maintained files on violations of freedom of expression for different Latin America countries, and a "Red Alert" network was set up to respond to reports of attacks.

1984
The group changes its name to the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists and, with it, begins to work in other parts of the world, not just Latin America.

1992
IFEX (International Freedom of Expression Exchange), a global network that monitors, promotes, and defends freedom of expression worldwide, is created in Montréal. CJFE is a founding member and now manages the IFEX Clearing House.

1993
The CJFE Reporter, a newsletter that highlights developments and trends in press freedom and freedom of expression in countries around the world, is first published.

1997
The first in a series of annual special reports is published. These reports are intended to create awareness and help press freedom advocacy issues. Examples include guides on how to promote press freedom and issues surrounding Internet censorship.

1998
The organization changes its name to CJFE to better reflect its mandate of championing free expression worldwide.

CJFE awards the inaugural International Press Freedom Award. The award honours journalists who have conquered adversity to promote and protect freedom of expression.

1999
CJFE begins the Journalists in Distress Fund.

CJFE organizes a comprehensive media training program in Indonesia.

2000
CJFE awards the inaugural Tara Singh Hayer Press Freedom Award. This award recognizes a Canadian journalist who has made an important contribution to reinforcing and promoting the principle of freedom of the press.

CJFE launches the Journalists in Exile program.

2001
CJFE organizes a major media rebuilding project in Sierra Leone.

2005
CJFE awards its first Vox Libera Award. This award is granted to a Canadian who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression and has made an important and sustained contribution—either at home or abroad—to those same principles.

2009
CJFE begins the Scotiabank/CJFE Fellowship at Massey College for Latin American journalists.

CJFE publishes its first Free Expression Review, an annual report on the health of freedom of expression in Canada.

2011
CJFE awards its first Integrity Award. The recipients of this award are individuals who have acted courageously in the public interest without thought of personal gain, and in doing so risked reprisals in the form of threats to their careers, livelihood, or personal freedom.

Accolades
CJFE was presented with the Canadian Library Association's Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada.