CJFE newsletter: August / September 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By Amy Johnson

Dear CJFE members and supporters,

Here is your monthly update for August/September! With one of our busiest summers ever drawing to a close, there is no shortage of free expression news, advocacy, and events to report on as we enter yet another eventful season.

Just this past month, there has been a watershed of international stories relating to free expression and media freedom; CJFE has followed the verdict and final sentencing of Wikileaks informant Chelsea E (previously known as Bradley) Manning, and we have issued alerts on free expression violations in Ecuador, the United States, Iran, Liberia, Macedonia and Russia.

As for what's going on in our own backyard, CJFE has been analyzing the potential impact of Canada's involvement in the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks, and last week published an in-depth article by Digital Issues Committee member Adam Kingsmith on how the TPP would compromise the free expression rights of Canadians. To explore these concerns with you, we'll be hosting an online event with expert panelist Dr. Michael Geist and moderator Jesse Brown at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10 – make sure to log on!

Then, on October 2, CJFE will honour Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's work and activism in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario with the multimedia event Voices of Freedom at the AGO's Bailie Court. We are really excited about the amazing line-up of writers, artists, musicians and actors who are working with us on this. In addition, we have been hard at work planning this year's Annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting on December 4 at the Fairmont Royal York, having confirmed recipients of our International Press Freedom Awards to be made public next month.

*A NOTE ON TICKETS: Spaces for Voices of Freedom are limited, and a special early bird ticket price for the Annual Gala ends soon on September 3, so book your tickets now!

Here's a look at what else we've been working on, what's coming up, and events we're looking forward to:

What happened in August:

AN UPDATE ON FREE EXPRESSION IN MEXICO: Communications and Research Intern Alex Zakreski explored the crisis of government corruption and impunity that continues to plague journalists in Mexico
CJFE INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Applications for the position of CJFE Executive Director are now closed. Stay tuned for an announcement soon!
TOO MANY GOODBYES: We said goodbye to three members of the CJFE team in August: Amy Johnson, who worked as CJFE’s Program Coordinator; Summer Legal Research Assistant, Stefan Rinas; and Communications and Research Intern, Nouran Sedaghat. You can read Amy, Stefan, and Nouran’s final blog posts.
*Note from CJFE Manager - Staying true to the title of her post “I’m never actually going to leave CJFE,” Amy is continuing to write our monthly newsletters.
CANADIAN FILMMAKER AND PHYSICIAN ARRESTED IN EGYPT: CJFE reported on the detention of Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and physician Tarek Loubani in Cairo, whose charges remain unclear
BLOCKED ON WEIBO: Last night Jason Q. Ng, Google Policy Fellow at University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, launched his book "Blocked on Weibo" at the Munk School of Global Affairs in Toronto

What's coming up in September:

LIBERIAN NEWSPAPER CLOSED AND EDITOR JAILED ON LIBEL CHARGES: FrontPageAfrica’s publisher, Rodney Sieh, is now in prison for non-payment of a $1.6 million fine in a defamation case. With Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf visiting Toronto this September, we will be looking to her to uphold free expression rights in Liberia
FREE EXPRESSION IN CHINA: In honour of the upcoming event Voices of Freedom, CJFE will feature a variety of online content exploring the challenges facing free expression rights in China
WHISTLEBLOWER FACES HEARING: We will be monitoring the upcoming hearing in September of Sylvie Therrien, the EI Investigator who blew the whistle on the Canadian government’s EI fraud practices
REFLECTION ON QUEBEC 2012 TRUNCHEON LAW: Keep an eye open for upcoming feature on the state of free expression in Quebec following the 2012 Maple Spring student demonstrations and truncheon law Bill 78
CAMPAIGN FOR ANTI-SLAPP LEGISLATION: CJFE will be supporting a Greenpeace Canada campaign calling for nationwide anti-SLAPP legislation.

Events we're looking forward to:

SEPT. 10, DECODING THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP: Join us for CJFE's second online event held by the Digital Issues Committee
SEPT. 20, FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR LASANTHA WICKREMATUNGE MEMORIAL LECTURE: CJFE is honoured to support the Lasantha Wickrematunge Memorial Lecture and Fundraising Dinner. Lasantha Wickrematunge was the founder and editor of Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader newspaper.
OCT. 2, AI WEIWEI: VOICES OF FREEDOM: Join us at the AGO for a unique multimedia experience to honour the art and activism of Ai Weiwei
OCT. 14, WORLD SOCIAL SCIENCE FORUM 2013: CJFE’s Web and Social Media Editor Laura Tribe will be speaking about free expression online at the 2013 WSSF in Montreal, on a panel entitled Rethinking Freedom of Expression in an Information Society: Challenges and New Opportunities.

For more free expression news, commentary, and event updates, visit cjfe.org!

Until soon,
Amy Johnson