CJFE Newsletter: July/August 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

By Amy Johnson

Dear CJFE members and supporters,

Here is your CJFE news for July/August! With our full fleet of amazing interns and a steady stream of free expression issues in the Canadian and international news, this summer has been a busy one for the CJFE team.

On the Canadian front, CJFE celebrated the July 3 repeal of the contentious Hate Speech Law with the passage of Bill C-304 into law, and also expressed concern over the arrest of New Brunswick-based journalist Miles Howe following his coverage of anti-fracking protects. We also spoke to Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa Michael Geist about his thoughts on the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) trade deal.

We’re making good progress on our upcoming event in partnership with the AGO, Ai Weiwei: Voices of Freedom, so look out for more details about this event! We’ve confirmed presentations by artist Sean Martindale, dup poet Truth Is, Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams of the Factory Theatre, writer Wayson Choy, and climate change activist and artist Franke James. Space is limited, so be sure to buy your tickets ASAP!

CJFE has also been up to some important international advocacy work; this past Sunday in Toronto, CJFE and six other Canadian media and human rights groups participated in a global solidarity action to show support for demonstrators and media workers in Turkey. The motionless demonstration, which was developed by Turkish free expression advocacy group Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey, took place in six other cities around the world; read CJFE President Arnold Amber’s blog post, and view our joint letter of concern to the Turkish embassy.

And sadly, just as they became indispensable to us, we have to wish farewell to two of our incredible summer interns, Nouran and Spencer. So much of CJFE’s summer events, programs and web content was made possible by their dedicated work, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours!

Here’s a look at what else has happened, what we’re currently working on, and the events we’re looking forward to:

What happened in June/July

“Privacy, free expression & you” quiz: Test your knowledge of how Canadian privacy and free expression rights intersect! Brush up on the facts by reading the 2013 Review focus piece and then take the quiz
EI whistleblower suspended without pay: CJFE raised concern about the unpaid suspension of federal fraud investigator Sylvie Therrien for leaking documents to the media in February regarding EI fraud
2012/2013 Journalism Fellow catches up: Last year’s Scotiabank/CJFE Latin American Journalism Fellow Mary Triny Mena spoke to CJFE about life after the Fellowship and how the program has affected her work as a journalist
International advocacy alerts: CJFE has been vocal about free expression violations (and successes!) in a number of countries, including Vietnam, Turkey, Belarus, and Ecuador

What’s coming up in August

Feature article on free expression climate in Mexico: stay tuned for a focus piece on the lasting impact of domestic conflict on freedom of expression and media rights in Mexico, and why the international community should continue to raise awareness
Free expression in Canada articles: Keep an eye out for updates on issues covered in CJFE’s 2013 Review of Free Expression in Canada
Background on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: In preparation for our upcoming digital event (see below), we’ll be publishing an online backgrounder feature on the TPP trade talks and how the agreement would impact the free expression rights of Canadians

Events we’re looking forward to

Digital event #2: It was just announced that CJFE’s Digital Issues Committee will hold their second event, concerning the TPP talks and featuring digital leader Michael Geist, on September 3. Watch the website for updates!

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

Until soon,
Amy Johnson