CJFE and Others Launch World Press Freedom Day Campaign

Thursday, April 3, 2003
Free-expression groups are joining with Canadian student journalists to mark May 3, World Press Freedom Day, with a series of events that includes a month-long campaign on campuses across the country. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)and PEN-Canada have teamed up with Canadian University Press (CUP) to organize the campus campaign, centrepiece of World Press Freedom Day activities in Canada. Student journalists are encouraged to write about freedom-of-expression issues during the month of April. CJFE is launching a Canadian Student Press Freedom award, consisting of a framed plaque and cash prize of $1,000 to be presented later this year, to encourage the effort. CJFE and PEN-Canada have also prepared a Press Freedom Information Kit for use by student media. Articles from the kit can be reproduced in student newspapers, radio or television programs. Visit http://cup.ca/forums/ and scroll down to World Press Freedom Day to view the kit. As part of the campus campaign, members of the CJFE-sponsored Journalists in Exile (JEX) group will be speaking to student newspapers at the Ontario Regional Canadian University Press Conference in Toronto on April 12. The campus activities are part of a broader campaign taking place across Canada in the run-up to May 3, World Press Freedom Day, marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek. That statement of principles, drawn up by African journalists in 1991, calls for a free, independent and pluralistic media on that continent and throughout the world. The Declaration affirms that a free press is essential to the existence of democracy and a fundamental human-rights goal. In Toronto, CJFE is organizing a lunchtime event on Friday, May 2. In Ottawa, the National Press Club will hold a luncheon for its 5th Annual Press Freedom Awards and 3nd International Editorial Cartoon Competition. And in Montreal, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) and CJFE are sponsoring a talk by Venezuelan journalist Andres Izarra on the press-freedom picture in his country. "The work to protect press freedoms takes place everywhere," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said. "This year's campus campaign recognizes the importance of preparing a new generation of press-freedom defenders." "A campus campaign promoting press freedom is critical for understanding the role that media plays in defending democracy," said Anya Spethmann, President of Canadian University Press. "From student governments to nation states, journalists keep those in power accountable." "It is vital to a sound education that students learn about their fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression, as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," said Isobel Harry, executive director of PEN Canada. Contact Information: For more on this year's campus campaign or on other World Press Freedom Day events, contact Tariq Hassan-Gordon at (416) 515-9622, tariqhg@cjfe.org, or visit http://cup.ca/forums/ and scroll down to World Press Freedom Day. Backgrounder -- World Press Freedom Day World Press Freedom Day recognizes the sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom of the press and to pressure governments that continue to deny their citizens this basic human right. The May 3 message is that journalists everywhere must be granted the right to report freely and without fear. The date marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of principles drawn up by African journalists in 1991 calling for a free, independent and pluralistic media on that continent and throughout the world. The Declaration affirms that a free press is essential to the existence of democracy and a fundamental human goal. The Declaration is a milestone in the struggle for a free press in all regions of the world. For more information on events marking World Press Freedom Day 2002 around the globe, please visit www.ifex.org, the website of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is an independent, non-profit association of journalists, writers, producers, editors, publishers and students promoting freedom of expression. Founded in 1981, CJFE's purpose is to defend the rights of journalists and contribute to the development of press freedom in Canada and throughout the world. CJFE is dedicated to playing a strong advocacy and policy development role related to free expression. For more information visit: www.cjfe.org. Canadian University Press In 1938, a group of student newspaper editors from across Canada gathered in Winnipeg to discuss the problems they faced covering national news. They realized their campuses didn't exist in a vacuum, but none of them had the resources to cover all the important events affecting students across the country. With that in mind, they created Canadian University Press (CUP), the oldest national student organization in North America, and the oldest student news service in the world. CUP is now a national, non-profit cooperative news service owned by over 60 student newspapers. For more information visit: www.cup.ca PEN Canada PEN Canada is committed to defending freedom of opinion and the expression of such opinion, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It campaigns on behalf of writers around the world persecuted for the peaceful expression of their thoughts. In Canada, it supports the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Pen Canada is a centre of International PEN, the worldwide literary and human rights association founded in England in 1921. For more information visit: www.pencanada.ca

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