CJFE announces The Bob Carty Free Expression Fellowship

Thursday, December 04, 2014
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Thursday, December 4, 2014
CJFE is pleased to announce The Bob Carty Free Expression Fellowship, an annual grant for research projects and other activities that will further the cause of free expression in Canada. The fellowship will honour Bob’s legacy by continuing his work in defense of free expression. The search for candidates will begin in May 2015. A multi-award-winning journalist, an activist and a veteran CJFE board member, Bob was a tireless defender of press freedom and human rights. He was 64. “Bob was an inspiration, a mentor and a visionary to many journalists and human rights activists across the country,” says CJFE President Arnold Amber. “His work will leave a lasting legacy.” It started in the late 1960s, when Bob began his career as a researcher and an activist specializing in Latin America. He later moved to the region with his son, Michael, and his wife, Frances Arbour, who worked with refugees while Bob reported on military conflicts, human rights and ecological issues. In 1981, Bob joined CBC’s Sunday Morning as an on-air producer. He rose to foreign editor and senior producer, creating work that won an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Peabody, a Gabriel and numerous other awards for Sunday Morning, Morningside, The Current, The Globe and Mail and National Public Radio. He also received multiple awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists, recognition from the Canadian Science Writers and the Amnesty International Canada trophy for human rights reporting. In 1991, Bob participated in a CJFE fact-finding mission to investigate attacks against journalists in Guatemala. Soon afterward, he joined CJFE’s board of directors and became one of the organization’s most active and visionary members. A leading contributor to CJFE’s work in Canada, Bob helped lead the fight for access-to-information reform, and he founded CJFE’s annual Review of Free Expression in Canada in 2009. Bob’s activism extended far beyond Canada’s borders, as he was a strong advocate for free expression around the world. In 1992, he chaired a meeting of 14 international free expression groups, which led to the creation of IFEX, a global network of organizations dedicated to defending and promoting free expression. Since then, IFEX has grown to 95 organizations in more than 60 countries. “Bob’s contribution was critical to getting IFEX off the ground and shaping it into such a strong voice internationally,” says Amber. Bob was first stricken with cancer seven years ago, and despite the illness, he continued his work with CJFE. He was perhaps the most knowledgeable advocate in Canada on the subject of access to information, and he wrote numerous articles and reports, including A Hollow Right: Access to information in crisis, about the Canadian government’s failure in this important area. Most recently, Bob was instrumental in preventing the passage of Bill C-461, which would have crippled investigative journalism at the CBC by forcing reporters to reveal their sources to the government. Bob’s passion extended beyond his journalism and free expression advocacy. A talented musician, he used songs to express his activist spirit. He started writing during the social upheaval of the 1960s, playing everywhere from coffeehouses to protests to Toronto’s Massey Hall. He played guitar, mandolin and banjo, and he often performed at a local Ottawa parish that, in his words, “supports music for the spirit, for the heart and for a more just world.” Few Canadians have given so much to the cause of free expression and press freedom. Bob’s passion, expertise and heartfelt desire to help others is irreplaceable, and he will be deeply missed.
CJFE President Arnold Amber honours Bob Carty at the 2014 CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting on December 3, 2014

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