Event info

Mae Azango, International Press Freedom Award recipient, at the 2012 CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting | Photo: Saman Aghvami

Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2013 CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting such a wonderful success.


What you don’t know CAN hurt you. Free expression is under attack around the world – and in our own backyard. Never before have we had so many ways to communicate, nor have we been faced with more ways to be silenced and censored.

At the CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, we feature stories that we would never have known about if people had not risked their jobs, their freedom or even their lives to tell us. This annual event is an opportunity to hear these stories and pay tribute to some of these brave individuals.


View a gallery of photos from our 2013 Gala.


View the videos from our 2013 Gala.


2013 International Press Freedom Awards

This year CJFE will honour journalists Dessale Berekhet Abraham, Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe and Ruth Zecarias Ghebre from Eritrea, and Ahmet Şik from Turkey. These extraordinarily courageous reporters have covered stories about government corruption and social and gender inequality in the face of jail time, torture and other persecution.

Ahmet Şik
A freelance investigative journalist, Ahmet’s work focuses on corruption within the Turkish government. His reporting is highly critical of government officials, pointing to connections between illegal organizations and the military, and he has been both censored and jailed as a result of his work.

Dessale Berekhet Abraham
A veteran print and radio journalist, Dessale was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by state officials in Eritrea’s most notorious prison, Wi'A.

Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe
An investigative reporter with the major Eritrean magazine Hidri, Mebrahtu was imprisoned and tortured in response to his research on the detention of students in military camps and his coverage of women's issues.

Ruth Zecarias Ghebre
A broadcast and magazine journalist, Ruth became the target of persecution and threats of imprisonment after she produced stories on gender inequality and Eritrea's economic struggles.

All three Eritreans were forced to flee to Uganda where they continued their work as journalists – creating Unitedvoices Media Center, a web-based press freedom initiative aimed at providing a hub for unbiased reporting on political and social issues in Eritrea.

2013 Integrity Award

Bob Thomson
CJFE’s second-ever Integrity Award will honour Bob Thomson, a Canadian civil servant who, 40 years ago, blew the whistle on Canada’s refusal to accept Chilean refugees who had been violently attacked following General Augusto Pinochet’s military coup. As a result of Bob’s actions, Canada changed its policies and eventually welcomed 7,000 refugees from one of Latin America’s most brutal dictatorships.


A huge thank you to all of the 2013 CJFE Gala sponsors.


Adrienne Arsenault, Correspondent, The National
Now based in Toronto, Adrienne Arsenault was previously CBC-TV’s London correspondent, a position she took up in the fall of 2006 after having spent three-and-a-half years in Jerusalem. Before that, Washington, D.C. was home for two-and-a-half years. Adrienne has also, at times, called Vancouver and Toronto her “home base” in her various postings with the CBC. She joined the CBC in 1991 as an editorial assistant.

Over the years, and across the continents, Arsenault’s assignments have included disasters, conflicts, politics, sports and basic human dramas. She has won several Gemini awards, was named the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association’s journalist of the year and picked up a Gracie award for outstanding female correspondent and a Monte Carlo Television Festival award for her coverage of the Zimbabwe election.

Follow Adrienne Arsenault on Twitter @adriearsenault.

Beverly Thomson, Co-Host, CANADA AM
One of Canada’s most-respected news personalities, Beverly Thomson co-hosts CANADA AM weekdays from 6 a.m.–9 a.m. ET alongside Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson.

Thomson has interviewed some of the nation’s most recognized musicians, athletes, actors, authors, politicians and dignitaries, including Prime Minster Stephen Harper and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, and in 2010, she co-hosted CTV’s OLYMPIC MORNING program with Jay Onrait.

Previously, Thomson spent seven years at CTV Toronto and anchored the evening newscast at Global Toronto. Thomson’s career started in radio after graduating from Seneca College’s Radio and Television Broadcasting program.

Outside of her broadcast career, Thomson gives her time to various health charities and organizations, which include being the honorary chair and spokesperson for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, Thomson is the honorary chairperson for the York Central Hospital Foundation.

Thomson lives in the Toronto area with her two children. In her spare time she enjoys skiing and playing squash with friends.

Follow Beverly Thomson on Twitter @bdthomson.


Carol Off is the Chair of the CJFE Gala Committee, and co-host of CBC Radio's As It Happens.


Catherine Cano, Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations
Denise Donlon, C.M., Canadian broadcast executive, host and producer
Wendy Freeman, President, CTV News
Patrick Gossage, Founder and Chair, Media Profile
Frank Switzer, Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Sun Life Financial
Madeline Ziniak, National Vice-President, OMNI Television

Latest award winners


  • International Press Freedom Award

    Ahmet Şık is a freelance journalist and photographer living and working in Turkey. He has worked at several publications, including Cumhuriyet, Evrensel, Yeni Yüzyıl and Radikal. He was forced to turn to freelance journalism after facing retribution from his former employer for an...

  • International Press Freedom Award

    Photo: IPFA recipients Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe and Dessale Berekhet Abraham. Note: Ruth Zecarias asked for her photo to be withheld due to security concerns.

    Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe, Ruth Zecarias and Dessale Berekhet Abraham are three Eritrean journalists who created...

  • Integrity Award

    In 2011 an Integrity Award was introduced recognizing the need to protect the rights of “whistleblowers”. Whistleblowers are the people who expose corruption, illegal or unethical practice in the public or private sectors, all without any thought to personal gain or the professional risk they...