CJFE Newsletter: April 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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Dear CJFE members and supporters,

Spring has finally arrived, but CJFE hasn’t had time to stop and smell the roses! It’s been a busy month of advocating against the Canadian government’s proposed ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation, keeping up with the Egyptian trial of Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and working on the upcoming Review of Free Expression in Canada. We’ve also been preparing for next Friday’s conference on Canadians’ right to know and access to information, which will bring together journalists, academics, lawyers, and other experts to explore the current challenges facing Canada’s Information system. Make sure to get your tickets today! Check out everything we’ve had on the go this month – and see what’s coming up.

Review of Free Expression in Canada: Last fundraising call!

The launch of this year’s Review is fast approaching, but you can still help us go above and beyond our fundraising goal. Become a member today – it’s your last chance to purchase a membership at a 70% discount. This month we revealed some great sneak peeks of this year’s Review, including exclusive cartoons, issues of privacy and surveillance, as well as threats to press freedom and risks facing journalists.

CJFE’s Bill C-51 Materials:

  • Cheat sheet: CJFE pulled together a set of resources, analyses, and critical articles of Bill C-51.
  • Open letter to PM Harper: CJFE and more than 100 organizations and notable individuals call for the immediate and unconditional dismissal of Bill C-51.
  • C-51 threatens free expression: Paula Todd, CJFE Board member and Chair of our Digital Issues Committee, examines the many insidious ways that Canadians’ right to free expression will be violated if Bill C-51 is passed.
  • Top 6 ways you’ll be affected: Read about the concrete, very real consequences that the proposed legislation will have for you.
  • Bill C-51 infographic: Take a look at the most important statistics and criticisms of this dangerous legislation.
  • Charter of Rights and Freedoms in jeopardy: Lawyers Peter Jacobsen and Andrew MacDonald lay out the threat Bill C-51 poses to the Charter – the very rights, freedoms, and values that terrorists are said to hate.

#FreeAJStaff updates:

CJFE was deeply troubled by the Canadian government’s refusal to issue journalist Mohamed Fahmy a passport. We, along with other organizations and concerned citizens, pushed the government to reverse its decision. It relented, and sent Fahmy a temporary passport. Also, during the trial hearing on April 28 the prosecution suffered a major blow when a technical committee reported that their analysis demonstrated the two journalists had not fabricated any footage portraying Egypt as being in a state of civil war.

What else we’ve been working on in April:

  • Anniversary of senseless attack: To mark the one-year anniversary since a senseless attack killed photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus and injured Canadian journalist Kathy Gannon, CJFE looked at the continuing absence of free expression improvements in Afghanistan.
  • Remembering Bob Carty: CJFE joined a coffeehouse event on April 18 to honour the life and music of the late Bob Carty, a journalist, activist, and CJFE Board member tirelessly dedicated to human rights.
  • Film Festival tickets giveaway: CJFE was proud to co-present the Canadian premiere of Chameleon at this year’s Hot Docs. We also profiled the subject of Chameleon,Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Africa’s most notorious undercover journalist.
  • International events: The fight for free expression around the world experienced highs and lows this month: cartoonists, journalists, and human rights defenders were threatened or killed, but a potentially valuable new UN expert was appointed on Privacy in the Digital Age as well. CJFE reported on setbacks in Azerbaijan, Malaysia (here and here), Syria, Thailand, Ukraine, and Yemen.

What’s coming up:

  • May 3: The Fahmy Foundation is holding a rally in Vancouver on World Press Freedom Day to highlight the plight of journalists and photographers who have been arrested and jailed for doing their jobs.
  • May 5: CJFE is extremely proud to launch its 2014-15 Review of Free Expression in Canada!
  • May 8: CJFE’s conference, hosted in partnership with the Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University, about the failing right to know and access to information in Canada.
  • June 11: CJFE is holding its Annual General Meeting at Ryerson University this year. All members are invited to attend and participate in the election of Board members and the adoption of new bylaws. Stay tuned for more details about the location and a great guest speaker.

Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox next Tuesday, as we’ll be letting you know as soon as the Review goes live!

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