Gala Attendees Talk about Free Expression

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
At the CJFE Gala on November 25, 2010, we asked our guests three questions: 1. Why is free expression important? It liberates people. It ensures that the interests of the public transcends the interest of powerful groups and it’s something that we always have to protects. Tony Burman - Al Jazeera English People have to know the truth if democracy is to survive. You can’t have democracy without truth. Jan Wong Without freedom of expression, there is silence or lies, and I don’t know which is worse. Free expression is the absolute mechanism by which we are free in the holistic sense. Linden MacIntyre 2. How is a night like tonight important? Tonight is really important because it is giving personal support to our award winners. Beyond that, it’s raising awareness about the hardships that face our colleagues in other countries. Personally, it’s always a really humbling night because you don’t feel like you’re part of being in the same profession when you hear the odds that these people face. So it’s just really important for support and awareness. Michelle Shephard – Toronto Star What it does is it highlights the names of dozens and dozens and dozens of reporters who have been killed. But it let’s the public know that we’re out there and we want people to know what’s happening. Otherwise, what’s that work for, what have they died for… in vain? We’ve had Canadian journalists killed in Afghanistan. One just recently disappeared and is presumed dead this past year in Pakistan. I’ve lost a friend years ago in Lebanon. We’re trying to get the public and people out there to voice their thoughts about what is happening. Victor Malarek – CTV 3. Why is having an organization like CJFE important in Canada? I think everybody attending this event, and a huge number or them are journalists and writers, makes them realize what thin ice we stand on because anything could in fact, happen anywhere. The stories about other parts of the world, indicate what could happen and it also indicates to us the fact that we exist in a country from which we can reach out and help those other journalists. And that’s part of what this organization does, and people that attend this evening always find it intensely moving. It’s a very moving evening. Margaret Atwood I have all my gratitude with this organization, because this organization has been a companion and a counsel for me and my family during my immigration process. Luis Horacio Najera

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