Hello free speech aficionados! This is your monthly dose of free expression and freedom of information news from your friends here at CJFE.
This month, we went to Montreal as human rights monitors, announced our intervention in the RCMP case against VICE journalist Ben Makuch, and organized a protest for a prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan, among other things. Read on to hear about it all!
So far in 2016, at least nine individuals have been targeted and violently killed in Bangladesh for exercising their right to free expression. Join us on June 9 at a free panel discussion on this very important issue. Learn more about the current climate for free thinkers in Bangladesh, the threats they face, and most importantly, potential ways of mitigating this crisis.
Free Expression in Canada
CJFE will intervene in the ongoing court battle between the RCMP and VICE News. VICE is asking the court to throw out a March ruling that ordered VICE News journalist Ben Makuch to hand over chat logs between him and an alleged ISIS fighter.
The day after Alberta’s Conservative government was defeated by Rachel Notley and the NDP, 344 boxes of documents from the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Department (ESRD) were destroyed.
Following up on a promise to independently monitor interactions between police and journalists, CJFE attended the 2016 May Day protests in Montreal.
The new Liberal government earned a C- on Access to Information (ATI) in CJFE's annual Report Card. While the ATI system remains broken, this grade represents an improvement on years of abysmal failure.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has asked Canadians to consider the right to be forgotten as potential means to “protect reputational privacy.” But attempts to put this idea into action in Europe have had unintended consequences that undermine freedom of expression.
Free Expression Around the World
Azerbaijan: Khadija Ismayilova is released from prison!
The Supreme Court of Azerbaijan has released investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova on probation! Since her arrest in 2014, she spent a total of 537 days in detention on absurd, unjust charges for offenses she did not commit. Here in Toronto, we held aprotest calling for the release of all political prisoners in the country.
CJFE condemns the detention of Canadian scientist Robert Penner in Nepal, and is alarmed by the decision to expel him from the country. Authorities revoked Penner’s visa for posting tweets critical of the government.
Bangladesh: Urgent change needed to prevent further deaths
We condemn recent statements by Bangladesh government officials appearing to blame free thinkers for their own deaths at the hands of violent extremists. We call on the UNHRC toinvestigate these brutal murders.
Azerbaijan: Political Prisoners Released!
Human rights defender Rasul Jafarov stepped out from Baku’s Prison Number 10 into freedom on March 17th after spending 593 days unjustly jailed. The same day, the European Court of Human Rights acknowledged that his arrest was politically motivated.
Thanks for reading, and for your continued support of CJFE!
Until next time,
CJFE Promotions and Communications Coordinator