CJFE Newsletter: April / May 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear CJFE members and supporters,

As the month draws to a close, we’re eagerly awaiting the official launch of our 2013-2014 Review of Free Expression in Canada on Wednesday, April 30. Check out the cover of the upcoming Review of Free Expression in Canada, and meet the Canadian cartoonist behind the cover image. Keep checking in for more exclusive sneak peeks of this year’s Review at cjfe.org/2014review.

This month we continued to keep vigilant watch over the trial of Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed—three Al Jazeera journalists who have been detained under questionable charges in Egypt for more than 100 days. The journalists appeared in court twice this month, and while we were encouraged by the judge’s decision to reject irrelevant evidence presented against them, we were troubled by the order to eject media from the courtroom during their most recent court appearance. The trial is scheduled to reconvene on May 3, which is, timely enough, World Press Freedom Day. See our updated timeline for more information.

The CJFE team also had much to celebrate in April, including the selection of our 2013 International Press Freedom Award recipient Ahmet Şik for the 2014 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Congratulations, Ahmet!

Here are more CJFE highlights from the past month and some of what you can expect to see in May:

What we were working on in April:

  • • Reporter wounded and photojournalist killed in Afghanistan: On April 4, an Afghan police officer fired shots at two Associated Press journalists covering the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan. The attack wounded Canadian journalist Kathy Gannon and killed German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus.
  • • National and international advocacy: CJFE added its voice to calls for the release of an imprisoned human rights defender in Bahrain, the protection of the free expression rights of LGBT people worldwide, and donations to support two Spanish journalists released from captivity in Syria. We also urged Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to advocate for imprisoned Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy during his recent visit to Egypt.
  • • Country profiles: We discussed the dangers of freelance journalism in Syria, surveyed prevalent forms of media censorship in Venezuela, and explored the state of journalism in the Central African Republic.
  • • Protesters demand press freedom in Russia: An estimated 5,000 demonstrators gathered in Moscow on April 13, 2014 to protest against the censorship of dissenting media by President Vladimir Putin.
  • • Journalists in Distress Fund infographic: Our International Programs Assistant, Alexandra Zakreski, created a nifty infographic to showcase our Journalists in Distress Fund.
  • • Anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario: We shared an insightful op-ed about Bill 83, Ontario’s proposed anti-SLAPP law, written by Cara Zwibel from the Canadian Liberties Association, and issued a joint letter to the Attorney General asking for the passing of Bill 83 to be made a priority.
  • • Shout out to CJFE’s Review Editorial Team: We issued a special #FollowFriday for the talented and committed individuals who help bring our annual Review of Free Expression to life.
  • • Hot Docs contest: We gave away four pairs of tickets to see Point and Shoot at the 2014 Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto. Didn’t get a chance to win? Visit hotdocs.ca for tickets and showtimes.
  • Coming up in May: