CJFE Newsletter: March / April 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dear CJFE members and supporters,

March has seen many growing issues of concern for free expression. The situation in Crimea has resulted in an ongoing propaganda war and multiple attacks on journalists. In Hong Kong, two media workers were assaulted less than a month after the brutal attack against journalist Kevin Lau. The Egyptian government also continues to use stalling tactics in the trial of detained Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohammed Fahmy and his Al Jazeera English colleagues. CJFE is continuing to collect signatures on our petition to free the journalists, who have been jailed since December 2013.

On a more positive note, March also saw CJFE successfully complete our crowdfunding campaign to raise money for our annual Review of Free Expression in Canada. We surpassed our goal, raising $6,026, and want to sincerely thank everyone who showed their support. Stay tuned next month for the release of our fifth annual Review on April 30th.

What happened in March:

  • Al Jazeera staff detained in Egypt: After three court appearances, Al Jazeera English journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed remain in prison. CJFE is lobbying for their release – if you haven’t already, please sign and share our petition. For more information, we have created an infographic to break down the key elements of their case.
  • Music Freedom Day: To mark the day, March 3, we highlighted several cases of music censorship and discussed why music is such an important medium for free expression.
  • International Women’s Day: Celebrated every year on March 8, this year we took the opportunity to recognize three different organizations around the world that are providing female journalists with the means to exercise their right to free expression.
  • Canadian Ali Mustafa killed in Syria: On March 9, the Canadian freelance photographer was killed by a barrel bomb explosion while working in Aleppo, Syria. CJFE worked with his family to raise funds to have his body returned to Canada, and donated to help with the cost of his burial.
  • Life after the Winter Olympics: Freedom of expression at the Sochi Winter Games was almost non-existent, as the Russian government held firm control over protests and media. We followed the events with our Watch Sochi timeline.
  • Censorship in North Korea: A look at what we know about free expression in one of the most oppressive countries in the world
  • What’s happening in April:

  • Journalists in Distress (JID): Stay tuned for an infographic about the danger that journalists are currently facing around the world, and information on who CJFE is helping through our JID program.
  • #FreeAJstaff timeline: To help monitor the trial against the Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt, we are creating a timeline to track all the events that have occurred since their December arrest.
  • Freedom of expression in Venezuela: As the Venezuelan government tries everything in its power to censor journalists, we will take a look at the implications current protests are having on the state of press freedom in Venezuela.
  • Freelancing in Syria: We are examining how freelancers are trying to report from this conflict zone, which remained the deadliest country for journalists in 2013.
  • Silence is Gold: On April 1, Cinema Politica, a Canada-based non-profit media arts network, will hold the Toronto premiere of the investigative documentary Silence is Gold, which takes a look at free expression in the age of the mega-corporation. For more information, check out Cinema Politica or join the Facebook event.
  • Thunderclap on F1 race in Bahrain: The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders are organizing a Thunderclap campaign for April 6, to highjack the #F1 hashtag and denounce human rights violations in Bahrain. CJFE is taking part and we appreciate your support. Join the campaign.
  • Review of Free Expression in Canada: The official launch will take place on April 30, but keep your eyes open for a few sneak peeks that we’ll be posting in advance of its release.

For more free expression news, commentary and event updates, visit cjfe.org!

Until next month,

Alexandra Theodorakidis
CJFE Communications and Publications Assistant