Highlights from World Press Freedom Day 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

By Alexandra Zakreski

World Press Freedom Day, an annual occasion to highlight the obstacles, hostility and persecution experienced by journalists around the world, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday, May 3. Citizens around the world reflected on achievements and setbacks in freedom of expression, recognizing contributions by journalists and media professionals, and commemorating those lost in their line of work while reminding governments of their obligations to the public.

The day is an opportunity to evaluate the health of freedom of expression around the world, and there is no shortage of issues to be addressed right here in Canada. As in years past, CJFE marks this day with the launch of the Review of Free Expression in Canada, our annual publication that takes the temperature of free expression in Canada. This year’s publication explores the cult of secrecy. From the silencing of scientists to police posing as journalists to the surveillance of aboriginal activists, this pervasive issue threatens citizens’ right to free expression and undermines democratic society.

Download a copy of the 2012/2013 Review of Free Expression in Canada.

Notable World Press Freedom Day events

After one of the most dangerous and deadly years for journalists in 2012, UNESCO has made the theme of this year’s day “Safe to Speak -- Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.” This year’s winner of UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano prize is imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu. Alemu was recommended by an independent international jury of media professionals in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”

In Ottawa, the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) held their annual luncheon celebration at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Stephen Maher of Postmedia News and Glen McGregor of The Ottawa Citizen were honoured with the World Press Freedom Award.

CJFE’s World Press Freedom Day activities and publications:

Launch of the 2012/2013 Review of Free Expression in Canada

Live Blog of Free to Speak: A Salon Discussion on the State of Free Expression in Canada

Huffington Post | Let Science Speak: Harper Government Continues to Muzzle Federally Funded Scientists, by Bob Carty

Huffington Post | What the Government Is Hiding Should Make Canadians “Blush in Horror,” by Arnold Amber

The Globe and Mail | In too much of the world, press freedom remains a dream, by Annie Game

Toronto Star | Plague of Government Secrecy Throttles Canadians’ Freedom, by Arnold Amber

Other World Press Freedom Day Resources

Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom | 2013 cartoon competition

European Federation of Journalists | World Press Freedom Day statement

The Globe and Mail | Infographic for World Press Freedom Day

Huffington Post | UNESCO’s Fight to Promote a Truly American Value Globally: Freedom of Speech

IFEX | World Press Freedom Day website

UNESCO 2013 World Press Freedom Day website

World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA) | World Press Freedom Day resources

In the news:

CBC.ca | DFO gets F in free expression from journalism group

The Globe and Mail | Post Media, Ottawa Citizen journalists earn press freedom award for robo-calls coverage

The Globe and Mail | Discussing Russia on World Press Freedom Day

Huffington Post | As Power of Media Rises, the Deadliest Year for Journalists

Huffington Post | Shining the Light on Press Freedom Worldwide

Huffington Post | Why You Should Care About the Safety of Journalists

Macleans | Free-speech report takes aim at Harper government’s ‘culture of secrecy’
(Canadian Press article appeared in Macleans and elsewhere)

Montreal Gazette | FPJQ appeals for rewrite of Quebec’s Access to Information law