CJFE Newsletter: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dear CJFE members and supporters,

This month CJFE was very proud to launch the Snowden Archive, a collection of all Snowden documents that have been published by media to date, in partnership with the University of Toronto. The Archive has seen tens of thousands of visitors so far, and has been used by both the CBC and The Globe and Mail teams working with Snowden documents as a part of their research. To launch the Archive, we held a live Q&A with Edward Snowden who answered questions from across the country, followed by a panel discussion featuring Dave Seglins, Andrew Clement, and Laura Tribe. Watch the full video of the event, or check out some of Snowden’s best quotes about surveillance and free expression in Canada.

Our upcoming Review of Free Expression in Canada is well underway. Since 2009, CJFE has published an annual one-of-a-kind Review, which tracks the most pressing free expression over the past year. Our fundraising campaign is making great progress, but we need your help to reach our goal of $7,000. As a limited time offer, CJFE memberships are available at a discount of 70% off until the Review is launched. Become a member today!

What else we’ve been working on:

  • Write2Know campaign to unmuzzle scientists: We’re working to reverse the government’s restrictive policies and funding cuts to science research in Canada. Join the campaign and spread the word that Canadians value our right to know.
  • Failing Access to Information system: Canada’s Information Commissioner tabled a report that recommends an overhaul of the ATI Act, and organizations across the country joined to support the call for comprehensive reform to the system.
  • Rallies to stop Bill C-51: Canadians in over 70 communities protested the government’s proposed anti-terror legislation during an inspiring national Day of Action on March 14.
  • International Women’s Day: This year CJFE celebrated female human rights defenders who have made a difference in their own countries and around the world, often risking their own lives.
  • Ignoring Mexico’s drug war: The war on drug cartels in Mexico has claimed close to 120,000 lives in the past decade, yet the country’s precarious human security remains under-reported in Canadian media. CJFE examined the extent of the silence surrounding the ongoing crisis.
  • International setbacks: Threats and attacks against journalists, media workers, and human rights defenders continued around the world this month, with CJFE speaking out about deeply troubling events in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Jordan, Swaziland, and Syria.

#FreeAJStaff updates

The past month’s court appearances have continued the emotional rollercoaster for Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed:

  • March 9: The trial was postponed once again after witnesses for the prosecution failed to appear for the second time in a row.
  • March 19: Three key witnesses for the prosecution finally appeared in court and dramatically undermined their previous testimony.
  • March 25: The trial was adjourned until April 22, for a new technical committee to assess video footage the prosecution claims was doctored to portray Egypt as being in a state of civil war.

What’s coming up in April:

  • Review of Free Expression in Canada: Keep your eyes open for weekly campaign updates and sneak peeks that we’ll be posting before the publication’s official release for World Press Freedom Day.
  • Win 2 tickets to “Chameleon” at Hot Docs! Stay tuned for details on how to enter a contest to win tickets to the Canadian premiere of Chameleon at the 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival on April 25.
  • Bill C-51: We’ll be discussing why Canada’s anti-terrorism Act poses serious threats to free expression.

Thank you for your continued support of CJFE, and I’ll be back again next month with another newsletter!

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