Wednesday, June 17, 2009Yesterday, members of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) filled the Upper Library at Massey College in Toronto for CJFE's Annual General Meeting (AGM). Three new Board members were elected to CJFE's Board of Directors. They are: Havoc Franklin who is a program development manager with CBC Radio. Havoc stated at the meeting that he has been a member of the organization since its beginning; Peter Jacobsen is a founding partner of the firm Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP and brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of defamation law and media law; and Sharda Prashad is a senior writer at Canadian Business where she covers precious metals and management. In addition to possessing an MBA, Prashad also has her chartered accountancy designation and a masters of education. In addition to the new board members, six current board members successfully ran for re-election: Arnold Amber (President), Bob Carty, Alice Klein, Anita Mielewczyk, John Norris and Phil Tunley. Arnold welcomed the new Board members and remarked that their variety of skills and areas of expertise would be welcomed on this hard-working Board. They join current board members, Morteza Abdolalian, Alison Armstrong, Donald Livingstone, Mary Deanne Shears, Kelly Toughill and Anna Maria Tremonti. Meeting with a large round of applause was the announcement by Scotiabank executives Sue Graham Parker and Frank Switzer that Scotiabank will renew its support of CJFE's International Press Freedom Awards by becoming the Evening Sponsor. Parker, the Senior Vice President, Public Corporate and Government Affairs, also spoke about how proud she was of the joint partnership between Scotiabank, Massey College and CJFE to create a brand new journalism fellowship for a Latin American journalist, and announced that the first fellow, who will arrive at the college in September is Eric Lemus. Lemus is a Salvadoran journalist who works for La Pagina.com and contributes to the Spanish service of BBC World. The AGM was followed by a fascinating panel discussion entitled - Police Impersonating Journalists - a dangerous practice which can have a damaging impact on a journalist's credibility and infringes on the public's ability to get their stories told. In the words of panelist Phil Tunley this under-reported practice is "like an iceberg, much of it under the surface, but occasionally bits of it are uncovered." Tunley was joined by fellow lawyer Peter Rosenthal who represents native activist Shawn Brant, along with journalists Peter Edwards and Kelly Toughill. Anita Mielewczyk moderated the discussion which CJFE will use in its preparation to launch a Charter Application on this issue. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and abroad.
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