Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom | Nominations open for 2019 CCWPF Press Freedom Award
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05 Feb 2019 Nominations open for 2019 CCWPF Press Freedom Award

OTTAWA, Feb. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – Do you know a journalist or media employee whose work has been frustrated by a cloak of secrecy over the public’s right to know, or by legal manoeuvres or political intimidation? Do you know of a reporter who has risked his or her safety or reputation for the sake of free speech? If so, why not nominate him or her for the annual Press Freedom Award from the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom?

This annual award goes to a journalist or media worker in Canadian print, digital or broadcasting who has made a significant contribution to freedom of expression, often by standing up to government or private interests that would thwart the reporting of events or stories of significant public interest, or by advancing press freedom through the subjects he or she reports on. Institutions that work towards the same objectives may also apply or be nominated.

Nominations based on work related to press freedom in 2018 are now open. The application deadline is March 15, 2019. The winner receives a $2,000 prize and a certificate from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO at the annual World Press Freedom Day Luncheon in Ottawa on May 2, 2019.

The CCWPF is among many organizations that seeks to raise awareness about the journalists who face hardship, including imprisonment, or even risk their lives to inform the public, said Shawn McCarthy, chair of the Ottawa-based group.

“Canadian journalists work in a country of relative freedom, but we still have to be vigilant because their independence is routinely threatened,” said McCarthy.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in December that the number of journalists who were murdered around the globe nearly doubled in 2018 over the previous year. Among them was Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post and other publications, who was killed by agents of the Saudi government in October. Another high-profile killing of journalists last year happened in June, when a gunman shot five people in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

Meanwhile, at home, journalists were dealt a setback in November when the the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Vice News in a press-freedom decision that forces the media outlet to hand over to police a reporter’s communication records with an alleged ISIS militant.

The CCWPF 2018 press freedom award winner was The Independent, an online publication in Newfoundland and Labrador, whose reporter Justin Brake was criminally charged with mischief and violating an injunction after he followed Indigenous protestors into a construction site of a controversial hydro-electric project at Muskrat Falls in Labrador.  

Other winners in the award’s 21-year history have included:  Ben Makuch (Vice News); Patrick Lagacé (La Presse);  Paul Dornstauder and Geoff Leo, (CBC Saskatchewan); Mohammed Fahmy (Al Jazeera English); Katherine Gannon(Associated Press); Michelle Lang, posthumously (Calgary Herald); Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor (Postmedia); Daniel Leblanc (Globe and Mail); John Hoey and Anne Marie Todkill (Canadian Medical Association Journal); Gilles Toupin and Joel-Denis Bellevance (La Presse); Tarek Fatah (author and columnist); Juliet O’Neill (Ottawa Citizen), Andrew McIntosh (National Post); Haroon Siddiqui (Toronto Star); and Kim Bolan (Vancouver Sun).

To apply for the award or to nominate a deserving Canadian journalist or media worker, please fill out our nomination form.

SOURCE Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom

For further information: Shawn McCarthy, at 613 566-3607 or smccarthy@globeandmail.com; Janice Tibbetts, board member, at 613-233-3181 or janice.tibbetts@carleton.ca