11th annual CAJ Code of Silence - Call for nominations

OTTAWA, April 21 /CNW/ - You've called. You've e-mailed. Your frustration has reached beyond coughing up the cash to file a formal request and you're still getting stonewalled.

It's time to get even.

For the 10th successive year, the Canadian Association of Journalists is accepting nominations for your favourite (sic) government department or publicly funded agency for the CAJ's Code of Silence. The code, presented annually since 2001, recognizes Canada's most secretive publicly funded body.

"Some governments and other publicly funded bodies just don't seem to understand the basic democratic concept of the public's right to know," CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch said. "As technology evolves and open-data initiatives fuel innovation in journalism, these governments continue to avoid calls to let the public access public information."

Previous winners include the Toronto Police Service, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's PMO, the Ontario Courts, and the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Choosing a winner has been a challenge every year as journalists across Canada submit strong nominees for our consideration.

This award isn't just for the big federal and provincial government departments and agencies. Previous nominees included municipal councils in Montague, PEI, and Rossland, B.C. as well as the economic development agency in Fort Erie, Ont. We welcome nominations from journalists working in any newsroom who face the frustration of wrangling information out of any publicly funded body that seems to put extra effort into keeping it from the public.

Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at maryagnes@caj.ca. The deadline for nominees is Friday, May 6 - a week before the start of our 2011 conference in Ottawa on May 13. The award will be handed out to the winner as part of the awards banquet on May 14 at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing about 800 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information:

Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president - (204) 697-7590, cell (204) 470-8862
maryagnes@caj.ca

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