Media Lawyers Win CAJ President's Award



    VANCOUVER, May 23 /CNW/ - A group of lawyers who advocate for free speech
and access to information, often waiving their fees, have won this year's
Canadian Association of Journalists President's Award.
    "These are the unsung heroes of Canadian journalism. They have done
battle, often on a pro bono basis, to help the CAJ and other media groups
protect confidential sources, win access to documents, broaden libel laws and
promote free speech," CAJ President Mary Agnes Welch said. "They give the CAJ
and all Canadian journalists a voice in the highest courts in the land and
help alter the landscape of Canadian journalism for the better. That helps
journalists shine a light on issues that matter to Canadians."
    The lawyers include Paul Schabas, Brian Rogers, Peter Jacobsen and John
Norris, who have represented the CAJ, media outlets or media organizations in
a series of cases that have redefined the journalists' rights. Those cases
include Quan v. Cusson, which established the new " public interest
responsible journalism" defence and the source protection case of former
National Post reporter Andrew McIntosh, which is now before the Supreme Court
of Canada.
    Winners of the CAJ President's Award also include Vancouver lawyer Jason
Gratl, who spoke for the CAJ last year when it challenged hate speech
provisions in British Columbia's human rights code and Bert Bruser, who has
provided years of ongoing advice to the CAJ on legal and policy issues.
    "These lawyers have helped the CAJ and Canadian journalists as they
navigate complicated and important legal issues, especially over the last
several years," said Welch. "For their time and excellent counsel, we thank
them."
    The President's Award recognizes a significant contribution to Canadian
journalism. The distinction, which is given only under circumstances of
exceptional merit, was presented Saturday night at the CAJ's investigative
journalism awards banquet. Past winners include Canadian photojournalist Zahra
Kazemi, who was murdered in Iran, and former Le Journal de Montreal crime
reporter Michel Auger.

    The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization
with more than 1,300 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary role is to
provide public-interest advocacy and quality professional development for its
members.




For further information:

For further information: visit www.caj.ca; Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ
president, Cell: (204) 470-8862; John Dickins, CAJ executive director, Cell:
(613) 868-5442


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