CITIZEN LAB wins prize for defence of the Internet

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OTTAWA, May 2 /CNW/ - The Citizen Lab is the recipient of this year's press freedom award of the Canadian Committee for World press Freedom (CCWPF),

The 13th annual Press Freedom Award goes to a Canadian person or group who has defended or advanced the cause of freedom of expression. The Citizen Lab team, based at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, was selected for its ongoing dedication to free expression online through work that exposes cases of Internet censorship and espionage around the world.

The award includes a cash prize of $2,000 and a certificate from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO whose Secretary-General, David A. Walden, presented it at a noon luncheon in Ottawa on May 3rd.

"We have been impressed by the work Citizen Lab has done in exposing the extent of Internet censorship in dozens of countries, such as China and Tunisia," says Bob Carty, a board member of CCWPF. "Their work in documenting cases of Internet espionage is important to prevent computers from being hi-jacked by others and to keep the Internet a domain that is safe and public. And their work in designing and disseminating software to help circumvent Internet censorship has already helped hundreds of activists around the world bring about dramatic and democratising change in the face of tyranny and repression."

"The Internet has changed forever the way we impart and receive information, and it is critical that we keep it free." said Rafal Rohozinski, Senior Research Advisor for Citizen Lab and the CEO of the Psiphon, the censorship circumvention project. "We are greatly honoured by this award."

The Ottawa event for World Press Freedom Day, held at the National Arts Centre, also announced winners of the 11th International Editorial Cartoon Competition on the theme: "Wikileaks and its creators: villains or heroes?" This year the competition received more than 700 submissions from 50 countries with prizes of $1,500, $750 and $500 going to the top three cartoons. The Grand Prize went to cartoonist Marilena Nardi of Italy. Second Prize was won by Jugoslav Vlahovic of Serbia, with Sergey Elkin of Russian winning Third prize. 

The event tries to increase awareness about continuing violations of freedom of expression, such as the killing of 87 journalists and media workers in 2010. There are also new and ominous trends in the threat to free speech: last year more than 50 journalists were kidnapped for ransom or political propaganda, more than 500 were arrested, and more than 1,300 were attacked or threatened.

May 3 was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted earlier at UNESCO's General Conference. At the World Press Freedom Day luncheon in Ottawa, an annual event since 1998, awards are presented to Canadian contributors to the cause. Sponsors of the CCWPF luncheon include the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Export Development Canada, the IDRC, Rx&D, Newspapers Canada, the Ottawa Citizen, the Hill Times/Embassy, Le Droit, and many more.

*The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) grants media outlets the right to publish these cartoons for the purpose of drawing attention to freedom of expression issues and World Press Freedom Day. Published cartoons must credit the cartoon creator and his/her country as well as the CCWPF's competition. The committee would appreciate being sent links to cartoons that are published:

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:















SOURCE Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom

For further information:

Shawn McCarthy
tel: 613-294-4491

Gord McIntosh
tel: 613-724-1478

Bob Carty
tel: 613-7301-1007

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Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom

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