TORONTO, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - In the 2013 Review of Free Expression in Canada, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) highlights a serious
issue in Canada: a cult of secrecy. From the silencing of scientists to
police posing as journalists to the surveillance of aboriginal
activists, this pervasive issue threatens citizens' right to free
expression and undermines democratic society.
"We have been concerned for some time about the growing stranglehold on
information available to Canadians," says CJFE President Arnold Amber.
"But when we took a look at our publication as a whole, there are so
many manifestations of information control that we could see it isn't
simply a problem with our flawed and failing Access to Information Act.
It is systemic. Its roots burrow across government departments and
across Canada. It is a sickness debilitating our democracy."
CJFE marks World Press Freedom Day (May 3) each year with the launch of
its annual Review of Free Expression in Canada. The only publication of its kind, the Review looks at the most pressing issues of free expression in the past year,
analyzes the results of major court cases and examines trends,
breakthroughs and obstacles.
Experts in media law and free expression explore the cult of secrecy in
the Review's articles and signature Report Card on Free Expression in Canada. This year's grades span the spectrum from head of the class to
flunking out. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is at the bottom
with a grade of "F," singled out for its zeal in muzzling scientists
and keeping critical research findings from Canadians.
Other Report Card grades include:
D- for Access to Information and the federal government, whose aging Access
law is ranked 55th out of 93 countries with such laws. The D- grade is a departure from
the past three years, which earned F's—after seeing small signs of
improvement, CJFE is offering encouragement to the federal government
in the hopes that it will heed the many voices calling for reform.
A for the Parliamentary Budget Office led by Kevin Page for its
contribution over the past five years to the discourse in Canada about
access to information, transparency and accountability of government.
C for the Supreme Court, for a year spent finding and sticking to the
middle of the road. It broke no important new ground for free
expression, and in at least one case, it missed a real opportunity to
bring about much-needed change.
CJFE is launching the Review of Free Expression in Canada at a special invitation-only event on May 2 at the Norman Felix Gallery,
featuring emcee Anna Maria Tremonti and guest speakers Lillian Allen,
Michael Healey, Franke James and Elizabeth Renzetti. The event is presented in partnership with the Canadian Commission for
UNESCO. The event will be live blogged at http://cjfe.org/freetospeak using #freetospeak.
The Review was made possible by the generosity of many donors, volunteers and
contributors, and by the invaluable support of Ad IDEM, the Canadian
Commission for UNESCO, The Globe and Mail, Juniper Park, Media Profile and TC Transcontinental.
For a copy of the 2013 Review of Free Expression in Canada, please visit www.cjfe.org/2013Review.
CJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to
information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we
promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE
boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and
encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of
their own and others' free expression rights. www.cjfe.org
SOURCE: Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
For further information:
For more information and to request interviews, please contact:
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