OTTAWA, April 23, 2013 /CNW/ - It's time to get even with that publicly funded government, department or agency whose information is kept in the murky shadows.
For the 12th 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.
Previous winners include the Harper government, Toronto Police Service, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 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.
Here are some nominations we've already considered:
- Government scientists: Entirely of others' doing, our scientists are being increasingly muzzled when they conduct research whose findings may not align with the government's agenda
- The Municipality of Central Huron (Ontario): This small municipal council recently had its wrist slapped for a series of closed-door meetings—most gallingly, one where councillors discussed whether or not to formally complain about a local journalist and ban her from attending future meetings.
- The Resort Municipality of Whistler (B.C.): This municipality enacted a new communications policy where media can only have on-the-record conversations with two staff members and the mayor. It has made it particular easy for the municipality to avoid scrutiny of unpopular policies and decisions.
Do you think one of these should be honoured this year? Let us know! Have an egregious example that gets your own blood boiling? Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 500 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:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 519-756-2020 ext. 2226, email@example.com