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CAJ marks 15 years of the Code of Silence Award

OTTAWA, April 20, 2016 /CNW/ - It's a tongue-in-cheek idea with serious overtones that was first presented 15 years ago – the Canadian Association of Journalists' Code of Silence.

Nursed to life by past-president Rob Cribb, the idea was to "celebrate" Canada's most-secretive government, department, agency or publicly funded body. Who was putting that extra bit of elbow grease into keeping any sunlight from reaching the public's business?

The "winner" that first year? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Starting today, the CAJ is accepting nominations from journalists working in Canada who've been fighting the good fight to pry public information out of the hands of bureaucrats and politicians from sea, to sea, to sea.

Nominators are asked to think big and small – previous winners include the entire federal government, omnibus government legislation, a former prime minister's office and several government departments federally and provincially. They also include the Resort Municipality of Whistler and come from questions as simple as how many fish were being spawned at a federal facility – an answer shared with tour groups but not with an inquiring journalist before the spin masters were involved.

If it takes and/or spends public money and isn't being open and transparent about how it does so, it's an eligible nominee.

Do you have an egregious example that gets your own blood boiling? Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at nick@caj.ca.

The winner will be announced during the closing banquet for the #CAJ16 conference at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel on May 28. Registration for the entire conference is open, with early bird rates ending May 20.

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