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The Code of Silence award: Call for nominations!

As #CAJ17 approaches, it's time to revive our annual tongue-in-cheek tradition, an idea with serious overtones: the Canadian Association of Journalists' Code of Silence award. 

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. 

The CAJ is now 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, last year, Canada's "financial intelligence unit." 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 #CAJ17 conference at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel on April 29Registration for the conference is open, with early bird rates ending April 25.

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