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Purchase of Shaw Media sets stage for closures, consolidations

OTTAWA, Jan. 13, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned a $2.6-billion sale of Shaw Media Inc. could lay the foundation for a series of negative changes to the broadcasting industry in Canada.

The purchase announced Wednesday involves selling the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. to Corus Entertainment Inc. A plurality of shares in both companies is owned by the Shaw family.

The announcement is symptomatic of what can happen in a landscape dominated by fewer than a handful of corporations – the transfer of jobs and assets from one hand to another within a larger corporate structure to free up cash for other purposes. In this case – where the CAJ’s concerns lie – it will bring 15 television stations, 39 radio stations, 45 specialty channels and their associated digital properties under Corus’ management.

“This purchase only lays the groundwork for further consolidation and closures within the Canadian broadcasting industry. Such reductions, while favourable on a balance sheet, mean fewer options for those looking for original Canadian content on their TVs, radios and devices,” CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey said. “They also mean fewer jobs, in Canada, for those who create that content.

“We urge Corus, should it choose to consolidate any of its properties, to preserve Canadian content and jobs in its newsrooms and production studios.”

The CAJ continues to hold its longstanding concern with the ongoing consolidation of ownership in the media sector and the negative impact this has on diversity of voices, availability of local news and information and opportunities for journalists.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

www.caj.ca | www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists | www.twitter.com/CAJ

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, nick@caj.ca

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CAJ stands up for editorial independence at Vista Radio

We sent this letter to Vista Radio on Wednesday, Dec. 9. A .pdf of the letter is available here.

Dec. 9, 2015

RE: Editorial independence of journalists

ATTN: Geoff Poulton, President of Vista Radio

Dear Mr. Poulton,

I write to you today in my capacity as the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Our National Board was recently made aware of a concerning situation at Vista Radio properties that appears to threaten the editorial independence of journalists who work in your newsrooms.

A Vista Radio employee recently confirmed to the CAJ that the company made an offer to editorial staff to participate voluntarily in commissioned advertising sales during a chain-wide, one-day sales blitz. While we understand the challenges media owners face, and particularly the ongoing struggle even to maintain advertising revenue, we must oppose any effort to involve editorial staff in advertising.

The CAJ adopted a policy paper in 2007 that explains our position. We hold that separation of editorial and advertising operations are “critical to the long-term financial viability of a newspaper or broadcast outlet. If readers and viewers lose faith in a news outlet’s autonomy, they will abandon it.”

The policy paper on editorial independence offers a section on advertising guidelines that reinforce this principle:

“Complete operational separation should be maintained between editorial staff and advertising staff. Advertising staff should never attempt to influence new coverage in any way, whether it relates to a current client or not.”

The CAJ would strongly encourage Vista Radio to establish internal policy consistent with our policy paper’s recommendation to that end:

“All news outlets should create internally a list of guidelines for editors and advertising sales reps that clarify the segregation of editorial and ad functions…”

We understand that no journalist has been forced into ad sales, but clear rules that prohibit any breaches of the firewall between editorial and advertising operations can only enhance the credibility of any news organization.

I’d be happy to discuss this further, at your convenience. Please don’t hesitate to reach me at (647) 968-2393 or nick@caj.ca.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
CAJ President
(647) 968-2393
nick@caj.ca

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Canada loses more valuable storytellers: CAJ

**UPDATE: NOV. 19, 2015*** Further cuts at Bell have continued to stretch Canadian newsrooms. We continue to call for media owners to exercise good judgement and only cut news operations as a last resort.

OTTAWA / NOV. 7, 2015 / CNW – The Canadian Association of Journalists has written countless press releases in the wake of job cuts at newsrooms across Canada. We continue to watch as journalists and their audiences pay the price when publishers struggle to reconcile years-old industry challenges with their bottom line.

The latest cuts come at Bell Media, where the union representing journalists says 380 employees will be affected in Toronto and Montreal, including 290 from editorial and production operations. Stephane Giroux, a Montreal-based CTV legal affairs reporter, tweeted that the cuts affect all Bell-owned media properties. The company owns CTV, CP24, Business News Network, TSN, RDS, and 106 licensed radio stations.

“We feel for every journalist who loses a job, and every journalist forced to do more with less in a smaller newsroom,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “The longer media owners struggle, the leaner our newsrooms become. Journalists lose, and so do their readers, listeners, and viewers.”

The CAJ is repeating calls for media owners to only cut news operations as a last resort. “Every time a newsroom loses a journalist, its audiences lose a fair and balanced voice,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The hard-working journalists who remain save the day. But media owners shouldn’t rely on a strategy that pushes their newsrooms to a breaking point.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, nick@caj.ca

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RCMP interference in VICE News reporting is inexcusable: CAJ

OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2015 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police crossed a line earlier this year when its officers entered VICE News offices and demanded communications between a journalist and his source, says the Canadian Association of Journalists.

In February, after VICE reported on the actions and intent of a member of the so-called Islamic State militant group, the Mounties entered the news organization’s Montreal and Toronto offices. Officers ordered VICE to turn over all communications between reporter Ben Makuch and Farah Mohamed Shirdon, an IS militant who formerly lived in Calgary.

A court-ordered sealing order prevented VICE from reporting on the incident until Oct. 30. VICE is challenging both orders in court.

“Fighting terrorism by serving journalists with production orders and silencing them with gag orders for months on end violates Canada’s freedom of the press and is a waste of police resources,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “Makuch was doing his job in the public interest. Police must respect every journalist’s right to protect their sources as they go about their work.”

Canadian reporters have a history of defending their rights in the face of police intimidation. When the Mounties raided Ottawa Citizen journalist Juliet O’Neill’s home in 2004 after she had reported exhaustively on Maher Arar’s case, they threatened her with prosecution under the Security of Information Act. The courts struck down the information-sharing sections of that law and affirmed O’Neill’s right of free expression.

Every time police inappropriately interrupt a journalist’s work, whether by demanding information or threatening prosecution, they pose a direct affront to the freedom of the press. “Journalists aren’t an on-call branch of law enforcement,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The courts know that. It’s inexcusable for a police force to forget that.”

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this release inaccurately implied that the RCMP raided VICE News offices. We regret the error.

For further information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, 647.968.2393, nick@caj.ca

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CAJ demands legal reforms in wake of B.C. secrecy scandal

KAMLOOPS, BC, Oct. 22, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists demands British Columbia Premier Christy Clark take immediate action to reform the province’s records access law following the release of a report that indicates a breathtaking level of secrecy within her administration.

In that report, the province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham found that government staff:

* deleted emails responsive to access to information requests and prevented others from producing these records;

* either wilfully or negligently failed to produce records that are potentially responsive to an access request; and

* failed to keep any sent emails, irrespective of the topic.

“Like too many other governments across this country, the Clark administration has repeatedly shown a callus disregard for the public’s democratic right to know what their elected government is doing,” said Canadian Association of Journalists president Nick Taylor-Vaisey.

“Denham’s catalogue of government secrecy requires nothing less than significant reforms to the province’s freedom of information law – a decades-old demand that has been repeatedly ignored by the BC Liberals.”

Taylor-Vaisey said that reform must include a legal requirement for public officials to document their decisions and punishment for those who don’t or destroy those records, as well the closure of a legal loophole that allows government to keep all of its policy advice secret.

“We are supposed to live in a democracy,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “But these are the actions of government that apparently doesn’t realize that.”

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with over 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For further information: Dale Bass, CAJ chair, 250-572-4620, dale@caj.ca; Sean Holman, CAJ vice-president, 403-397-4751, sean@caj.ca; www.caj.ca | www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists | www.twitter.com/CAJ

Read the release on CNW.

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Newsrooms must confront sponsored content ethical dilemmas

OCT. 6, 2015 — Newsrooms must establish guidelines that clearly distinguish between what is journalism and what is advertising, says a new discussion paper from the Canadian Association of Journalists’ ethics advisory committee.

Content created to serve private interests is inherently different than content published in the public interest, says paper co-author Esther Enkin. “The CAJ ethics committee is clear that sponsored content does not meet the CAJ's own definition of journalism. But it's everywhere, and it's part of the working life of many of our colleagues,” she says.

“We hope this paper will spark a lively debate about the short and long term ethical implications of this ubiquitous model.”

Newsrooms confront two major ethical issues when it comes to sponsored content: potential deception of readers, and even self-deception within newsrooms; and conflict of interest involving journalists who both write critically and contribute to sponsored content on the same beat. The committee encourages newsrooms to acknowledge those issues and address them appropriately.

To read the discussion paper, click here.

The CAJ’s ethics advisory committee considers and provides advice on ethical issues faced by journalists through the course of their regular work. Members are appointed by the CAJ’s national board of directors, and the chair or co-chairs are appointed by the board from among the committee members.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For further information:
Esther Enkin
CBC Ombudsman and report co-author
416-205-2978

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
CAJ president
647-968-2393

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 CAJ Awards!

HALIFAX, June 6, 2015 /CNW/ – It was reporting that initiated a series of changes whose impacts are still resonating throughout Alberta.

The CBC Edmonton team of Jennie Russell and Charles Rusnell are the recipient of the 2014 Don McGillivray Award, given to the top investigative entry into the annual CAJ Awards program. Rusnell and Russell’s entry dug deep into the fractious and freewheeling spending of former premier Alison Redford during her short term in office.

Down came Redford as the revelations led to significant pressure inside and outside cabinet for her ouster. Frustrated with both the excesses of her tenure and the inadequacy of her successor to clearly show there had been enough change in the premier’s office, voters enacted their own at the ballot box.

The entry had been named the recipient in the Community Broadcast category earlier on Saturday, one of 14 categories awarded in the annual program. The winning entry in most categories received a $500 cash prize.

The recipients of all categories are listed below.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the recipient worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Links, where available, have been provided in the titles of the recipients’ entries.

The recipient in the OPEN MEDIA category is:

Jon Wells
Remorseless
The Hamilton Spectator

The recipient in the COMMUNITY MEDIA category is:

Hilary Beaumont
The always-on stalker
Freelancer / The Coast, Halifax, N.S.

The recipients in the OPEN BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev, Simcha Jacobovici
Tales from the Organ Trade
Associated Producers Ltd. / Shaw Media

The recipients in the OPEN BROADCAST NEWS category are:

Kathy Tomlinson, Enza Uda, Robb Douglas
Foreign workers McJobs
CBC News – The National

The recipients in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category are:

Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Aura of Power
CBC News Edmonton

The recipient in the CAJ / MARKETWIRED DATA JOURNALISM AWARD is:

Teri Pecoskie
Keeping Score
The Hamilton Spectator

The recipients in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Umbreen Butt, Britney Dennison, Allison Griner, Emma Smith, Aurora Tejeida, Jimmy Thomson, Carlos Tello, Mike Wallberg, Leif Zapf-Gilje, Peter Klein, David Rummel, Kathryn Gretsinger, Daniel McKinney, Kim Frank, Chantelle Bellrichard, Travis North, Peter Herford, Katelyn Verstraten, Yujuan Xie, Zhenzhen Zhang, Haiyan Wu, Xiaoqing Yang, Xiaohong Lin, Yonglin Yao, Yacong Luo
China’s Generation Green
University of British Columbia International Reporting Program / Toronto Star

The recipient in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category is:

John Lehmann
Portfolio entry
The Globe and Mail

The recipients in the SCOOP category are:

Andrew MacIntosh, Félix Séguin
Nouvelles Révélations Troublantes sur le Policier Ripou Ian Davidson
Le Journal de Montreal / Agence QMI – Quebecor Media

The recipient in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category is:

Janis Mackey Frayer
They would bury the children last
CTV News

The recipient in the TEXT FEATURE category is:

Jesse McLean
A daughter’s disappearing silhouette
Toronto Star

The recipient in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING is:

Trina Roache
Outside the circle
APTN National News

The recipients in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTINGare:

Dave Seglins, Gord Westmacott, John Nicol, Heather Evans, Carla Turner, Jeremy MacDonald
Rail fatigue in Canada – A silent peril
CBC Radio One – The Current / CBC News

The recipients in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCEare:

Danielle Semrau, Hannah Kost
The Vanishing Point
Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alta. / The Calgary Journal

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 235 entries for the 2014 awards program.

Congratulations to all recipients. Your work has been outstanding – it caused change, embraced it and clearly demonstrates that Canadian journalists are successfully managing the change that is the constant in our industry.

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CAJ to Rogers: Don't abandon multicultural news

OTTAWA, May 7, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists believes Rogers Media is abandoning a necessary commitment to multicultural communities in Canada by choosing to shut down some multilingual newscasts at its OMNI-TV stations.

According to media reports, about 100 staff members across the country received layoff notices Thursday, with many focused on newscasts aired on OMNI stations in Western Canada. The cuts are in response to continuing financial losses within Rogers Media-owned OMNI and CityTV stations and there are suggestions the domestically produced newscasts in Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi and Italian have faced stiff competition from foreign-language specialty channels that are increasingly available as part of cable and satellite packages across Canada.

"OMNI-TV broke a lot of new ground in Canada, bringing relevant news and information to multicultural audiences in their own language, produced by people living and working in their communities," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "The loss of these newscasts will erase a legacy of bringing these communities news from afar and information on what was happening in their own cultural community in Canada."

The CAJ challenges Rogers Media make a firm commitment to investing in multicultural news and information programming across the entire media spectrum, as this is crucial to maintaining the strong and multicultural Canada in which companies like Rogers can prosper.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For further information:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president, 613-330-8396 cell, hugo@caj.ca

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Congratulations to all the 2014 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWA, April 30, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce the finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada for 2014.

The winning entry in most categories will receive a $500 cash prize. The winners in each category will be announced June 6, 2015, at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Halifax, part of the #CAJ15 conference at the Hotel Atlantica.

Delegates registering for the full conference (June 5-6) in most registration categories get a banquet ticket as part of their registration. Standalone tickets are also available at a cost of $60. Register and purchase tickets today via the conference registration pageEarly bird rates for the conference run until May 22.

New for this year, awards finalists registering for the conference – either one-day plus gala or full conference – are automatically eligible for a 10% discount off the relevant fee. If your organization wants to send more than five finalists to the conference, a 25% discount is available. Contact us to confirm eligibility and register.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best ‘overall’ investigative report for 2014 will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet. Links, where available, have been provided in the titles of the finalists’ entries.

The finalists in the OPEN MEDIA category are:

Keith Gerein
Condition Critical
Edmonton Journal

Jon Wells
Remorseless
The Hamilton Spectator

Robert Cribb
Presumed Guilty
Toronto Star

Marco Chown Oved
Mining and International Aid
Toronto Star / R. James Travers International Corresponding Fellowship

Jayme Poisson, Emily Mathieu, Randy Risling
Sexual Assault on Canadian Campuses
Toronto Star

The finalists in the COMMUNITY MEDIA category are:

Michael Robinson
Evacuation plan leaves some behind
Algonquin Times

Hilary Beaumont
The always-on stalker
Freelancer / The Coast, Halifax, N.S.

David P. Ball
Status: Inside Vancouver’s Sanctuary City Movement
Freelancer / TheTyee.ca

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Kathleen Martens
Wasting away
APTN Investigates

Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev, Simcha Jacobovici
Tales from the Organ Trade
Associated Producers Ltd. / Shaw Media

Geoff Leo, Roxanna Woloshyn
Mining for a miracle
CBC News Saskatchewan

Sandie Rinaldo, Litsa Sourtzis, Sarah Stevens
Predator’s playground
CTV – W5

Brennan Leffler, Jennifer Tryon, Jonathan Wong, Elias Campbell, Krysia Collyer, Laurie Few
Out of shadows
Global News – 16X9

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST NEWS category are:

Alison Crawford
Operation Snapshot: behind the scenes of a child porn bust
CBC News

Gosie Sawicka, Leif Larsen, Pierre Verriere
Firearms instructor gives certificates after helping students with exam
CBC News Manitoba

Kathy Tomlinson, Enza Uda, Robb Douglas
Foreign workers McJobs
CBC News – The National

Kevin Newman, Litsa Sourtzis, Annie Burns-Pieper
Suicide watch
CTV – W5

The finalists in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category are:

Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Aura of Power
CBC News Edmonton

Alison Brunette
Challenging hospital policy on medical marijuana use
CBC Radio One – Quebec AM

Abigail Bimman
Who cares?
CTV News Kitchener

Natalie Clancy
Working holiday nightmare
CBC News Vancouver

The finalists in the CAJ / MARKETWIRED DATA JOURNALISM AWARD are:

Steven Rennie
Meet the fire hydrant that makes Toronto the most money from parking tickets
The Canadian Press

Patrick Cain
Here’s the sex offender map Ontario didn’t want you to see
GlobalNews.ca

Teri Pecoskie
Keeping Score
The Hamilton Spectator

Robert Cribb, Matthew Cole
Tainted water
Toronto Star

Christine Bennett, Heather Brimicombe, Emma Davie, Catharina de Waal, Ian Froese, Matt Gray, Nicolas Haddad, Braeden Jones, Dave Lostracco, Kendra Lovegrove, Shannon MacDonald, Megan Marrelli, Erin McCabe, Helen Pike, Kelsey Power, Kristie Smith and Jesse Ward
Burned
University of King’s College / The Chronicle-Herald, Halifax, N.S.

The finalists in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Ashley Terry, Heather Loney, Kevin Buffitt, James Armstrong, Andrew Russell, Carmen Chai, Laura Stone, Amy Minsky, Irene Ogrodnik
Invisible wounds
GlobalNews.ca

Umbreen Butt, Britney Dennison, Allison Griner, Emma Smith, Aurora Tejeida, Jimmy Thomson, Carlos Tello, Mike Wallberg, Leif Zapf-Gilje, Peter Klein, David Rummel, Kathryn Gretsinger, Daniel McKinney, Kim Frank, Chantelle Bellrichard, Travis North, Peter Herford, Katelyn Verstraten, Yujuan Xie, Zhenzhen Zhang, Haiyan Wu, Xiaoqing Yang, Xiaohong Lin, Yonglin Yao, Yacong Luo
China’s Generation Green
University of British Columbia International Reporting Program / Toronto Star

Joshua Hergesheimer
This man says Canadians need to know what’s in their government pension plan and what demanding justice cost him
Freelancer / The Vancouver Observer

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Jonathan Hayward
Portfolio entry
The Canadian Press

Larry Wong
Portfolio entry
Edmonton Journal

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio entry
Freelancer / The Canadian Press

Jean Levac
Portfolio entry
Ottawa Citizen

John Lehman
Portfolio entry
The Globe and Mail

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Alana Cole, Caroline Barghout
Teens in CFS care in Winnipeg hotels say they’ve seen prostitution, drugs
CBC News Manitoba

Rick MacInnes-Rae, Michael Drapak
How ‘synthetic’ identity fraud costs Canada $1B a year
CBC News – The National

Laurie Graham, Tina Romito, Philip Ling
NDP’s alleged misuse of public funds
CTV News

Andrew MacIntosh, Félix Séguin
Nouvelles Révélations Troublantes sur le Policier Ripou Ian Davidson
Le Journal de Montreal / Agence QMI – Quebecor Media

Kim Bolan
Cartel Connection
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Meghan Grant, Kyle Bakx, Katy Anderson, Jenaya King
Brentwood stabbings
CBC News Calgary

Gary Graves, Jennifer Beard, Paula Waddell, Chris Carter, Janyce McGregor, Robert Russo
Ottawa shooting: Day of chaos leaves soldier, gunman dead
CBC News Ottawa

Janis Mackey Frayer
They would bury the children last
CTV News

Abigail Bimman
Funeral thefts
CTV News Kitchener

Jon Wells
Hamilton wraps its arms around our fallen soldier
The Hamilton Spectator

The finalists in the TEXT FEATURE category are:

Ethan Faber, Phil Hahn
The Search for Ashley and Taylor
CTV News

Margaret Munro
Trouble beneath our feet 
Postmedia News

Jesse McLean
A daughter’s disappearing silhouette
Toronto Star

The finalists in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Trina Roache
Outside the circle
APTN National News

Patrick Cain, Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny
Canada’s Unwanted
GlobalNews.ca

Michelle Shephard
In Central African Republic: A Lesson In Hate
Toronto Star

Tanya Talaga
An Afghan boy’s lonely trek to freedom
Toronto Star

Carol Sanders
Nowhere to go
Winnipeg Free Press

The finalists in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTING are:

Ira Basen
Class Struggle
CBC Radio One – Sunday Edition

Dave Seglins, Gord Westmacott, John Nicol, Heather Evans, Carla Turner, Jeremy MacDonald
Rail fatigue in Canada – A silent peril
CBC News: World Report / CBC  Radio – The Current

Sunny Freeman
The 4,000 kilometre commute
The Huffington Post

Robert Bostelaar
The secret squeeze
Ottawa Citizen

Gordon Hoekstra
Call renewed for justice
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Michael Robinson
Lowly, tasty and in trouble again
Algonquin College, Ottawa / Toronto Star

Max Foley, Paulina Liwski, Quinton Amundson
Calgary and The Great War
Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alta. / The Calgary Journal

Janice Paskey, Paul Coates, Ian Tennant, Alyssa Quirico, Lisa Taylor, April Lamb, Riad Kadri, Roxanne Blackwell, Olivia Condon, Brittany Fong, Garrett Harvey, Tiffany Ritz, Quinton Amundson, Kelsey Simpson, Cameron Perrier, Daniel Ball, Lucas Silva, Jordan Kroshinsky, Sarah Comber, Caitlin Clow, Haley Anderson, Ashley Materi, Alexandra Rabbitte, Michael Chan, Danny Luong, Olivia Grecu, Hannah Kost, Jodi Egan, Pauline Zulueta, Krystal Northey, Jenica Foster, Andrew Szekeres, Kerri Martin, Brad Simm
Below grade: Our secondary suites investigation
Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alta. / The Calgary Journal

Danielle Semrau, Hannah Kost
The Vanishing Point
Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alta. / The Calgary Journal

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 235 entries for the 2014 awards program.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Your work has been outstanding and we thank you for entering. We hope to see you in Halifax.

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CAJ celebrates Mohamed Fahmy’s release

*Update- Sept.23, 2015* The Canadian Association of Journalists celebrates Egypt’s pardon of Mohamed Fahmy, a wrongly imprisoned journalist who fought a protracted, two-year legal battle for his own freedom. Fahmy and two Al Jazeera colleagues were jailed and charged simply for doing their jobs, and today’s pardons affirm that Fahmy never should have been accused of any wrongdoing. This process brings into stark relief the necessity of governments to aggressively support their own citizens who work abroad as journalists.

The CAJ recognizes that Fahmy’s freedom came about thanks to the tireless work of his family, lawyers and a united coalition of international press-freedom organizations that pressed the Egyptian government to release Fahmy unconditionally. While today’s pardon represents a victory for world press freedom, but too many journalists still fear for their lives as they try to report the news. The CAJ continues to support the vital work of international organizations that expose wrongful arrests and killings of journalists around the world.

*Update – Aug. 29, 2015* The Canadian Association of Journalists joins with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper immediately intervene in the unjust sentencing today of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy in Egypt. Fahmy and his co-workers at Al-Jazeera were convicted for simply doing their jobs as journalists.

*Update – July 30, 2015* In Cairo, a court session for the re-trial of Fahmy and his colleagues has been adjourned until Aug. 2. The journalists and Al Jazeera have issued statements expressing their disapproval.

*Update – July 30, 2015* The CAJ contact for this release is now Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, nick@caj.ca.

*Update – Jan. 11, 2015* Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has travelled to Egypt to push for Mr. Fahmy’s release, CBC News has reported. The news follows a Jan. 1 report that Mr. Fahmy would be granted a retrial

*Update- Nov. 5, 2014* Amal Clooney and Mark Wassouff, lawyers for Mohamed Fahmy, have released a new statement calling for his release. It’s available in English and Arabic here: http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/article/press-statement-by-a-clooney-and-m-wassouf-mr-mohamed-fahmy.

*Update – Oct. 10, 2014* Mohamed Fahmy’s family has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover legal fees. Here is the link: gofundme.com/fjflds

OTTAWA, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists condemns the conviction of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian journalist who served as Al Jazeera’s acting bureau chief in Cairo, to seven years in prison for terrorism-related crimes.

Fahmy’s conviction came after a trial bereft of damning, or even relevant, evidence. We call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to continue efforts matching the chorus of international demands for Fahmy’s release.

“The allegations against Fahmy and his colleagues were ridiculous from the outset. The journalists were simply doing their jobs, reporting crucial stories during a turbulent period in Egypt’s history,” said CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues. “Fahmy’s sentence is further proof that the current Egyptian regime is not interested in championing the rights of journalists.”

The CAJ urges Harper to continue the work being done to lobby Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and insist on presidential pardons for Fahmy and his colleagues, who were detained for 178 days before their conviction. While federal ministers have confirmed the government is involved in lobbying for Fahmy’s release, a show of support from the prime minister would clearly indicate the government’s resolve to see him released.

“Fahmy’s brother has urged Harper to pick up the phone and call el-Sisi,” said Rodrigues. “We will send our own letter to the Egyptian Embassy in Canada and to the Prime Minister’s Office asking for the same action.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president – 613-330-8396 cell, hugo@caj.ca

 

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