TORONTO, ONT., Jun 1, 2024 / CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has awarded this year’s prestigious Charles Bury Award to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for their continued commitment to ensuring the safety and security of journalists working in some of the most dangerous environments around the world.

“Amidst today’s cacophony of global chaos, the world needs a Red Cross for journalism,” said CAJ president Brent Jolly, in presenting the award earlier this evening at the association’s annual awards ceremony at Toronto’s Reference Library.

“For decades, the CPJ has saved countless lives of journalists while simultaneously shining a bright light on the many draconian abuses to press freedom around the world.”

In particular, Jolly referenced the organization’s work in supporting journalists working in Gaza, Ukraine, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines – and Canada.

“Around the globe, journalists are under constant threat – and risking their lives – to bring us the stories that help us better understand the world around us and the common threads we all share as humans,” Jolly said.

“Unfortunately, we now live in a time of a fraying social contract that has put journalists in the crosshairs of public and political derision. The criminalization of truth-telling is becoming normalized. That holds true not just in destinations abroad, but here, too, at home – in Canada.”

Jolly cited the example of how Canadian law enforcement agencies are increasingly defying basic and longstanding rights afforded to journalists. These agencies are violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by arresting and detaining journalists for simply doing their job, he said.

Katherine Jacobsen, who leads the CPJ’s U.S., Canada and Caribbean program, accepted the award.

This award, formerly known as the President’s Award, was renamed in honour of veteran journalist and long-time CAJ board member Charles Bury, who died in February 2014. It recognizes both individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to journalism.

Last year, the Charles Bury Award was presented to veteran Mohawk journalist Tahieròn:iohte Dan David, longtime CBC reporter and Anishinaabe journalist Duncan McCue, Karyn Pugliese (aka Pabàmàdiz), a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation in Ontario, and current editor-in-chief of Canadaland. Jody Porter, a former CBC reporter based in Thunder Bay, Ont. was also recognized posthumously.

Other previous winners of the Bury Award include: journalists Jerome Turner, Jessie Winter, and Amber Bracken for protecting the public’s right to know how events unfolded at Wet’suwet’en; late Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi and Journal de Montréal crime reporter Michel Auger; and Radio-Canada investigative reporter Marie-Maude Denis.

Organizations that have won the Bury Award include: the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, J-Source, Massey College, and the Canadian Media Lawyers Association.

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