Monday, May 06, 2013

World Press Freedom Day and Freedom of Expression in Canada

World Press Freedom Day was observed on Friday, May 3 2013. To mark this day, UNESCO condemns killing of journalists and dedicates a page to journalists who were killed in the exercise of their profession. This is a tribute to remember their contribution to freedom of expression, democracy, and peace.  The 2013 theme, "Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media" brings attention to an increasing concern for online safety, safety for journalists, and the state of press freedom throughout the world. Freedom of expression is not an isolated right but requires securing  protection and promotion of all other human rights, such as the right to speak freely and freely without reprisal.

It is important to create an environment where journalists can seek information and express themselves freely. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case in Canada. Canadian Journalists For Freedom of Expression (CJFE) launches the Review of Free Expression in Canada, 2012-2013, to highlight some discerning trends in respect to freedom of expression for journalists and citizens. CJFE reports the systemic delay of access to information for journalists, the muzzling of scientists, some government surveillance of activists, (in particular Aboriginal activists), an autopsy of Bill C-30 or commonly known as the Internet surveillance, the legal action taken to prevent police from posing as Ontario Provincial Press journalists to investigate activists, denying citizens the right to assembly, citing the Quebec student protests and many more cases. Very thought provoking!

Additional information to consider, Reporters Without Borders For Freedom of Information released Press Freedom Index for 2013 in which Canada is now ranked 20th, falling 10 spots from the previous year.