In Canada and around the world, individuals regularly face obstacles in order to get the truth out. Whether the threats be judicial, physical or otherwise, these dedicated and principled individuals continue to work tirelessly—risking their jobs, their freedom and even their lives—so that the news media remain free.
At the CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, CJFE presents awards to honour those who champion free expression in different ways.
International Press Freedom Award:
Safa Al Ahmad
Safa Al Ahmad is a Saudi freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker who has produced several documentaries on uprisings in the Middle East, notably in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Her documentaries have brought international attention to the large-scale violence meted out to peaceful demonstrators, and Al Ahmad has gained unprecedented access to activists to tell their story.
Filming her documentaries, Al Ahmad faced risks from all sides, and became the victim of violent and repeated online threats typically levelled against Saudi dissidents and critical voices. Since releasing the documentary, she has not been able to return to Saudi Arabia.
Ken Rubin is an Ottawa-based public interest researcher, citizens’ advocate, writer and civil libertarian who has worked to reveal government misspending, secrecy and more for over 30 years, largely through the use of Canada’s ailing Access to Information (ATI) system. His federal court actions for freedom of information and privacy protection legislation have become benchmark cases.
Rubin has filed and analyzed thousands of requests for public and personal government information, resulting in hundreds of news stories. He is also a prominent critic of government secrecy, privacy and surveillance practices, an access consultant and an advocate for ATI reform.
Vox Libera Award:
Jameel Jaffer is a Canadian-born, US-based lawyer and deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is a preeminent critic of American national security policy and its infringement of citizens’ human rights at home and abroad. His work at the ACLU has focused on free speech, technology, targeted government killings and surveillance.
Jaffer successfully litigated a Freedom of Information challenge for the release of the Bush administration's "Torture Memos," successfully challenged the legality of bulk data collection by the NSA, and is leading the lawsuit seeking transparency in drone strike operations.