Canadian Journalists For Free Expression
We enjoyed meeting two executives of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) who also manage the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Anne Game, Executive Director of IFEX and Julie Payne, CJFE Manager. The event was hosted at the CEMA monthly meeting.
CJFE educates and advocates on free expression issues through public events, publications and annual awards banquet. They are active participants in international campaigns to promote free expression and to protect journalists in danger. In Canada they intervene with other free speech groups and media outlets and in court cases to create better laws protecting expression. Through their Journalists in Distress Fund they help protect the lives of journalists by providing emergency support when they are threatened or forced into exile. Their web site is www.cjfe.org .
CJFE operates IFEX which operates on an international scale. IFEX circulates information to raise awareness, through daily "Alerts", weekly "IFEX Communique" newsletter, free expression "Digest", and the website www.ifex.org . IFEX builds regional capacity by providing advice, training, financial and technical support to assist members in working strategically to defend and promote free expression within regions.
IFEX also facilitates campaigns and advocacy – both urgent and long term actions that target abuses in a particular country or issues such as defamation laws, internet censorship and impunity. Building a vibrant free expression community - by organizing forums, providing targeted organizational development grants and through research and analysis on key issues.
IFEX operates the IFEX Clearing House, operated in Toronto, runs the day to day operations of the network and is managed by CJFE.
One of the issues that the organizations have championed has been journalists captured abroad like freelancer Amanda Lindhout, from Red Deer, Alberta (Canada), who along with her Australian colleague Nigel Brennan was held and tortured for 15 months with little food and no light. In their analysis, the CJFE uses both sides of the argument in a balanced fashion.
The websites also are interesting. The CJFE deals with current issues whereas the IFEX is like a foreign affairs hit list in bullet form.
Game was delighted with Estonia, she'd been there in 1991 and found Tallinn delightful.