Skip to main content

Canada Postmedia, Ottawa Citizen journalists earn press freedom award for robo-calls coverage

Freelance cartoonist Dale Cummings earned second place in the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom’s annual editorial cartoon contest.

DALE CUMMINGS/CCWPF

Canadian journalists Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher will be honoured on Friday as part of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom's celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

Mr. McGregor of The Ottawa Citizen and Mr. Maher of Postmedia News are this year's recipients of the World Press Freedom Award, which the CCWPF has given annually for the past 15 years. Mr. McGregor and Mr. Maher won the award for their work leading Postmedia's coverage of the robo-calls scandal that emerged from the 2011 federal election campaign.

"It was an example of how, even in our own country, we have to be watchful of freedom of expression and media freedom. [Mr. McGregor and Mr. Maher] persisted despite obstacles," said Susan Korah of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Ms. Korah is part of the CCWPF committee of former and current journalists that selects the winner of the award from a field of nominees.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. McGregor and Mr. Maher came under heavy fire from the government and conservative pundits for revealing the robo-calls scandal. However, Mr. McGregor said he knows things could have been much worse.

"We weren't dragged into a cell and beaten with canes or anything else, which is a risk for journalists around the world," he said from Guelph, Ont., where former Conservative staffer Michael Sona will have his first court date in connection with the robocalls issue on Friday.

"I don't want to in any way equate this with the very real threats to the liberties and safety of journalists in other parts of the world, but there was clearly a distinct campaign to discredit Steve and I, and by extension, the stories we were writing."

Margaret Munro of Postmedia News will get an honourable mention for her story on the federal government's "muzzling" of Environment Canada scientists at a 2012 polar conference. The CCWPF's editorial cartoon contest this year called for artists to use the theme "hard times and free speech." Uruguayan cartoonist Leslie Ricciardi took first place, while Dale Cummings of the Winnipeg Free Press placed second and Peter Chmela of Slovakia was third.

May 3 was designated World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1993. Ms. Korah said it is a chance not only for journalists, but all people, to reflect on the state of the right to free expression in Canada and around the world.

"It's not just to celebrate press freedom, but to highlight abuses of the right to freedom of expression," she said. "There are many countries where [freedom of the press] is not a given. We always have to be vigilant even in our country, where we supposedly have freedom of expression."

The awards will be presented on Friday in Ottawa at the CCWPF's annual luncheon.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter