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World Press Freedom Canada announces 2022 Press Freedom Award Winners

Press Release

OTTAWA, ON, May 3, 2022 – Journalist Fatima Syed and Tai Huynh, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Local, have been declared joint winners of the 2022 Press Freedom Award by the Ottawa-based advocacy group World Press Freedom Canada (WPFC).

The Local is an online start-up publication in Toronto. At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, Syed went into the community of Peel Region to report on the impact the virus was having on the community, which is dominated by immigrant and front-line workers. Her groundbreaking series of articles led the national media to focus on Peel.

As Syed brought word-of-mouth indications of Peel’s COVID horrors, Huynh was seeing data that indicated the region had high infection rates and poor access to vaccines. He secured funding from the Vohra Miller Foundation to finance the coverage of a topic that had been overlooked.

The two winners will share a $2,000 prize.

WPFC’s annual award recognizes outstanding achievements by Canadian media workers who produce public-interest journalism while overcoming secrecy, threats and intimidation, refusal to comply with freedom of information requests, or other factors that suppress information gathering.

WPFC also awarded a press freedom award citation of merit to Kathleen Martens, a digital reporter for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Martens has spent years pursuing stories of sexual assault and harassment in the Indigenous community, including a 2021 article revealing assault charges against a prominent Indigenous healer. She and her APTN employer frequently faced attacks from supporters of the male leaders involved in the articles.

Spencer Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement

Stephanie Nolen is the winner of the Spencer Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement for her body of work as a foreign correspondent at Globe and Mail. Nolen is now with the New York Times.

Throughout her career, covering four continents, Nolan has shown tremendous courage and compassion in her coverage of wars and internal conflicts: AIDS, Zika virus, mass murder, and political coverups. She has been an inspiration to a generation of young reporters, especially female journalists. The Spencer Moore Award, which is named for one of WPFC’s founding directors, is awarded to a journalist or media worker to honour their lengthy work in the pursuit of press freedom.

“This year’s Press Freedom Award winners represent the essence of public-service journalism by putting a spotlight on people who were overlooked by the media and under-serviced by their governments during a national crisis,” said WPFC president Heather Bakken. “Canadians have been fortunate to have a courageous journalist of Stephanie Nolen’s calibre sharing her lens on the world for nearly three decades.”

To learn more about the award winners and their work, go to www.worldpressfreedomcanada.ca.

Editorial Cartoon Contest Winners

The WPFC also announced that Marilena Nardi is the grand prize winner in the 21st International Editorial Cartoon Competition, with the theme: Silence is Golden: Cancel Culture on Social Media . Second prize goes to Patrick LaMontagne of Canmore, Alta., and third prize to Serbia’s Tošo Borković  (Toshow).

Born in 1966, Marilena Nardi is from Chiampi, Italy, and is a previous winner of World Press Freedom Cartoon in Ottawa. After graduating in sculpture, she is now Professor of illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice.

The winning cartoons can be accessed on our website.

About World Press Freedom Canada

World Press Freedom Canada (formerly Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom Canada) is an Ottawa-based volunteer group whose mission is to raise public awareness for the right to free expression, to identify violations, and defend freedom of the press. The advocacy group works with the patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the sustaining sponsorship of the Canadian Bankers Association.

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