EDMONTON, May 24 /CNW/ – When it comes to secrecy, nobody does it better than the prime minister’s office.
Despite a field of tight-lipped competitors, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has run away with the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Code of Silence Award for 2007.
“Harper’s white-knuckled death grip on public information makes this the easiest decision the cabal of judges has ever rendered,” said CAJ President Mary Agnes Welch. “He’s gone beyond merely gagging cabinet ministers and professional civil servants, stalling access to information requests and blackballing reporters who ask tough questions. He has built a pervasive government apparatus whose sole purpose is to strangle the flow of public information.”
The ignominious award, handed out Saturday night at the CAJ’s investigative journalism awards banquet, dishonours the country’s most secretive government, department or agency for obfuscatory excellence.
Harper’s office was the overwhelming choice for this award.
“If journalists can’t get basic information from the federal government, Canadians can’t hold the government accountable. The Prime Minister’s Office has repeatedly demonstrated contempt for the public’s right to know,” Welch said. “Harper pledged to run a government that was open, transparent and accountable, but his track record to-date has been abysmal.”
Harper was invited to accept the award in person but failed to respond.
The other nominees for the CAJ Code of Silence Award were:
The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary role is to provide public-interest advocacy and quality professional development for its members.
For more information, visit www.caj.ca.
For further information:
Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president, Cell: (204) 470-8862;
John Dickins, CAJ executive director, Cell: (613) 868-5442