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CJFE to Release Annual Review of Free Expression in Canada

CJFE to release report on fake news, journalistic sources and national security in annual Review publication for World Press Freedom Day.

TORONTO, May 1, 2017 /CNW/ - The rise of "fake news" and increased surveillance of journalists pose new threats to democracy and free expression in Canada, according to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)'s 2016-17 Review of Free Expression in Canada, which will be released on May 3 to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. The eighth annual report shines a spotlight on the effects of these growing phenomena on the public's ability to engage with reliable information.

The Review includes results from an exclusive poll of 1,000 Canadians across the country shedding light on how the rise of fake news is making it more difficult to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate information. Poll results also illuminate the effect of labelling legitimate news outlets as "fake news" on the democratic process in Canada.

"Trump-style politics are moving north, and Canadians are increasingly divided and confused about finding reliable information," says CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer. "With fake news rising, journalistic sources drying up and traditional newsrooms shrinking, Canada is facing unprecedented threats to democracy and free expression, but Canadians are seeing these threats approaching and are fighting back."

In addition to in-depth analyses of these issues, the Review also includes a signature Report Card, grading Canadian institutions and their handling of free expression issues. While last year's report card included some improvements and many promises from the government to bring considerable change, 2017 has seen little action on fixing the ongoing issues while new threats to free expression and press freedom are cropping up.

Full Report Card grades will be released with The Review on May 3, and will cover such issue areas as Bill C-5, police aggression towards journalists in Montreal, shrinking newsrooms, police surveillance of journalists and protection of sources, and fake news.

The Review is launched each year to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, celebrated annually on May 3. The only publication of its kind, the Review looks at the most pressing issues of free expression over the course of the year, and examines trends, breakthroughs and obstacles to freedom of expression in Canada.

For a copy of the Review, please visit CJFE.org/2017review on May 3.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. cjfe.org

Nanos conducted a hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians between April 1 and 4, 2017, as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone (including both land- and cell-lines across Canada) using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information, and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Charts may not add up to 100 due to rounding.