Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) will present its 2012 Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award to Enquête, Radio-Canada’s investigative television program, for taking great risks to expose major cases of corruption in Québec. The award will be presented at the 15th Annual CJFE Gala, to be held December 5, 2012, at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto.
The Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award recognizes a Canadian journalist or organization who has made an important contribution to reinforcing and promoting freedom of the press in this country or elsewhere.
Despite facing legal threats, violence and intimidation, Enquête’s small team of tenacious reporters and researchers, led by host Alain Gravel, bravely continued their investigation of organized crime in Québec. Their work revealed ties between organized crime, the construction industry, the judicial system and politicians, and led in part to the ongoing inquiry of the Charbonneau Commission.
“This award recognizes that those who speak out against misconduct in the public or private sectors do so at tremendous risk—both personally and professionally,” says Carol Off, CJFE Gala Steering Committee chair. “This year’s honourees have shown remarkable commitment to producing hard-hitting investigative reporting in the face of intimidation and legal pressure. Alain Gravel and the dedicated team of investigative journalists and researchers at Enquête embody the spirit of this award, and their contribution to journalism in Canada is truly exceptional.”
In 1999, CJFE renamed its Canadian Press Freedom Award in honour of Tara Singh Hayer, a Canadian journalist and editor of the Vancouver-based Indo-Canadian Times, who was assassinated in November 1998 because of his vocal criticism of the tactics used by a handful of violent Sikh separatists in B.C. His murder demonstrated that protecting freedom of expression is a matter of concern not just beyond our borders, but here at home, too. The award was last bestowed in 2009, when CJFE honoured journalist Terry Gould.
CJFE’s Annual Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting is made possible by the valued support of Scotiabank, CBC News, CTV News, the Toronto Star and Henry’s, along with many other organizations and individuals in the media, legal, academic and business communities.