Journalists in Exile: The Fight for Free Expression

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 7:00 PM
Public Event: Signature Lecture

Everyday, journalists around the world put their freedom, safety and reputation on the line. From exposing corrupt government practices to criticising crackdowns, reporters risk persecution and imprisonment, threats of violence and excessive force for their work. In situations of such duress, what options do journalists have to protect themselves and their families? Between 2008 and 2013, the number of international journalists who escaped their dire situation reached just over 450, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Can exiled journalists continue to expose injustices and serve the public good back home? What challenges do exiled journalists have in adjusting to their new lives? How do exiled journalists orchestrate their escape from such danger?

To explore these questions, CIGI and the Canadian International Council (CIC) Waterloo Region Branch are proud to present the seventh annual media panel, “Journalists in Exile: The Fight for Free Expression.” 

Event Speakers

Michelle Shephard is the National Security Reporter at the Toronto Star and author of Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone (2011) and Guantanamo's Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr (2008).

Luis Horacio Nájera is a Visiting Fellow at The Citizen Lab and the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto. During his career as a journalist, Luis bravely covered the drug cartels in Mexico. Following an assassination threat he obtained refugee status in Canada. Luis now sits on the Board of Trustees of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. 

Aaron Berhane is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Meftih Enterprise. After fleeing arrest in Eritrea for publishing a letter critiquing the Eritrean government, Aaron sought refuge in Regina, Saskatchewan. He later moved to Toronto where he founded Meftih, an Eritrean-Canadian newspaper for the Eritrean diaspora in Toronto.

Morteza Abdolalian is an Interpreter and Translator for the Ministry of the Attorney General. During his journalistic career in the 1980s, Morteza was persecuted in both the Philippines and Iran for his reporting. 

Maryam Aghvami is a researcher, writer and translator with ASL19. Previously a Reporter and Web Editor at Voice of America and the President of Journalists in Exile, Maryam worked as a translator in Iran and in the Reuters bureau in Tehran.