Barring of B.C. journalist by provincial government concerns CJFE

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Premier Gordon Campbell Legislative Assembly of British Columbia Victoria, British Columbia By E-Mail Dear Premier Campbell: I write on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression to protest the decision by your government to bar journalist Moe Sihota from attending a provincial government media lock-up on 17 January 2002. Mr. Sihota was previously a New Democratic Party Member of the Legislative Assembly. But since last year, he has been a commentator-host with CIVI-TV in Victoria. He has also resigned his membership in the NDP. Premier, you must surely be aware of the long tradition in this country of politicians entering - or returning to - journalism after political careers. In your own province, former Premier Dave Barrett became a radio host on CJOR. Norman Spector became a newspaper columnist after serving as a senior adviser to your predecessor, Bill Bennett, and to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. And Rafe Mair was a Social Credit cabinet minister before joining CKNW as a radio host. Elsewhere in Canada, Claude Charron has been a respected television personality for the past decade after a 12-year career as a Parti Quebecois Member National Assembly and cabinet minister. Doug Fisher was an NDP Member of Parliament in Ottawa before becoming a newspaper columnist. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression devotes much of its time to fighting efforts by governments in many parts of the world to keep for themselves the right to determine who is a journalist. It is a sad chore to have to fight this battle here in Canada. We firmly believe it is a mistake for Mr. Sihota to be denied the rights and privileges accorded other accredited journalists. We urge you to reconsider. Sincerely Joel Ruimy, Executive Director Canadian Journalists for Free Expression CC: Newspapers, television and radio stations across Canada

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