CJFE Protests Quebec City Police Move to Grab News Tapes

Friday, June 6, 2003
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) expressed its dismay today at news that police in Quebec City have obtained a court order permitting them to seize news footage from three local television stations. CJFE also voiced its support for the stations' plan to challenge the seizure order in court. "Journalists work to inform the public, not to provide investigative assistance to police forces," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said, adding that this is the latest in a string of efforts by Canadian police forces to seize news materials. "Journalists must be free to gather and report the news without fear that police will grab their notes for use in investigations. Sources would stop talking if they believed there was a chance their words could end up in police hands." At issue is footage of Robert Gillet taken May 30 on the steps of a local courthouse. Gillet, charged in connection with what police say was a juvenile prostitution ring, was leaving the courthouse following his preliminary hearing. Asked for a comment, Gillet ridiculed one of the witnesses in the case. Police obtained a court order earlier this week allowing them to get footage of that interview from the TVA, TQS and Radio-Canada television networks. The news tapes have been sealed pending a court hearing later this month at which the stations will make their case against the seizure order. CJFE is an association of journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others committed to preserving press freedom and freedom of expression in Canada and around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy at (416) 515-9622 or at cjfe@cjfe.org

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