PHOTO: Flickr/Benson Kua
CJFE requests that the Legislative Assembly Press Gallery grant journalist Allison Smith membership to the Press Gallery. Smith is the publisher and primary reporter of Queen’s Park Today, a daily online legislative news service started in February 2012. In addition to Smith, Queen’s Park Today also employs an editor and a freelance reporter. Queen’s Park Today is a sole-proprietorship and receives no funding from any organizations other than through subscription fees. The publication is a member of the National News Media Council and adheres to the council’s journalistic and ethical standards. Smith is seeking press gallery membership in order to have full-time access to Legislative Assembly press conferences, question periods, budget lock-ups and scrums.
We affirm Smith’s legitimacy as a journalist who has previous reporting experience with The Hill Times, where she was a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa from 2010 to 2012. Smith has also worked for Ottawa Magazine and OpenFile, and is currently a co-host of Detangled, a radio show airing on CIUT 89.5 FM.
CJFE recognizes the importance of independent and web-based media outlets in the contemporary Canadian media landscape. Legacy media in the country have recently suffered significant cutbacks and reduced circulation, while independent and online outlets experience growth; in light of this new media landscape, we advocate that equal rights and access for independent and web-based platforms are necessary. We believe journalist Allison Smith meets the criteria for press gallery membership, and support her accreditation in the Legislative Assembly Press Gallery. Journalists cannot fully exercise their press freedom and free expression rights without the broadest possible and equal access to events, newsmakers and documents. When journalists themselves impose restrictions on access, they call into question our collective support for freedom of expression.