CJFE Shocked at Latest Attack on a Canadian journalist by Biker Gangs

Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is deeply concerned about the shooting of crime reporter Michel Auger of Le Journal of Montreal. CJFE calls for a full and swift investigation of the shooting. Auger covers organized crime and has reported on the turf war between biker gangs in Quebec. He was shot in the parking lot of the newspaper around 11 a.m. this morning. Reports indicate he was able to call 911 himself, and is currently in stable condition. The attack came a day after Le Journal published an article by Auger about recent biker-related murders. Auger is one of several Canadian journalists who continue reporting on biker gang activities despite repeated threats by gang members. On March 2, 1998, CBC Vancouver reporter Greg Rasmussen's home was broken into and vandalized on the same day that a special report on the Hell's Angels motorcycle club was on CBC Radio. The report, prepared by Rasmussen and Halifax reporter Kelly Ryan, dealt with the Hell's Angels' involvement in criminal activity. In February 1995, freelance reporter Robert Monastesse, who was investigating a turf war between rival motorcycle gangs in Montreal, was shot in both legs. Laval police said at the time that the attack was meant as a serious warning rather than an attempt to kill the 43-year-old reporter. Monastesse had recently written several articles for Montreal's La Presse about the conflict between the Hell's Angels and Rock Machine over control of the street sale of drugs in the Montreal area. CJFE is part of an international network of free expression organizations, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), which reports on attack on journalists and freedom of expression worldwide. IFEX has reported on threats to journalists covering biker gangs in Sweden and Denmark. Several journalists were under police protection in 1997 after receiving threats from the gangs over their reports. For more information, contact Lisa Roberts, CJFE Program Manager: roberts@cjfe.org; tel: 416-515-9622; fax: 416-515-7879

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