November 04, 2018
CJFE will act as an intervener this month in the case of Radio-Canada journalist Marie-Maude Denis, the very first case before the Supreme Court regarding confidential journalistic sources since the new federal legislation was passed in Ottawa in 2017. CJFE will co-intervene with Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).
This is a follow-on to CJFE’s intervention as part of a Canadian Media Coalition in the case of Vice Media Canada and Ben Makuch v. Canada (RCMP), argued before the Supreme Court of Canada on May 23, 2018. The case involves a Production Order made by the RCMP for access to unpublished notes and texts comprising an exclusive interview between journalist, Ben Makuch, and a Canadian recruited by ISIS. The individual, Farah Shirdon, has since been reported by US Central Command to have been killed in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Notably, similar proceedings for access to a Skype interview of Shirdon by Vice’s US affiliate have been dropped by the FBI since the US Central Command’s report. Given the Shirdon’s death, no legitimate prosecutorial interest is served by the RCMP maintaining its request for access to these materials.
“The case against Makuch has outlived Shirdon who was the target of an RCMP investigation of over two years. Not only does this production order risk setting an ugly precedent in Canada, but it has become clear that for the last two years, the RCMP has risked doing so without any clear purpose,” says Tom Henheffer, executive director of CJFE.