Journalists rely on their ability to protect a source’s identity when that person asks for anonymity in return for speaking about sensitive issues. However, few countries have absolute “shield laws” protecting a journalist’s right not to reveal a source’s identity. In Canada, the protection of sources is argued on a case-by-case basis, and they are often protected based on public interest arguments. However, many whistleblowers face dismissal if outed. They also may have to endure lengthy legal battles and vilification for coming forward and speaking up in the public interest. Canada has a dismal history of protecting whistleblowers (other than some cases where the media is seeking to protect their identity). Little appears to have changed despite the passing in 2007 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and the creation of the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
CJFE and a coalition of media and free expression organizations will intervene in the ongoing court battle between the RCMP and VICE News. VICE is appealing a ruling that ordered journalist Ben Makuch to hand over chat logs between him and an alleged ISIS fighter. This ruling has wide-ranging implications for press freedom and the integrity of journalism in Canada. Read more
We, the undersigned, are alarmed by the Ontario Superior Court ruling that Vice News reporter Ben Makuch must hand over all communications between him and an ISIS fighter to the RCMP. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent and deals a blow to press freedom and the integrity of journalism in Canada. Read more
The right to protect an anonymous source’s identity is important—some stories might never be told without insiders who could face serious consequences if it became known that they gave information to a reporter. Grant Buckler examines Canadian case studies and what journalists should know about promising anonymity. Read more
By Alexandra Theodorakidis An important feature of our annual Review of Free Expression in Canada is CJFE’s Free Expression Report Card. Each year we assign grades to various Canadian institutions based on how well they have upheld free expression values over the past year. In our fifth Review, released earlier... Read more
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