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.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is troubled by Judge Cormac Carney's order on July 14 for journalist William Gertz to appear in open court this week for questioning about his sources for an article which detailed alleged Chinese espionage in the United States. Gertz, a national security reporter with The Washington Post, has repeatedly refused to reveal his sources for the May 2006 article and was told that he would have to justify why the confidentiality is critical to his ability to engage in investigative reporting. Read more
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is concerned at the court decision allowing police to use photographs belonging to The Hamilton Spectator. Officers executed a search warrant on May 6, 2008, in order to obtain photos of a highway blockade in Caledonia. Brian Rogers, representing The Hamilton Spectator, was in court on June 12 to fight the issuing of the warrant, but his objections were dismissed. Read more
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) welcomes today's decision by Ontario Superior Court Justice Watt to quash the subpoena issued against journalist Derek Finkle. Last October, Finkle received a subpoena from police, ordering him to hand over any and all research materials he had accumulated in writing "No Claim To Mercy", his book about the original murder trial of Robert Baltovich. In May, Finkle challenged the subpoena, which threatened to cast a chill on press freedom in Canada. Read more
Poking the State With a Stick Enterprises., in association with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Ryerson School of Journalism present "Feeding the Hand that Bites You." The forum, moderated by veteran journalist Peter Desbarats, poses the question: What should investigative reporters do when the state comes calling…with a stick in its hand? To answer this question we have brought together a quartet of battle-hardened investigative reporters, author Stevie Cameron, Juliet O'Neill (Ottawa Citizen), Andrew McIntosh (National Post), and Ken Peters (Hamilton Spectator). Read more
"Revealing Sources" and "Bearing Witness" illustrate restrictions in Canada and abroad Canadian Journalists for Free Expression commemorates World Press Freedom Day with two events looking at different aspects of press freedom. One tackles the thorny issue of a journalist's rights to protect confidential sources, and the second looks at the increasing dangers faced by journalists in the world's war zones. "Revealing Sources" Read more
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) condemns the RCMP raid yesterday on Ottawa Citizen journalist Juliet O'Neill's home and offices, and calls upon Prime Minister Martin and Deputy Minister Anne McLellan to rein in the RCMP and revisit the package of Anti-Terrorism legislation. Read more
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