CMG’s parent union CWA Canada and a coalition of other groups have sought permission from the courts to intervene in the legal fight between VICE Media Canada and the RCMP.
VICE is asking the Ontario Court of Appeal to throw out a ruling that ordered journalist Ben Makuch to hand over electronic messages between him and an alleged ISIS fighter.
VICE argues the ruling will have a “detrimental chilling effect on the practice of journalism in Canada” by undermining the independence of news outlets and compromising the trust between journalists and their sources.
If the ruling stands, it will be bad news for journalism and for democracy. Sources, including whistleblowers, will be far less likely to talk to journalists knowing that they could be tracked down by police.
The result? Canadians will be blocked from important information and stories about matters of vital public interest, including personal freedom and national security,
Police have an important job to do in protecting us from crime, whether domestic or international. But they cannot expect journalists do that job for them. That would undermine our democracy and move us toward a police state
The media is not, nor should it ever be, an arm of the state. As journalists, we must fight any attempt by anyone, especially authorities, to interfere with freedom of the press.
That is why we are joining groups like Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Canadian Association of Journalists seeking to intervene in this case and explain to the courts why this is such a serious issue.
As a media union, we will speak out loudly to protect freedom of expression and the role of a free press as a pillar of democracy.