Freedom of the Press

The Issue

While freedom of the press is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is in serious jeopardy. The business model that has sustained the media is failing – resulting in a significant loss of professional journalists and a serious decline in the media’s capacity to do the investigative reporting that is critical for public knowledge and government and corporate accountability. The work of the media in Canada is also imperilled by weak access-to-information laws, court publication bans, vexatious defamation claims, and the chilling effects of mass surveillance.

Why It Matters

Democracy depends on an independent, uncensored, diverse, professional media to inform the public, to ask difficult questions, and to foster transparency and accountability in those who wield power.

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression promotes public discussion of the importance of freedom of the press, challenges facing the institutional media, and the opportunities and limitations of social media as an alternative. It works in collaboration with journalists, media organizations and public interest groups to evaluate models for the sustainability of independent, adequately financed, investigative journalism, to press for better access-to-information legislation, to limit publication bans and to strengthen protections for free expression.

Resources

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Reporter Justin Brake Files Charter Challenge

October 2, 2019 - Justin Brake — the journalist who was charged with civil and criminal offences after he reported an Innu and Inuit protest at the construction site of a hydroelectric dam in Labrador in October 2016 — has filed a Charter challenge in court.

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: The Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Denis v. Cote

October 2, 2019 - On September 27, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on the dispute between Marie-Maude Denis, a journalist in Quebec, and Marc-Yvan Coté, a former Quebec cabinet minister who faces criminal charges.

Report

Populism and Free Speech

By Jon Thompson

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New Brunswick

July 11, 2019

News

NEW CFE PUBLICATION – “Populism and Free Speech” BY JON THOMPSON

The Centre for Free Expression is pleased to announce the newest addition to its Occasional Paper Series, “Populism and Free Speech” by Jon Thompson. The paper explores the contradictory history of populism -- at times a force for social justice and at other times  to undermine democratic rights of marginalized groups. Thompson  argues that progressive populist action is required to successfully deal with the existential challenges of nuclear war, climate change and chemical pollution. 

Blog Post

Does Bailing Out Media Equal Controlling the Press?

You will likely have seen quite a few opinion pieces lately about what’s being called variously the “Canadian” media bailout, the “government” media bailout and the “Liberal” media bailout. 

By John Degen