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: Police Charge Journalist Karl Dockstader in Ontario

September 6, 2020 - In southern Ontario, a journalist plans to fight the criminal charges that police laid against him after he had filed reports about a land dispute in August.

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Charlie Hebdo Update

September 1, 2020 -This week, the trial of 14 people begins in a courtroom in Paris, France. All are suspected of helping Islamist terrorists attack the office of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine, and a kosher supermarket in January 2015.

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Canada Deports Danish Journalist

August 23, 2020 - In Vancouver, border guards recently denied a Danish journalist entry into Canada and then deported him.

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.