BPC Bulletin: News Roundup: Canadian Journalists Arrested, Charged, Threatened

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

 

In recent years, a few Canadian journalists have been arrested and charged for violating court-ordered injunctions while they covered disputes at logging sites and construction sites.

Later, courts have dismissed the charges or the Crown has dropped them.

In other instances, Canadian journalists have faced threats while they covered protest demonstrators.

This bulletin provides links to five current or recent episodes when Canadian journalists have been arrested and charged or threatened in some way.

In each of the five sections below, the articles appear in reverse chronological order. The newest article appears first, and the oldest article appears last. The Globe and Mail’s stories appear behind paywalls.

THE TRUCKERS’ PROTEST IN OTTAWA

Articles Published in Late January 2022

John Paul Tasker of CBC News describes the scene in Ottawa:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/truck-convoy-protest-some-key-players-1.6332312

The Canadian Association of Journalists urges “newsroom leaders” to protect threatened journalists:

Newsroom leaders encouraged to protect safety of journalists covering truckers’ convoy (caj.ca)

At the Daily Hive, Isabelle Docto reports the threats sent to reporters Frank Gunn and others:

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/canadian-association-journalists-freedom-convoy-violence

THE ANTI-PIPELINE PROTEST IN NORTHWESTERN B.C.

Articles Published from November to December 2021

The following articles focus on reporters Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano.

In The Narwhal, Emma Gilchrist reports:

https://thenarwhal.ca/coastal-gaslink-drop-charges-journalists/

In The Narwhal, Amber Bracken reports:

https://thenarwhal.ca/opinion-amber-bracken-rcmp-arrest/?fbclid=IwAR2g2ZMXUtwA2oFeiV_BcmXnuozi_eNs09uKVHSTq8fdEZNP34AgvdKZqHM

Canadaland interviews journalists Amber Bracken and Michael Toledano:

https://www.canadaland.com/amber-bracken-michael-toledano-press-freedom/

At Canadaland, Jesse Brown and Danielle Paradis comment:

https://www.canadaland.com/podcast/732-stop-arresting-journalists/

In The Globe and Mail, Peter Jacobsen writes:

Opinion: Even the courts agree: Injunctions should not prevent journalists from doing their jobs - The Globe and Mail

CBC News reports:

Coastal GasLink drops charges against journalists arrested by RCMP during enforcement of pipeline injunction | CBC News

The Canadian Association of Journalists writes to Marco Mendicino, Canada’s public safety minister:

Arrested Canadian journalists: CAJ letter to Canada's public safety minister (newswire.ca)

Kate Partridge of CBC News reports:

Advocates call for release of journalist, filmmaker arrested at pipeline protest in B.C. | CBC News

In The Narwhal, Stephanie Wood reports:

https://thenarwhal.ca/rcmp-backtracks-says-officers-wont-stop-journalists-from-reporting-on-wetsuweten-raid/

THE ANTI-LOGGING PROTEST AT FAIRY CREEK, B.C.

Articles Published from May 2021 to January 2022

The following articles focus on reporter Ora Cogan and others.

In The Globe and Mail, Dirk Meissner reports:

B.C. court extends injunction against protests at Fairy Creek until September - The Globe and Mail

In the Toronto Star, Bruce Campion-Smith comments:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/public_editor/2021/10/08/the-publics-right-to-know-is-at-stake-when-journalists-are-denied-access.html

Bethany Lindsay of CBC News reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mountie-orders-journalist-to-be-silent-at-logging-protest-1.6155051

In The Tyee, Zoe Yunker reports:

https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/08/16/Judge-Rebuked-Illegal-RCMP-Tactics/

In Canadian Lawyer, Bernise Carolino reports:

https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/practice-areas/litigation/bc-decision-encourages-rcmp-to-re-examine-practices-regarding-press-restrictions/358694

Elena De Luigi of the Canadian Press reports:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-encampment-clearings-fairy-creek-blockades-spur-concerns-over-police/

In The Narwhal, Mike De Souza reports:

https://thenarwhal.ca/fairy-creek-rcmp-media-court-takeaways/

In The Discourse, Erin Millar comments:

https://thediscourse.ca/vancouver-island/fairy-creek-media-access-court-challenge

In The Tyee, Amelia Williams reports:

https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/27/Other-Fight-Fairy-Creek-Press-Freedom/

In The Narwhal, Sarah Cox reports:
https://thenarwhal.ca/bc-old-growth-fairy-creek-press-freedom-legal-action/

THE LAND-CLAIM DISPUTE IN CALEDONIA, ONT.

Articles Published in September 2020 and November 2021

While covering the dispute between the Haudenosaunee and Foxgate Developments in mid-2020, reporter Karl Dockstader was charged by Ontario police with mischief and failure to comply with a court order. In December 2020, he said the Crown chose to withdraw the charges because there were no reasonable grounds for conviction.

Ka’nhehsí:io Deer of CBC News reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/land-back-lane-charges-resolved-1.6227320

Jorge Barrera of CBC News reports:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/karl-dockstader-opp-charges-caledonia-1.5713169

In The Hamilton Spectator, J.P. Antonacci reports:

https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/2020/09/04/indigenous-journalist-researcher-arrested-in-caledonia-land-dispute.html

THE PROTEST AT MUSKRAT FALLS IN LABRADOR

Article Published in June 2020

While covering a protest at the construction site of a hydro-electric dam in 2016, reporter Justin Brake was arrested and charged for violating an injunction. Later, a provincial court of appeal dismissed one charge, and the Crown dropped the other two charges, but the process took almost four years.

CBC News reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/justin-brake-charges-dismissed-muskrat-falls-1.5633341

Thanks go to Grant Buckler who provided news stories.

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.

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