Free Expression

Free expression. Source protection. Access to information. All of these are essential to democracy and an open society.

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Arnold Amber ‘Arnold always did what was right’ - Message from CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon to the Arnold Amber Memorial Service: Arnold. So much to say. You could talk for three hours about his life and accomplishments. I’ll do my best with three minutes. Like many people, when I first met Arnold more than 20 years ago, I wasn’t immediately sure what to make of him. He definitely wasn’t what you’d call warm and fuzzy! His intelligence and quick grasp of issues was obvious, but he seemed a bit aloof. And he wasn’t exactly known for his patience and gentleness when he chaired a meeting – as many a speaker learned if they took too long getting to the point! However, as you got to know Arnold — to spend time with him — you began to see the real man. You realized that, while he wasn’t all smiles and hugs, it was because he loathed shallowness – he preferred a deeper, more meaningful connection. You came to appreciate his good humour, his story-telling, his passion. And of course, you came to see a tender side that endeared him to you. You will hear today about Arnold’s love for his family, his impressive journalistic accomplishments, and his great [...]
CWA Canada mourns former leader Arnold Amber - Arnold Amber, a proud, passionate union leader, respected journalist, and fierce defender of free expression, died on Labour Day in a Toronto hospital with family at his bedside. He was 77. Amber, director of TNG Canada from the time it was created in 1995 until he retired in 2011, shepherded its evolution into CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union. He earned many accolades and awards over his lengthy career as a CBC newsman, for his devotion to Canadian and international free expression organizations, as a trainer of journalists in emerging democracies, and for his unflagging dedication to improving conditions for all workers, especially those in media. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon, who took over from Amber in 2011, called him “a brilliant man who applied himself with equal discipline and passion to journalism, the labour movement, and defending freedom of the press.” “All of us who knew Arnold will never forget his intelligence and sense of humour. He could be impatient and crusty, but he had a deeply tender and vulnerable side that made you love him.” “He would have had some wry crack about what it took for him to miss a Labour Day parade; he marched every [...]
World Press Freedom Day 03 MAY: Fight for free press, truth, democracy - After decades of progress, the world is facing a crisis as more and more governments crack down on freedom of speech. We have long seen repressive regimes in China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and many other countries smother free expression, but recently, formerly progressive countries like Poland and Turkey have joined in the suppression. On this day, we must all stand together and speak out in support of our basic human right. Today, we honour our colleagues around the globe who are fighting for a free press, truth, and democracy. Many have been harassed, jailed, attacked or even murdered by governments, terror groups or criminal gangs. In the vast majority of cases, no suspects are ever caught or punished. We must end the impunity. Even here in Canada, we must fight any attempt to limit a free press or thwart the public’s right to know. As journalism goes, so goes democracy. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon
video interview with Matthew Deiaco Police force’s demand for Toronto Star video interview flies under radar - H.G. WATSON | J-Source Here are the facts of the case: A reporter interviews a person accused of heinous crimes. A story including parts, but not all, of the interview is published. Several months later, the police serve the reporter with a judicial order, called a production order, for the complete interview. The news outlet fights the production order in court—and loses. You might think this is a description of the highly publicized Vice Media case against the RCMP. The facts are similar. But it isn’t. This is a description of a production order brought against the Toronto Star by the Toronto Police Service in the very last days of 2016, a case that has gone completely under the radar. And, unlike their colleagues at Vice, the Toronto Star has decided it will not continue fighting the production order in court. The differences between the two cases underline how Canadian law fails to protect journalists and their sources. Read the whole story at
VICE reporter Ben Makuch Ruling against VICE reporter ‘bad news for journalism’ - A ruling today by the Ontario Court of Appeal that a VICE Media reporter must hand over his notes to the RCMP is “bad news for journalism and for democracy,” said CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon. The media union, which represents workers at VICE’s Canadian news operations, was part of a coalition of groups that intervened in the legal fight between the media company and the police over a journalist’s right to protect sources. “Police have an important job to do in protecting us from crime, but they cannot expect journalists do that job for them,” O’Hanlon said. “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. “This fight is not over.” VICE had appealed an Ontario Superior Court ruling that upheld a production order issued by the Mounties against journalist Ben Makuch to hand over all communications between him and an alleged ISIS fighter. The company said in a statement today it plans to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. “Simply put, this isn’t over,” said VICE Canada president Ryan Archibald. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), which [...]

Link to the full Free Expression news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

17.03.09 Canadaland – Journalist facing criminal charges for covering indigenous protest
17.03.09 – This is a serious threat to press freedom
17.02.25 – Bill C-51: National Day of Action in review

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