Free Expression

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

Latest News

Marie-Maude Denis Two Quebec cases bring CWA Canada to the press-freedom ramparts - Two Quebec cases involving journalists and the justice system have sparked protests from CWA Canada and other organizations that stand for press freedoms. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said the media union welcomes the news that Radio-Canada will appeal a Superior Court ruling Thursday ordering investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis to reveal her source in a corruption trial, and supports taking the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. O’Hanlon said it’s frustrating that this sort of thing continues to happen, especially with the passage of federal legislation last year recognizing the right of journalists to protect their sources. CWA Canada is already part of a group seeking intervener status in a Supreme Court case involving an attempt by the RCMP to force VICE Canada reporter Ben Makuch to identify a source. “The media is not, nor should it ever be, an arm of the state,” O’Hanlon said. “As journalists, we must fight any attempt by anyone, especially authorities, to interfere with freedom of the press.” “It is vital for free speech and democracy that journalists guard the anonymity of their sources. If not, sources, including whistle-blowers, will be far less likely to talk to journalists knowing that they could be [...]
CWA Canada members can win tickets to CJFE awards gala - CWA Canada is holding a lottery to provide tickets for up to six members to attend the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression gala in Toronto on Nov. 30. Three women will be honoured for their courageous reporting, including the winner of a $2,000 investigative journalism award sponsored by CWA Canada and renamed this year in memory of the media union’s first leader, Arnold Amber, who passed away on Labour Day. His work as a journalist, labour leader, activist and longstanding service as CJFE president will also be honoured at the gala. The lottery is for tickets only ($200 each). Winners are responsible for associated costs such as transportation and accommodation. Deadline for entry is Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. ET; winners will be announced the next day. All members are eligible. To enter, email your name to, with “CJFE Lottery” in the subject line. Please mention any dietary restrictions/preferences such as vegetarian. The annual gala “helps share powerful stories from journalists and media workers who put their careers, freedom, and often their lives on the line to bring the world the truth,” said Megan Drysdale, CJFE’s co-director. “We’re excited to celebrate the work of these three women who are [...]
Understanding Canada’s new shield law for confidential sources - LISA TAYLOR, BRIAN MACLEOD ROGERS, RYDER GILLILAND | J-Source [~] Canada has a new law that offers significantly enhanced protections to reporters’ confidential sources and recognizes the societal value in protecting the journalist-source relationship. It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Journalistic Source Protection Act, which became law on Thursday, Oct. 19, after being approved unanimously by both the House of Commons and the Senate. This Act amends both the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act in favour of giving considerably more weight to a journalist’s promise of confidentiality to a source. “I think this bill goes a very long way in protecting confidential sources,” media lawyer Iris Fischer said of the bill in an episode of the Ryerson Review of Journalism’s “Pull Quotes” podcast. “This issue of sources has been a big one (for journalism) and it’s great to see that being addressed.” Read the whole article at J-Source
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 [...]

Link to the full Free Expression news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

18.04.05 Reuters – Slovak protesters demand police chief be fired over journalist’s murder
18.03.22 Globe and Mail – Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest
18.03.20 CAJ – Pelham town officials cannot ignore local journalists
18.03.12 CBC News – Criminal charges to proceed against reporter covering Muskrat Falls protests
18.02.09 CBC News – Supreme Court rules in favour of CBC in publication ban case

17.12.08 CJFE – CJFE condemns seizure of St. Catharines Standard reporter’s notes and laptop
17.12.08 St. Catharines Standard – Niagara Region seizes reporter’s notes, computer
17.11.30 CBC – Vice Media fight with RCMP headed to the Supreme Court of Canada

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