Free expression. Source protection. Access to information. All of these are essential to democracy and an open society.
Senators assessing human rights progress hear press freedom under serious threat - Statement by CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights: Thank you for inviting me to speak about the rights of journalists as you assess progress in standing up for equality, justice and human dignity in 2018 — the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I wish I had good news to report, but I’m sad to say that, for journalists, things are getting worse. Freedom of expression and more specifically, freedom of the press, are under serious threat around the globe. We’ve long watched governments, from Saudi Arabia to Russia to Cuba, restricting what journalists can report. But now, many serial offenders like China are cracking down even harder, using technology to quash dissent and to block the sharing of information on social media. Even more troubling, we’ve seen the rise of demagogues and ultra-conservative parties in formerly progressive countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and the Philippines, who are openly hostile to the media. Turkey is now the world’s leading jailer of journalists with hundreds being held on trumped-up charges – and many given long jail sentences. And then there’s [...] Supreme Court ruling a ‘blow to press freedom’; media union vows to fight on - OTTAWA — CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, is deeply disappointed with today’s Supreme Court decision ordering a reporter to hand over files to police, and is vowing to continue the fight to protect journalists’ sources. The high court upheld a lower court ruling that VICE Media reporter Ben Makuch must give the RCMP material he gathered for stories about an alleged ISIS fighter. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said the decision is bad news for freedom of the press and for democracy. “I can’t express strongly enough how troubled I am with this ruling,” O’Hanlon said. “It has potentially devastating consequences for press freedom.” “Police have an important job to do in protecting us from crime, but they cannot expect journalists to do that job for them. The media is not, nor should it ever be, an arm of the state.” “It is vital for free speech and democracy that journalists guard the anonymity of their sources. If not, sources, including whistleblowers, will be far less likely to talk to journalists knowing that they could be identified and punished. The result? Canadians will be blocked from important information and stories about matters of vital public interest.” O’Hanlon vowed [...] On Labour Day weekend, ponder importance of unions, free press for our society - Labour Day Message from CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon On this Labour Day weekend, please take a moment to think about how important the labour movement and a free press are for our society and what you can do to help defend these vital pillars of democracy. For well over a century, the labour movement has led the struggle to make life better for common people. It is thanks to unions that we have so much we often take for granted, from decent wages to the five-day workweek, pensions, health coverage — on and on. These gains, which built the middle class, spurred the economy, and strengthened our democracy, took decades to achieve and, if we don’t keep up the struggle, we will lose them. Sadly, in the age of Trump, both our union sisters and brothers and our media colleagues in the U.S. are under attack. In addition to gutting labour laws and social supports, Trump is stirring up anti-media sentiment with inflammatory and hateful rhetoric. It is not normal. It is dangerous. His language is that of a dictator, not of a democratic leader. We are feeling the effects here in Canada as Trump emboldens not only right-wing radicals and others who [...] CWA Canada stands with U.S. colleagues against Trump’s attacks on media - Statement by CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon on Press Freedom: Today, more than 350 American news publications spoke out against U.S. President Donald Trump’s disturbing verbal attacks on the media and press freedom. Our sister union in the U.S., The NewsGuild-CWA, joined in the campaign, warning that Trump’s “reckless and endangering” words have consequences and will result in physical attacks on journalists. We at CWA Canada, which represents 6,000 media workers across the country, stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues south of the border in defence of press freedom — a vital pillar of democracy. Trump’s inflammatory and hateful anti-media rhetoric is not normal. It is dangerous. His language is that of a dictator, not of a democratic leader. We are feeling the effects here in Canada as he emboldens not only right-wing radicals and others who despise a free press, but even some politicians and their supporters.
We have seen a clear disdain for the press from Ontario’s new premier and his supporters who recently drowned out reporters’ questions at a public event by clapping over them. We must make it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable. Democracy and freedom are fragile and precious — and they are under attack around the globe. More and more governments [...] Leader of far-right group faces criminal charges in attempt to intimidate VICE journalists - The leader of the neo-fascist group Atalante, whose members attempted to intimidate VICE journalists last month in Montreal, is facing criminal charges. Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, which represents VICE workers through its biggest Local, the Canadian Media Guild, applauded news of the arrest of Raphael Lévesque. He and several of the group’s members had burst into the company’s offices on May 23 to protest an article by reporter Simon Coutu. The union strongly condemned the incident as an attack on freedom of the press that must be punished and called on police to take action. Lévesque has been ordered to appear in court in Montreal on Aug. 16, when he will be formally charged with breaking and entering, mischief, intimidation and criminal harassment. “Journalism is a pillar of a healthy democracy and this sends an important message that our society will not tolerate the harassment or intimidation of media workers,” said O’Hanlon. “CWA Canada will be watching closely to ensure any future harassment is swiftly prosecuted in order to protect our members and freedom of the press.” Montreal police say there are seven other suspects in the case and that there could be more arrests. The incursion into [...]
Link to the full Free Expression news archive on CWA Canada
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