Free Expression

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

Latest News

Masked men in VICE Media's Montreal office 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 [...]
Masked men in VICE Media's Montreal office Media union condemns attempted intimidation of VICE journalists - OTTAWA / TORONTO / MONTREAL  – The union that represents staff at VICE Canada is outraged at an attempt by right-wing radicals to intimidate journalists at the news organization’s office in Montreal and calls for police to take action. CWA Canada and its biggest Local, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), strongly condemn the action as an attack on freedom of the press that must be punished. Members of the far-right, anti-immigration group Atalante burst into the VICE office Wednesday to protest an article by reporter Simon Coutu. The men, dressed in black and masked in the colours of the Quebec flag, marched around, shouted and threw papers at workers. They surrounded Coutu and presented him with a mock prize denigrating his work. Police showed up after the intruders left but it is not clear what, if any, action they plan to take. “We are clearly talking about bullying, but that will not prevent us from doing our job well,” Coutu vowed. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said authorities cannot let the violation go unpunished. “We cannot allow hooligans to get away with this sort of intimidation or it will encourage more serious and possibly violent incidents,” O’Hanlon said. “It is [...]
VICE reporter Ben Makuch CWA Canada stands with VICE as source protection case goes to Supreme Court - VICE Media’s legal fight with the RCMP over a journalist’s right to protect sources goes before the Supreme Court of Canada today. Standing alongside VICE will be CWA Canada, the only union in a coalition of news outlets and journalist organizations that has been granted intervener status in the case. A production order issued by the Mounties against VICE journalist Ben Makuch to hand over all communications between him and an alleged ISIS fighter was upheld by the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called the rulings “bad news for journalism and for democracy” and committed the union to continuing the fight to the highest court in the land. “As a media union, we will speak out loudly to protect freedom of expression and the role of a free press as a pillar of democracy,” O’Hanlon said. “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.” The media union represents workers at VICE’s Canadian news operations through its biggest Local, the Canadian Media Guild. [...]
Group photo at first Arnold Amber Memorial Lecture Honouring a Warrior of the Right and Fair - The first Arnold Amber Memorial Lecture, presented by the Centre for Labour Management Relations at Ryerson University, and sponsored by CWA Canada, celebrated the life and legacy of the longtime advocate of the right and fair. Buzz Hargrove (right of poster) delivered the keynote address, followed by tributes from (left of poster) Lise Lareau, a former president of the Canadian Media Guild, and Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, and (far right) Maurice Mazerolle, director of the CLMR. They are surrounded by members of Arnold’s family, who turned out for the event on Thursday evening, May 10.
Defenders of press freedom, including CWA Canada, call on PM Trudeau to do better -   The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. 
 Prime Minister of Canada
 Langevin Block
 Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, World Press Freedom Day takes place every year on May 3rd. It is a great moment to take stock of press freedom around the world, including in Canada. This year is particularly important as it marks the 25th edition of World Press Freedom Day, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Therefore, we take this opportunity to bring to your attention the disappointing state of press freedom in Canada. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and our Canadian partners: the Fédération nationale des communications – CSN (FNC-CSN), Unifor, and CWA Canada – The Media Union, in collaboration with the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ), believe that your government could do so much more to support and empower press freedom. Hostile climate for the press Unlike your predecessor, Mr. Harper, you presented yourself as a strong advocate for journalism and government transparency. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground is quite different. Despite your coming to power almost three years ago, the climate in which press freedom is exercised remains difficult for journalists. [...]

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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