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Press Freedom in Canada

October 21, 2009

Reporters Without Borders annual index of global press freedom indicates that Canada’s position has slipped from 13th in 2008 to 19th place this year. Summarized in CBC Online, the report cites court challenges related to journalistic shielding of their sources from courts and SLAPP lawsuits (strategic lawsuits against public participation) as factors in the lowered rankings. Commented Dennis Trudeau, a spokesperson for the Canadian chapter of Reporters Without Borders, ” “Where a reporter could theoretically face jail or a fine for not revealing his sources is in our view, especially when we’re dealing with public issues, a unreasonable restriction on freedom of the press.” Another pressing concern is the slow response from the federal government to access to information requests and the Harper government’s unwillingness to modernize access-to-information laws. Commented Mary Agnes Welch, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, “The amount of information flowing out of Ottawa has come to a trickle.”

See the CBC article, Canadian news media less free: watchdog, (October 20 2009) and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2009.

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