Legalize Journalism! Support Bill S-231, Pass the Shield Law To Protect Journalists and Sources
I am writing to ask you to support Bill S-231, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources), because press freedom is in crisis in Canada. This year Canada fell four places to 22nd in Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, in part because we lack basic legal protections for journalists. Canada is one of the few western countries without a press shield law to protect whistleblowers and other journalistic sources. It is urgent that we create this legislation if we hope to maintain our position as a world leader on press freedom. This past year we've seen a series of serious press freedom violations in Canada, including the RCMP taking VICE journalist Ben Makuch to court to access his sources, the seizure of a laptop belonging to La Presse reporter Michael Nguyen, police spying on journalists in Quebec, and criminal charges against independent journalist Justin Brake. This isn’t just happening in countries like Russia or Turkey. It is happening in Canada. Law enforcement agencies and our government are failing to protect the ability of journalists to do their job. Thankfully, there is hope. On May 3 Bill S-231 (the Protection of Sources Act) passed first reading in the House of Commons. This bill creates a press shield law to protect journalistic sources, and is a concrete step to help cement the independence and freedom of the press. Journalists must be empowered to act as watchdogs who are able to work on behalf of their communities and readers, rather than as an investigative arm of law enforcement. It is crucial that you support Bill S-231, the Journalistic Sources Protection Act. We are counting on you to protect press freedom. The ability of journalists to protect their sources is fundamental to democracy. This year, we're celebrating Canada's 150th birthday. If democracy is going to survive into Canada's 300th year, it will only be because we fight to uphold our rights to a free press. Thank you for your support.
This message is being sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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