PEN Canada condemns media exclusion in Wetʼsuwetʼen protests
TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2020 – Police barred reporters from covering the Wet’suwet’en protests, with reporters being allegedly obstructed and threatened with arrest for simply doing their jobs. This was a clear infringement of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The actions of the police in this case — barring the media from covering a protest on Indigenous land — were an unjustified infringement of press freedom,” said PEN Canada president, Richard Stursberg. “This violation of a basic civil liberty is especially egregious given that the blockade was self-serving. The police did not want the media to cover how they handled the protest. PEN Canada condemns these actions.”
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms labels freedom of the press as a fundamental freedom, and for good reason. A free press is vital to a free and democratic society. Journalists and news media scrutinize whether governments are acting lawfully and sound the alarm when they fail on this score. In the effort to hold state actors in Canada accountable to their legal obligations, the press plays a unique and invaluable role.
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that believes in the power of the written word. We celebrate literature, defend free expression, and aid persecuted writers. www.pencanada.ca
For further information: Brendan de Caires, email@example.com, 416-703-8448 ext. 2223