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Pelham town officials cannot ignore local journalists

OTTAWA / March 20, 2018 / — Elected officials in Pelham, Ont., appear to have forgotten journalists are a staple of democracy. The mayor and town councillors, along with municipal staff, have reportedly spent several weeks ignoring the only news outlet covering most local issues. Pelham must respect journalists and allow them to do their jobs, said the Canadian Association of Journalists.

In the latest example of an Ontario municipality mismanaging its relationship with journalists, public officials in Pelham, Ont., have reportedly left media requests from the Pelham Voice unanswered for several weeks, stopped sending press releases to the Voice, and even reportedly trashed hundreds of copies of the newspaper.

Voice publisher Dave Burket said the newspaper will not back down as it pushes Pelham officials to be accountable for their actions. “We will continue to approach the Town of Pelham in good faith and simply ask that they return the courtesy,” he said. “Stonewalling only energizes reporters, and deepens public mistrust. I hope Town Hall comes to its senses.”

CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey said "Town Hall should really give up these antics that do real damage. Ignoring phone calls and throwing out newspapers is not only petty, but fundamentally disrespectful of press freedom. Pelham residents deserve better than this.”

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing about 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information:

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president

647-968-2393

nick@caj.ca

 

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