CAJ marks 15 years of the Code of Silence Award

OTTAWA, April 20, 2016 /CNW/ - It's a tongue-in-cheek idea with serious overtones that was first presented 15 years ago – the Canadian Association of Journalists' Code of Silence.

Nursed to life by past-president Rob Cribb, the idea was to "celebrate" Canada's most-secretive government, department, agency or publicly funded body. Who was putting that extra bit of elbow grease into keeping any sunlight from reaching the public's business?

The "winner" that first year? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Starting today, the CAJ is accepting nominations from journalists working in Canada who've been fighting the good fight to pry public information out of the hands of bureaucrats and politicians from sea, to sea, to sea.

Nominators are asked to think big and small – previous winners include the entire federal government, omnibus government legislation, a former prime minister's office and several government departments federally and provincially. They also include the Resort Municipality of Whistler and come from questions as simple as how many fish were being spawned at a federal facility – an answer shared with tour groups but not with an inquiring journalist before the spin masters were involved.

If it takes and/or spends public money and isn't being open and transparent about how it does so, it's an eligible nominee.

Do you have an egregious example that gets your own blood boiling? Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at

The winner will be announced during the closing banquet for the #CAJ16 conference at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel on May 28. Registration for the entire conference is open, with early bird rates ending May 20.

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Congratulations to all the 2015 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWA, April 7, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce the finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada published or broadcast in 2015.

The winning entry in most categories will receive a $500 cash prize. The recipients in each category will be announced May 28 at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Edmonton, part of the #CAJ16 annual conference at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel.

Delegates registering for the full conference (May 27-28) in most registration categories get a banquet ticket as part of their registration. Standalone tickets are also available at a cost of $55. Register and purchase tickets today via the conference registration pageEarly bird rates for the conference run until May 20.

Awards finalists registering for the conference – either one-day plus gala or full conference – are automatically eligible for a 10% discount off the relevant fee. If your organization wants to send more than five finalists to the conference, a 25% discount is available. Contact us to confirm eligibility and register.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best overall investigative report for 2015 will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet. Links, where available, have been provided in the titles of the finalists’ entries.

The finalists in the OPEN MEDIA category are:

Nahlah Ayed, Tracy Seeley, Richard Devey
Refugee crisis: Walking across a continent

Harvey Cashore, Frederic Zalac, Dave Seglins, Alexandra Byers
KPMG – The Isle of Sham
CBC News

Dylan Robertson
The Radical Reality: Canada and Homegrown Terrorism
Calgary Herald

Kathryn Blaze Baum, Renata D’Aliesio, Matthew McClearn, Kristy Hoffman, Laura Blenkinsop, Christopher Manza
A Country’s Crisis: An Investigation into Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
The Globe and Mail

Andrew Bailey, David Bruser, Astrid Lange, Jim Rankin, Randy Risling, Joanna Smith, Rick Sznajder, Tanya Talaga, Jennifer Wells
Gone: Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
The Toronto Star

The finalists in the COMMUNITY MEDIA category are:

Travis Lupick
Chasing a crisis: The challenge of caring for Vancouver’s severely mentally ill and addicted residents
Georgia Straight

Joseph Couture
Series on homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness
Freelance / London Yodeler

Matt Goerzen
Breaking faith
The Brandon Sun

Ian Hitchen
The Runaways
The Brandon Sun

Gagandeep Ghuman
Here’s what got buried under the rock
The Squamish Reporter

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Kathleen Martens
For the love of Matty
APTN Investigates

Harvey Cashore, Terence McKenna, Joseph Loiero, Alexandra Byers, Zach Dubinsky, Chelsea Gomez,, Nicole Reinert, Greg McArthur
The Mob and Michael DeGroote
CBC News – The Fifth Estate / The Globe and Mail

Kelly Crowe, Marcy Cuttler
A price to pay
CBC News – The National

Karin Wells
‘In the presence of a spoon’
CBC Radio One – The Sunday Edition

Avis Favaro, Elizabeth St. Philip, Brett Mitchell, Anton Koschany
Gordie’s comeback
CTV – W5

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST NEWS category are:

Tiffany Foxcroft,Tyana Grundig, Erica Johnson
Coffee Cups
CBC Marketplace

Angela McIvor
Crisis in Rape Funding
CBC News – Nova Scotia

Adrienne Arsenault, Nazim Baksh
Canadian Jihadis
CBC News – The National

Heather Evans, John Lancaster, Sarah Bridge
Border Investigation
CBC News – Toronto

Anton Koschany,Victor Malarek, Sarah Stevens, Brett Mitchell
Phantom Menace
CTV – W5

The finalists in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category are:

Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell
Smoked out
CBC News – Edmonton

Natalie Clancy, Paisley Woodward
Real estate seminars exposed
CBC News – Vancouver


Diana Swain, Timothy Sawa, Lori Ward
Campus sexual assaults: The fight to get the real picture
CBC News Investigative Unit – CBC – The National

Anna Mehler Paperny, Leslie Young
Abortions for some
Global News

Bill Curry, Chris Hannay
Infrastructure spending in Conservative ridings
The Globe and Mail

Gordon Hoekstra, Larry Pynn
Pride & Power: First Nations and the B.C. economy
Vancouver Sun

Jeff Outhit
Where trouble lives
Waterloo Region Record

The finalists in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Paul Watson
The Wreck Of HMS Erebus: How A Landmark Discovery Triggered A Fight For Canada’s History
Freelance / Buzzfeed News Canada

Susana Mas
Temporary foreign workers favoured under express entry

Cate Friesen, Cecil Rosner, Connie Walker, Duncan McCue, Tiar Wilson, Kimberly Ivany, Martha Troian, Chantelle Bellrichard, Joanne Levasseur,Teghan Beaudette, Kristy Hoffman, Donna Lee, Tara Lindemann, William Wolfe-Wylie, Richard Grasley, Michael Leschart, Michael Pereira
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
CBC News

Joshua Hergesheimer
Oil patch downturn puts dreams on hold – a series on the human costs behind the falling price of oil
National Observer

Elizabeth McSheffrey, Linda Solomon Wood, Jenny Uechi
Furry fiasco
National Observer

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Larry Wong
Portfolio entry
Edmonton Journal

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio entry
Freelance / The Canadian Press

John Lehmann
Portfolio entry
The Globe and Mail

Steve Russell
Portfolio entry
The Toronto Star

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Jill Macyshon
Manitoba’s Foster Care Crisis
CTV National News

Linda Solomon Wood, Jenny Uechi, Sandy Garossino, Mychaylo Prystupa
Oil’s hidden route to Harper
National Observer
*The authorship of this submission is under dispute.

Bruce Cheadle
Omnibus budget bill rewrites history to clear RCMP of potential criminal charges
The Canadian Press

Colin Perkel
Faulty Juror Eligibility Forms
The Canadian Press

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Jorge Barrera, Damian Joseph
Lac La Ronge Fires
APTN National News

Margaret Evans
Paris Mourns
CBC Radio One – The World This Weekend

John Vennavally-Rao
Atom Smasher
CTV National News

Kim Bolan
Terror suspect was a classic loner
Vancouver Sun

Kevin Rollason
Phone Scam
Winnipeg Free Press

The finalists in the TEXT FEATURE category are:

Althia Raj
How Trudeau Won
Huffington Post Canada

Shannon Proudfoot
Jo has Alzheimer’s. He’s 38

Angela Sterritt
A Movement Rises

Matthew Pearson
The Passenger
Ottawa Citizen

Andrea Hill
Who is it now? When sirens wail in La Loche, people can’t help but wonder if it’s yet another suicide
Saskatoon StarPhoenix


Dennis Ward, Murray Oliver
A soldier scorned
APTN Investigates

Tamar Weinstein, Lynette Fortune, Mark Kelley, Liz Rosch
Too young to lose
CBC News – The Fifth Estate

Nahlah Ayed, Tracy Seeley, Richard Devey
Inside India’s gender revolution
CBC News – The National

Joe Friesen
The perilous journey from Myanmar to freedom
The Globe and Mail

Olivia Fellows, Emily Fister, Maura Forrest, Linda Givetash, Darryl Hol, Pauline Holdsworth, Hala Kamaliddin, Gian-Paolo Mendoza, Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Emi Sasagawa, Peter Klein, David Rummel, Kathryn Gretsinger, Dan McKinney, Chantelle Bellrichard, Britney Dennison, Kim Frank, Videsh Kapoor, Dionne Bunsha, Mohammad Ghazal, Noah Katcha, Andrew Munroe, Ashima Narain, Varun Nayar, Dhanashree Oak, Ulrich Vital Ahotondji
Out of the Shadows
University of British Columbia / International Reporting Program


Melissa Ridgen
Hurting for work
APTN Investigates

Nick Purdon, Leonardo Palleja
Up close: Prison guards
CBC News – The National

Yutaka Dirks
What’s at stake in the fight for $15?
Freelance / Briarpatch

Krysia Collyer, Robert Cribb, Hannah James
Code White
Global 16X9 / Toronto Star

Lee-Anne Goodman
Badly backlogged Social Security Tribunal
The Canadian Press


Amara McLaughlin, Jesse Yardley
Risky decisions for Canadian cancer patients
Calgary Journal / Mount Royal University

Cameron Perrier
A Generation Taken: Stories of the Sixties Scoop in Alberta and aboriginal child welfare today
Calgary Journal / Mount Royal University

Jacqueline Gallant, Alex Vautour, Paige LeClair, Nicole Munro, Kevin Lemieux, MacKenzie Riley, Mary Fahey, Pat McCullough, Michael Bourgeois, Scott Hems, Dylan Hackett, Jan Wong, Pat Richard
The Fog of Rape: Normalizing a Campus Crime
The New Brunswick Beacon / St. Thomas University, Fredericton

Malone Mullin
Is this the radical road to prosperity?
The Varsity Magazine / University of Toronto

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 230 entries for the 2015 awards program.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Your work has been outstanding, inspiring and a reminder of how despite the unending fiscal challenges facing our industry, Canadian journalists still produce plenty of amazing, important and impactful journalism. We thank you for entering and we hope to see you in Edmonton.

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Coalition condemns court ruling threatening press freedoms

TORONTO (March 31, 2016) — Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the undersigned organizations have issued a joint letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale expressing alarm over the Ontario Superior Court ruling that Vice News reporter Ben Makuch must hand over all communications between him and an ISIS fighter to the RCMP. The coalition urges the RCMP and Public Safety Canada to respect the independence of journalists and drop demands for the release of private material and correspondence with sources.

The protection of sources is a foundational principle of journalism, making crucial reporting like Makuch’s coverage of ISIS possible in the first place. By forcing Makuch to hand over his notes to the RCMP, or go to jail, the court has undermined press freedom—a critical component of our democratic society—and made it less likely that sources will be willing to speak with journalists.

“This represents a terrible blow for press freedom in Canada. Journalists are not a law enforcement arm for the government and to be treated as such by the judiciary is a significant threat to their independence” said Tom Henheffer, Executive Director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). “If police increasingly take journalists’ notes and communications, sources will be less willing to talk, and stories like Makuch’s won’t be told in the first place.”

“We journalists work to inform people on matters of public interest; namely, in this case, the process through which Canadians become indoctrinated and join jihadist groups,” said Lise Millette, President of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québe (FPJQ). “This Court decision sets us on a slippery slope where we won’t be able to talk to alleged criminals because our communications could be used in police investigations. If sources become too afraid to talk to journalists, we will be limited in our capacity to uncover the truth, and the public will be left in the dark.”

“Journalists should never be expected to act as an on-call branch of law enforcement. We report in the public interest, not in the interest of ongoing police investigations,” said Nick Taylor-Vaisey, President of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ). “Sources who share sensitive documents with journalists must have confidence that those journalists can protect that information. The recent ruling in Ontario could set a dangerous precedent, and certainly threatens press freedom.”

“As one of the world’s strongest democracies, Canada should set a positive example of protecting journalists’ sources, not the other way around,” said Delphine Halgand, US Director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “ Where is press freedom headed in Canada if the police can easily obtain notes and recordings from journalists?”

“This would mean a reporter could go to jail just for doing the job Canadians expect them to do. It’s outrageous in a country that prides itself on freedom of expression and a free press,” said Carmel Smyth, President of Canadian Media Guild.

By compromising the trust between journalists and their sources, this decision undermines both free expression and national security. The Canadian government must ensure the integrity of journalistic work is protected and journalists can freely operate while protecting their sources without facing the prospect of legal sanction.

Signatories :
Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
Canadian Media Guild
CWA/SCA Canada
Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)
Reporters without borders (RSF)

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For more information:

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
CAJ President

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Alberta government must reinstate Rebel’s access to the legislature: CAJ

OTTAWA, FEB. 17, 2016 — Alberta’s government must abandon its attempt to block journalists’ access to the provincial legislature in Edmonton. The Canadian Association of Journalists reminds every government official who controls access to media lockups and press conferences that they do not control who gets to hold government to account.

Recently, Premier Rachel Notley’s director of communications, Cheryl Oates, as well as lawyers from the provincial justice department, unjustly blocked access to the legislature for journalists from Rebel Media, a conservative online news organization headed by Ezra Levant.

The National Post’s coverage of the ban on Rebel Media journalists reveals at least three inexplicable claims on the part of the government.

Claim #1: Governments deciding who is and isn’t a journalist.

“Our client’s position remains that your client (The Rebel) and those who identify as being connected to (The Rebel) are not journalists and are not entitled to access media lock-ups or other such events.” — letter from Alberta’s justice department

The truth: No government gets to decide who can hold it to account.

Claim #2: News organizations are only news organizations if their owners are journalists.

“Our rationale on this is very simple and it comes down to one thing: It’s the fact that Ezra Levant himself has testified under oath that he is not a reporter and so we don’t consider him a reporter.” — Oates, citing Levant testimony from 2014

The truth: The government makes a poor case that Levant isn’t a journalist but, even if he weren’t, news organizations are still news organizations when their owners aren’t journalists.

Claim #3: Online news sources aren’t legitimate news sources.

“We didn’t allow bloggers or online news sources in … They (The Rebel) weren’t singled out.” — Oates, defending Rebel Media’s exclusion from a press conference

The truth: Online-only news operations are nothing new, in Canada or anywhere else. The CAJ rejects any blanket ban of online-only media, which are, in fact, legitimate.

“Albertans should be choosing what coverage of their government they want to read, not seeing government try to choose what coverage is suitable for Albertans,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For more information:

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
CAJ President

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Postmedia cuts mean readers lose out on the truth: CAJ

OTTAWA, Jan. 20, 2016 — Postmedia may have forgotten that each reporting job it cuts means one less truth that won’t be told in Canada. But, starting today, the Canadian Association of Journalists will be making sure the company and its readers will be reminded of the fact.

Yesterday, Postmedia laid off 90 journalists at newsrooms in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Windsor, Ont., Toronto and Ottawa.

The list of those cuts includes David AlterLaura BoothJessica BrissonIan BusbyStephanie CoombsRyan CormierMatt DayColleen De NeveDave DormerDanielle DubeMargo GoodhandCon GriwkowskyLorraine HjalteChris HofleyGeorge JohnsonEric KoreenIan KucerakCorey LarocqueJulia LipscombeJohn MacKinnonBill MahMatt McClureKaitlyn McGrathCodie McLachlanBryan PassifiumeJason van RasselGwendolyn RichardsKeaton RobbinsTony SpearsRandy SportakMike Sutherland-ShawShelley WallisJohn K. WhiteDon WilcoxBrent WittmeierAlexandra Zabjek, and 54 others.

Many of them file at least one story per day.

As The Globe and Mail’s Selena Ross pointed out on Twitter, that amounts to thousands of stories a year that won’t be written — and, as Ross added, readers simply won’t know what they’re missing because readers “don’t know what they don’t know.”

“Cuts of any magnitude, in any newsroom, diminish the public’s right to know,” says CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “Postmedia readers will, without a doubt, be left in the dark more often as a result of these cuts. Full stop.”

That’s why the Canadian Association of Journalist will be highlighting on Twitter all this week the stories those recently laid-off journalists shared with their readers—something they may never have the opportunity to do again.

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

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, | |

CORRECTION—Jan. 21, 2016: This release originally included Sherwood Park-Strathcona County News reporter/photographer Megan Voss among those who lost their jobs. Voss remains employed by Postmedia. We regret the error.

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Purchase of Shaw Media sets stage for closures, consolidations

OTTAWA, Jan. 13, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned a $2.6-billion sale of Shaw Media Inc. could lay the foundation for a series of negative changes to the broadcasting industry in Canada.

The purchase announced Wednesday involves selling the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. to Corus Entertainment Inc. A plurality of shares in both companies is owned by the Shaw family.

The announcement is symptomatic of what can happen in a landscape dominated by fewer than a handful of corporations – the transfer of jobs and assets from one hand to another within a larger corporate structure to free up cash for other purposes. In this case – where the CAJ’s concerns lie – it will bring 15 television stations, 39 radio stations, 45 specialty channels and their associated digital properties under Corus’ management.

“This purchase only lays the groundwork for further consolidation and closures within the Canadian broadcasting industry. Such reductions, while favourable on a balance sheet, mean fewer options for those looking for original Canadian content on their TVs, radios and devices,” CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey said. “They also mean fewer jobs, in Canada, for those who create that content.

“We urge Corus, should it choose to consolidate any of its properties, to preserve Canadian content and jobs in its newsrooms and production studios.”

The CAJ continues to hold its longstanding concern with the ongoing consolidation of ownership in the media sector and the negative impact this has on diversity of voices, availability of local news and information and opportunities for journalists.

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

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393,

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CAJ stands up for editorial independence at Vista Radio

We sent this letter to Vista Radio on Wednesday, Dec. 9. A .pdf of the letter is available here.

Dec. 9, 2015

RE: Editorial independence of journalists

ATTN: Geoff Poulton, President of Vista Radio

Dear Mr. Poulton,

I write to you today in my capacity as the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Our National Board was recently made aware of a concerning situation at Vista Radio properties that appears to threaten the editorial independence of journalists who work in your newsrooms.

A Vista Radio employee recently confirmed to the CAJ that the company made an offer to editorial staff to participate voluntarily in commissioned advertising sales during a chain-wide, one-day sales blitz. While we understand the challenges media owners face, and particularly the ongoing struggle even to maintain advertising revenue, we must oppose any effort to involve editorial staff in advertising.

The CAJ adopted a policy paper in 2007 that explains our position. We hold that separation of editorial and advertising operations are “critical to the long-term financial viability of a newspaper or broadcast outlet. If readers and viewers lose faith in a news outlet’s autonomy, they will abandon it.”

The policy paper on editorial independence offers a section on advertising guidelines that reinforce this principle:

“Complete operational separation should be maintained between editorial staff and advertising staff. Advertising staff should never attempt to influence new coverage in any way, whether it relates to a current client or not.”

The CAJ would strongly encourage Vista Radio to establish internal policy consistent with our policy paper’s recommendation to that end:

“All news outlets should create internally a list of guidelines for editors and advertising sales reps that clarify the segregation of editorial and ad functions…”

We understand that no journalist has been forced into ad sales, but clear rules that prohibit any breaches of the firewall between editorial and advertising operations can only enhance the credibility of any news organization.

I’d be happy to discuss this further, at your convenience. Please don’t hesitate to reach me at (647) 968-2393 or

Yours sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
CAJ President
(647) 968-2393

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Canada loses more valuable storytellers: CAJ

**UPDATE: NOV. 19, 2015*** Further cuts at Bell have continued to stretch Canadian newsrooms. We continue to call for media owners to exercise good judgement and only cut news operations as a last resort.

OTTAWA / NOV. 7, 2015 / CNW – The Canadian Association of Journalists has written countless press releases in the wake of job cuts at newsrooms across Canada. We continue to watch as journalists and their audiences pay the price when publishers struggle to reconcile years-old industry challenges with their bottom line.

The latest cuts come at Bell Media, where the union representing journalists says 380 employees will be affected in Toronto and Montreal, including 290 from editorial and production operations. Stephane Giroux, a Montreal-based CTV legal affairs reporter, tweeted that the cuts affect all Bell-owned media properties. The company owns CTV, CP24, Business News Network, TSN, RDS, and 106 licensed radio stations.

“We feel for every journalist who loses a job, and every journalist forced to do more with less in a smaller newsroom,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “The longer media owners struggle, the leaner our newsrooms become. Journalists lose, and so do their readers, listeners, and viewers.”

The CAJ is repeating calls for media owners to only cut news operations as a last resort. “Every time a newsroom loses a journalist, its audiences lose a fair and balanced voice,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The hard-working journalists who remain save the day. But media owners shouldn’t rely on a strategy that pushes their newsrooms to a breaking point.”

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

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393,

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RCMP interference in VICE News reporting is inexcusable: CAJ

OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2015 /CNW/ – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police crossed a line earlier this year when its officers entered VICE News offices and demanded communications between a journalist and his source, says the Canadian Association of Journalists.

In February, after VICE reported on the actions and intent of a member of the so-called Islamic State militant group, the Mounties entered the news organization’s Montreal and Toronto offices. Officers ordered VICE to turn over all communications between reporter Ben Makuch and Farah Mohamed Shirdon, an IS militant who formerly lived in Calgary.

A court-ordered sealing order prevented VICE from reporting on the incident until Oct. 30. VICE is challenging both orders in court.

“Fighting terrorism by serving journalists with production orders and silencing them with gag orders for months on end violates Canada’s freedom of the press and is a waste of police resources,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “Makuch was doing his job in the public interest. Police must respect every journalist’s right to protect their sources as they go about their work.”

Canadian reporters have a history of defending their rights in the face of police intimidation. When the Mounties raided Ottawa Citizen journalist Juliet O’Neill’s home in 2004 after she had reported exhaustively on Maher Arar’s case, they threatened her with prosecution under the Security of Information Act. The courts struck down the information-sharing sections of that law and affirmed O’Neill’s right of free expression.

Every time police inappropriately interrupt a journalist’s work, whether by demanding information or threatening prosecution, they pose a direct affront to the freedom of the press. “Journalists aren’t an on-call branch of law enforcement,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The courts know that. It’s inexcusable for a police force to forget that.”

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this release inaccurately implied that the RCMP raided VICE News offices. We regret the error.

For further information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, 647.968.2393,

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CAJ demands legal reforms in wake of B.C. secrecy scandal

KAMLOOPS, BC, Oct. 22, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists demands British Columbia Premier Christy Clark take immediate action to reform the province’s records access law following the release of a report that indicates a breathtaking level of secrecy within her administration.

In that report, the province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham found that government staff:

* deleted emails responsive to access to information requests and prevented others from producing these records;

* either wilfully or negligently failed to produce records that are potentially responsive to an access request; and

* failed to keep any sent emails, irrespective of the topic.

“Like too many other governments across this country, the Clark administration has repeatedly shown a callus disregard for the public’s democratic right to know what their elected government is doing,” said Canadian Association of Journalists president Nick Taylor-Vaisey.

“Denham’s catalogue of government secrecy requires nothing less than significant reforms to the province’s freedom of information law – a decades-old demand that has been repeatedly ignored by the BC Liberals.”

Taylor-Vaisey said that reform must include a legal requirement for public officials to document their decisions and punishment for those who don’t or destroy those records, as well the closure of a legal loophole that allows government to keep all of its policy advice secret.

“We are supposed to live in a democracy,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “But these are the actions of government that apparently doesn’t realize that.”

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with over 600 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For further information: Dale Bass, CAJ chair, 250-572-4620,; Sean Holman, CAJ vice-president, 403-397-4751,; | |

Read the release on CNW.

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