CAJ statement on Rebel Media

OTTAWA, Aug. 23, 2017 — Rebel Media’s conduct at Charlottesville protests and accusations of impropriety leveled at the organization from former employees have both raised questions about Rebel’s legitimacy as a news outlet, and reignited a debate about what counts as journalism in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

As some commentators and reporters look to the Canadian Association of Journalists for guidance at a controversial time, the CAJ wants to clarify its past advocacy on Rebel Media’s behalf—and its criticism of that organization, too.

When the Alberta government attempted to block Rebel Media’s access to the provincial legislature, the CAJ opposed that decision on the grounds that governments shouldn’t get to decide who is—and isn’t—a journalist. When the UN climate conference rejected Rebel Media’s application for accreditation, we supported their appeal on similar grounds.

Earlier this year, however, the CAJ criticized Rebel Media’s decision to block a Canadaland reporter from a private event to which other reporters had been allowed access. The CAJ demanded Rebel Media offer equal treatment to all reporters.

The CAJ, which is a professional development and advocacy organization but not a regulatory body, encourages all journalists to follow the organization’s ethics guidelines, which are widely cited as best practices for Canadian journalists.

Those guidelines include the following points:

  • We do not allow our own biases to impede fair and accurate reporting.

  • We carefully consider our political activities and community involvements—including those online—and refrain from taking part in demonstrations, signing petitions, doing public relations work, fundraising or making financial contributions if there is a chance we will be covering the campaign, activity or group involved.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 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
[email protected]


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