The text in this statement was updated on Aug. 12, 2020.

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2019 /CNW/ – The CAJ strongly condemns the actions of the officials who became physically aggressive with APTN reporters in recent weeks. 

In one case, occurring on July 11, the communications director for Peguis First Nation, Dwayne Bird, grabbed APTN producer Beverly Andrews’ microphone at a press conference.

In another case, on July 25, a political adviser to the national chief at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) put his hand on reporter Amber Bernard’s arm as she tried to ask a question at a public event. 

An earlier version of this release quoted APTN’s original report which stated this was the second time this adviser, Dakota Kochie, exhibited inappropriate behaviour toward Bernard. APTN has since corrected the report. In fact, in 2017, it was a different AFN staffer who put their hands on Bernard’s arm and microphone when she tried to ask the national chief a question at the AFN elections, not Mr. Kochie, as APTN originally reported. 

The incidents were captured on video and show the APTN reporters were behaving professionally and merely asking questions to elected leaders at public events. 

« In light of the findings and recommendations of the MMIWG Inquiry, this aggressive behavior towards the reporters, both of whom are Indigenous and female is even more shameful, » says Brent Jolly, the CAJ’s vice president.

« While no individual should physically impede the work of a journalist, it is especially disconcerting when the offender is a political or communications aide who should clearly know better ».

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 700 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For further information:

Brent Jolly, CAJ vice president


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