TORONTO, ON, Mar. 28, 2023 – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) strongly condemns the actions of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in forcing a Toronto filmmaker to turn over his interviews and source material related to a 2019 documentary.
Last November, the OPP served Jamie Kastner with a production order, forcing him to provide police with all the raw footage of 17 interviews he conducted in preparing his TVO documentary “There Are No Fakes.” The film exposed fraud in the world of art, showing how criminals were forging the works of Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau and profiting from their sale.
Kastner’s work sparked a police investigation by Thunder Bay police and the OPP, and a number of people are now facing criminal charges in relation to the alleged forgeries. The police and Crown now hope to use Kastner’s material as part of their investigation.
“Journalists and documentary filmmakers are not agents of the police and should never be forced to turn over interviews or source material,” said Brent Jolly, president of the CAJ.
“If people believe being interviewed by a journalist is equivalent to giving a police statement, confidence in journalism will be dramatically eroded,” he said.
The CAJ believes it is crucial for journalists to retain their independence, and distance themselves from police forces and other agencies of government. Being forced to turn over confidential material is antithetical to this principle.
The interview footage remains sealed for now, and the CAJ unreservedly supports Kastner in his legal fight to keep it that way and recover his surrendered material.
The Crown is scheduled to bring forward an application for a court order to release the raw footage in June. The CAJ will continue to monitor developments closely.
The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with over 1,300 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 President, 289-387-3179, email@example.com