Canada takes VICE News journalist to court over sources

RSF PRESS RELEASE VIA NEWS784

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and nearly a dozen other press freedom and human rights organizations have intervened in a VICE News case seeking to keep confidential conversations between its reporter Ben Makuch and a source from being turned over to the police. The case is being heard before the Supreme Court of Canada today.

“If the appeal court’s ruling is allowed to stand,” says RSF North America Director, Margaux Ewen, “it will be easier for Canadian police to obtain notes and recordings from journalists. As one of the world’s strongest democracies, Canada must set a positive example of protecting journalists’ sources, not a negative one, by ensuring that journalists operate without government interference in their reporting. ”
The information Makuch was ordered to reveal relates to his interactions with an alleged ISIS fighter. Makuch argues that all of the information he has was already published, leading him to believe this court order was intended to use his reporting as evidence in a criminal investigation against the alleged fighter.

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Makuch stood his ground, saying, “I think any journalist would say this is a complete violation of our role in society.”

Canada ranks 18th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, but in the past few years confidentiality of sources has been repeatedly threatened.