CAJ backs anti-terror law legal challenge

OTTAWA, July 25, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists supports the Charter challenge launched by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association against Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.

"This legislation threatens the public's right to know," said CAJ vice-president Sean Holman. "It puts freedom of expression and information at risk, compromising journalists' ability to act as a check on power in Canada."

The bill, which became law last month, allows government to force the deletion of "terrorist propaganda" from the Internet with a court order.

But the overly broad definition of such propaganda means this material could include reporting on terrorism and national security issues or source material for that reporting.

Furthermore, many of the government's new anti-terrorism powers are subject to little accountability or transparency.

For example, with a judge's approval, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can "take measures" that violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to "reduce" a terror threat.

But that approval is given during a secret hearing, placing new restrictions on the openness of Canada's courts and crippling the media's role of being the public's eyes and ears.

"It is our hope that a Charter challenge will address these and other concerns, not just for reporters but for all Canadians," said Holman.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide highquality professional development for its members and publicinterest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: Sean Holman, CAJ vice-president, 403-397-4751 cell, sean@caj.ca; www.caj.ca, www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists, www.twitter.com/CAJ

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