Canada - Support for Quebec journalist ordered to reveal sources



    MONTREAL, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders voiced its
anger at pressure to reveal her sources brought to bear on Karine Gagnon, of
the Journal de Québec, who reported on a potential danger to public health, as
she was about to appear before an administrative tribunal today.
    "Are lawyers at the property company Société immobilière du Québec (SIQ),
who are trying to get Karine Gagnon to produce her notes and the name of her
informants, just pretending to be unaware of one of the fundamental rules of
the profession of journalist?", the worldwide press freedom organisation
asked.
    The law obliges a journalist to produce confidential notes only when they
are seen as absolutely crucial to the police in a criminal investigation. This
case is nothing like that. Karine Gagnon does not have to give her up her
archives, or her contacts", Reporters Without Borders said.
    Gagnon wrote an article on 24 November 2006 about the presence of
asbestos in some government buildings. Among those cited in the article was
Denis Petitclerc, of the SIQ, who was immediately sacked by his employers for
speaking to her. This dismissal is now being fought at the Labour Relations
Board and Karine Gagnon is also facing legal action over the case.
    Lawyers for the SIQ are demanding that the journalist produce all her
notes and recordings which she used for her reports. They also want to know
the identity of every person to whom the journalist spoke on the condition of
anonymity.
    It is not the first case of its kind affecting a Canadian journalist. An
amendment to the criminal code passed on 15 September 2004 forces the press to
hand over archives and notes to police if they consider them essential to a
criminal investigation.
    This amendment was used for the first time in February 2006, when Bill
Dunphy, of the Ontario daily Hamilton Spectator, was summoned by the courts to
hand over notes of an interview with a person accused of drug-trafficking. The
journalist appealed. In 2004, his colleague on the same paper, Ken Peters, was
fined 30,000 dollars for refusing to name a source.

    Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Directrice générale, Reporters
Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771,
rsfcanada@rsf.org

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