TORONTO, June 28 /CNW/ - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
is gravely concerned over numerous reports of free expression violations
and the detention of journalists during the G20 Summit weekend and calls
for a full review of the events and police response.
Free speech zones and massive security fences were set up in preparation
for the June 26-27 Toronto summit. While the security fences held up,
free speech appears to have fared poorly. Video footage, photographs
and published reports paint a picture of legitimate public protest being
suppressed, protesters being penned in and the use of excessive force
against peaceful demonstrators in designated free speech zones.
CJFE is also disturbed by the treatment of news media workers covering
the protests. According to several reports many were detained, charged
and in a few cases attacked by police. Among them:
Two National Post photographers Brett Gundlock and Colin
O'Connor were arrested and charged;
CTV News Channel producer Farzad Fatholahzadeh was detained;
Freelance journalist Jesse Rosenfeld was beaten and arrested by police;
Liem Vu, an intern with the National Post, and Lisan Jutras, a Globe
and Mail journalist, were among those detained for four hours at
Queen and Spadina;
Real News journalist Jesse Freeston was punched in the face by a
Torontoist journalist Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy was struck by a
police officer with a baton;
Video journalist Brandon Jourdan was thrown to the ground and beaten
CJFE will be monitoring these cases and will update its list if more
come to light. To our knowledge, all journalists have now been released.
"Based on the facts available to us at this time, we're very disturbed
by what appears to be overly aggressive tactics directed both at
protestors and the media," said CJFE President, Arnold Amber. "When a
major disturbance occurs in Canada's largest city, the role of the
journalist is to inform the public. All accredited journalists had been
vetted by security officials. There is no reason for them to have been
detained or attacked while doing their work."
In addition, there are reports that journalists on several occasions
were stopped from covering the protests. Many journalists, who had
procured the requisite press passes, making them easily identifiable to
security forces, were forced to leave protest areas. Amber added, "We
recognize the police have a tough job to do, but they must be held to a
CJFE calls upon the police to respond to questions from reporters about
their treatment of journalists. Serious questions of public policy and
civil liberties are raised by the number and diversity of reports of
detainment and attacks against journalists. Merely urging individuals to
file complaints about their treatment is an inadequate response from
politically accountable security forces.
We support the numerous calls for an inquiry into police tactics and
security arrangements for the summit, conducted openly with its
conclusions made public. Any such inquiry must include a thorough
examination of police treatment of journalists covering the events.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) boldly champions the
free expression rights of journalists and media workers around the
world. In Canada, we monitor, defend and promote free expression and
access to information. We encourage and support individuals and groups
to be vigilant in the protection of their own and others' free
expression rights. We are active participants and builders of the global
free expression community.
SOURCE Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
For further information: For further information:
CJFE Executive Director Annie Game at (416) 515-9622 x. 227