CAJ condemns police seizure of Vancouver photographer's camera

    OTTAWA, April 8 /CNW/ - Police had no right to seize a Vancouver Province
photojournalist's camera on the weekend, says the Canadian Association of
Journalists. Jason Payne had his camera confiscated April 5, after he
photographed a Vancouver Police officer who had shot a suspect. Payne was
threatened with arrest if he didn't relinquish his equipment. Payne said he
told police he worked for The Province but they persisted in threatening to
arrest him. According to Wayne Moriarty, editor-in-chief of The Province,
police officers ordered Payne to stop shooting and claimed his actions were
"obstructing justice."
    "When police interfere with a journalist's ability to do their job, it
prevents them from informing the public, violating a fundamental right
enshrined in the Canadian constitution," said Mary Agnes Welch, president of
the Canadian Association of Journalists. "Vancouver Police evidently need a
refresher course in this important legal document."
    "The police's later excuse, that they were unaware Jason was a member of
the media, is as pathetic as it is misleading," added Welch. "Any citizen may
photograph in a public place."

    The CAJ, Canada's largest professional organization for journalists from
all media, and many of its 1,300 members from across Canada, will attend its
National Conference in Vancouver, May 22-24. The CAJ's primary roles are to
provide high-quality professional development for its members and
public-interest advocacy.

For further information:

For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president, (204)
697-7590, (204) 470-8862; John Dickins, CAJ executive director, (613)
526-8061; En francais: Robert Frank, directeur, ACJ, (514) 248-1928, After
hours cell (613) 868-5442

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