CAJ to intervene in confidential source protection case

    OTTAWA, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists will
intervene in the case of a reporter held in contempt of court for refusing to
disclose a confidential source.
    The CAJ has been granted intervener status in Hamilton Spectator reporter
Ken Peters' contempt of court appeal. In 2004, Peters refused to obey a
judicial order to name a person present at a 1995 meeting in which Peters
received sensitive documents. Peters was fined $31,600 but avoided prison
after the source identified himself.
    "The Ken Peters case is emblematic of officials' ongoing attempts to turn
journalists into agents of the state when the media tries to bring important
information to the public," said CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch. "Journalists
have a duty to protect confidential sources who come forward - often at great
personal risk - to help ensure that whistleblowers continue to reveal what
they know for everyone's benefit."
    In an unrelated 2004 case, police lost a bid to force the National Post
to reveal a source and Madam Justice Mary Lou Benotto of the Ontario Superior
Court of Justice emphatically confirmed the importance of protecting
confidential sources.
    "If the journalist-informant relationship is undermined, society as a
whole is affected," Benotto wrote in her judgement. "To deprive the media of
an important tool in the gathering of news would affect society as a whole.
The relationship is one that should be fostered."
    The Ken Peters appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal for
Ontario on January 22, 2008.

    The CAJ is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists
from all media, with some 1,500 members across Canada. 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: For interviews, call: Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ
President, (204) 943-6575, Cell (204) 470-8862,; John Dickins, Executive Director, CAJ: (613)
526-8061, Cell (613) 868-5442,

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