OTTAWA, Feb. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is disappointed and frustrated the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wants five media outlets to hand over raw footage from anti-fracking protests that took place in Elsipogtog, N.B. last year.
During the incident near Rexton in October 2013, some of those present set fire to six police vehicles. In court documents filed to obtain the production orders, RCMP investigators said they believe the raw footage would help them identify the suspects as part of their ongoing investigation.
Brunswick News, Global Maritimes, the CBC, APTN and Rogers TV are named in the court documents. Some of the media outlets have already indicated they will co-operate with the order.
"Production orders strike at the heart of a free press and journalists' ability to bring information to light without being seen as police officers themselves," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "Journalists have a constitutionally protected role as independent observers and the RCMP's request is a direct threat to this role."
The order is particularly galling as the police already have footage taken by their own officers on the ground and in the air of the incident as it unravelled.
The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing approximately 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
SOURCE: Canadian Association of Journalists
For further information: Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 519-535-8680, [email protected], www.caj.ca, www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists, www.twitter.com/CdnAssocJourn