OTTAWA, July 5, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling on the RCMP to offer a better explanation for why it arrested a journalist working in New Brunswick on July 4.
According to reports from another journalist present, Media Co-op journalist Miles Howe was arrested in Elsipogtog, N.B. RCMP have said Howe was arrested for uttering death threats on June 21 in the Rogersville, N.B. area. Howe has been covering the contentious anti-fracking protests taking place in these communities as exploration for shale gas continues in the area.
APTN's Jorge Barrera, present at the time of Howe's arrest, indicated a camera and phone were seized. RCMP offered no comment on Barrera's questions at the site and later told Media Co-op Howe would not be released and 'there must have been a reason for his arrest.' Media Co-op reported Howe was released from custody late afternoon Thursday, facing charges but under no restrictions.
"It's inexcusable police would detain any journalist for doing their jobs," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "If Mr. Howe has broken any laws that would require his arrest, that information should be put before the public as quickly as possible as it comes before the courts. If as is suggested by some there was no valid reason for the arrest, the charges should be dropped."
Journalists work to bring important information to their audiences— when they're arrested the impact on their audiences is immediate and such action strikes at the very foundations of our constitutional right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 500 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 - 519-756-2020 ext. 2226, 519-535-8680 cell, [email protected]