CAJ urges respect for journalists covering shale-gas protests in N.B.

OTTAWA, Oct. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is asking all those on the ground at the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick to respect the journalists working in the area.

The area has been the site of recurring demonstrations between some members of the First Nation and other protesters who are against the exploration for and the potential development of shale gas in the area. Matters came to a point again when RCMP moved in to the area late last week—the result of which over the last several days has included the arrest of one journalist and the harassment of other journalists.

Halifax Media Co-Op journalist Miles Howe was again apprehended by RCMP Thursday and subsequently released without having any charges laid against him. The RCMP had done the same thing to Howe in July. On Saturday, journalists working for CTV News, Global News and Sun News had some of their equipment seized by protesters and were told to leave the area. It was returned to them by First Nation members the same day.

"It's disturbing that police would again arrest a journalist in the midst of working—an inexcusable act when that person is not breaking any laws," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "It's equally disturbing that some people in the area felt they needed to prevent journalists from doing their jobs - in this case sharing information with a broad audience about the very issues at play.

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. Those who prevent us from doing our work out of a belief they won't be fairly represented only work against themselves by preventing their perspectives from being shared with the widest possible audience.

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,

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