Monthly Archives: March 2018

Human Rights Watch questions Israel’s use of live ammunition that causing 17 palestinian killed Israel army

Israeli Military Kills 15 Palestinians
Human Rights Watch questions Israel’s use of live ammunition that causing 17 palestinian killed by Israel army

Israeli Military Kills 17 Palestinians in Confrontations on Gaza Border

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NEW YORK, March 31, 2018 (WAFA) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) questioned on Friday Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian civilians following the Israeli army shooting and killing 15 Palestinians and injuring over 1400 in one day on the Gaza border with Israel.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said in a tweet that “the shocking number of Palestinians killed and hurt today by soldiers firing across the Gaza fence raises serious questions about Israel’s longstanding use of live ammunition to police demonstrations.”

Whitson also rejected Israel’s justification for the heavy and unrestrained use of fire arms against civilians taking part in a peaceful rally, saying “Israel’s allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet an imminent threat to life.”

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52 Brazilian women sports journalists launch their #MeToo campaign against seuxal harrasment #deixaelatrabalhar

brazilian sport journalsit

Association of North American ( Canada – USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers support Brazilian women journalist campaign against Sexual misconduct and harassment

wwww.anaj.org support #deixaelatrabalhar
March 31 -2018

 52 Brazilian  women sports journalists launch  their #MeToo moment

A man gave Bruna Dealtry an unwanted kiss as she was reporting on live television. She and other female sports journalists in Brazil made a video about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault on the job.

(CNN)It’s Tuesday night in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Januario stadium is packed with people. The host football club, Vasco, is making its debut in the prestigious Libertadores soccer tournament against visitor Universidad de Chile.

Fans in black and white jerseys pour into the stadium, cheering and pounding cans of beer. Reporter Bruna Dealtry positions herself in the middle of the action for her upcoming live shot. She’s on the air describing the atmosphere for Esporte Interativo’s viewers, when a shirtless man kisses her on the lips mid-sentence. Dealtry shrieks for a second and says on camera “That wasn’t cool. I didn’t really need that, but it happened.”
“I felt humiliated,” Dealtry told CNN. “If this can happen to me with the camera rolling, imagine what other women go through. I couldn’t just stay silent.”
That night, Dealtry wrote about the incident on her professional Facebook page, and posted an excerpt of the video.
“I’ve always been a reporter who loves to celebrate with the fans. I don’t get bothered by people soaking me in beer, jumping around me or stepping on my foot,” Dealtry wrote. “But today, I experienced first-hand the impotence so many women feel in the stadium, on the subway, even walking in the street. I was kissed on the lips, without my permission, while I was doing my job. I didn’t know how to react and couldn’t understand how someone could think they have the right to act that way.”
Dealtry’s post generated an immediate response — especially among other female journalist who cover sports.
“Somebody had to take that first step,” sports producer Paula Pereira Ab told CNN. “We knew we had something in common that went beyond being female journalists. We had all been victims of harassment, mansplaining and sexism in general, as minorities in the sports world.”
For Ab, the issue went beyond what the journalists face from the fans in the stadium. A veteran sports producer, Ab said she was fired from one of her previous employers after speaking out against a superior who she accused of harassment.
“It’s been years since this happened and I still shake when I think about it,” Ab told CNN. “I was at the height of my career and had just come back from an international assignment when I presented my claim against my harasser. I was fired almost instantly and told I wasn’t the right fit anymore.”

#LetHerDoHerJob

Eight women who connected over Dealtry’s Facebook post banded together and formed a messaging group on WhatsApp.
Two weeks later, the group had 52 members. They began discussing strategies to take action, and, inspired in part by the #MeToo movement, decided to use social media to spread their message.
They agreed to make a one-minute video about their experiences with harassment — many of which had been caught on camera — and the hashtag #deixaelatrabalhar (Portuguese for #LetHerDoHerJob).
They published the video on Sunday, March 25; since then, local media reported that it’s been viewed millions of times across different platforms, citing the social media data aggregator CrowdTangle.
Interspersed with clips of harassment and assault — including Dealtry’s unwanted kiss — the women speak to the camera about their experiences, demanding respect and saying they’ve had enough.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the response we got,” Mayra Siqueira, a freelance journalist and commentator, told CNN. “A lot of people retweeted our post, including some of the football clubs and male fans.”
Vasco, the team Dealtry was covering the night a fan kissed her, was among those who shared the video, along with Brazilian character artist Renato Peters and soccer legend Zico.

What’s next

Siqueira said the Whatsapp group has now grown to nearly 100 women, who work in sports journalism all over Brazil. The women have received messages of support from people all over the world and hope to broaden the campaign to include international journalists as well.
“We are part of a global movement,” Siqueira told CNN. “Our fight can be any woman’s fight. We’ve shown that when a group of us come together, our voices become louder and we cannot be ignored.”
Siqueira said the group has no definite plans for a follow-up to the video, but they are discussing their next steps.
Nearly a week after the women posted their video, Brazil’s Sports Ministry and the National Secretariat for Women’s Policies launched a campaign featuring female athletes speaking out against sexual harassment in sport and denouncing it as a crime. It also included a call for action for women to report the incidents to an emergency hotline.
“We’ve been experiencing sexism and harassment in our society for a long time and tolerating it because it was considered normal,” Dealtry said. “I think my experience caused an impact because it happened live, on camera and in the context of football. … I’m hoping this example will leave an impact and make men think twice before doing something like that again.”
www.anaj.org support #metoo campaign 

Terror of Azeri exiled journalist critic of Ilham Aliyev in France

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Association of North American ( CANADA _USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condemn terror of exiled Azeri journalist Rahim Namazov who was hospitalized and his wife who killed by gun man in France. our condolences to family , Friends.
We Call on French government to bring those who ordered and those who committed the crime before court of Law very soon.
www.anaj.org
March 30 -2018

Rahim Namazov

Gunman shoots exiled Azeri journalist in southern France
TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) – A gunman shot and gravely wounded an exiled Azeri journalist and killed his wife near the southern French city of Toulouse on Friday, in an incident the local mayor said appeared to be a settling of political scores.

Rahim Namazov was an outspoken critic of the Azeri political leadership and served time in prison before seeking exile in France in 2010.

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In a video posted on YouTube in December that year, Namazov said he was jailed after writing stories about brutality against soldiers in units of the Azeri military. He said he had spent six months in solitary confinement.

“It’s the journalistic profession, the father of a family and the freedom of the press that has been attacked today,” Karine Michelet-Traval, the mayor of Colomiers where the shooting occurred, said in a statement. In separate comments to La Depeche newspaper, she said: “You can’t help but think this was a settling of scores.”

Namazov’s wife was killed in the shooting. A police source said she had been shot in the head, apparently at close range. Witnesses spoke of hearing multiple gunshots, local media reported.

The local prosecutor is due to make a statement at 16h00 (1400 GMT).

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Human Rights Watch said last year the Azeri government continued its crackdown on dissenting voices and that reports of torture persisted. It also said independent media outlets faced harassment and closure and critical journalists faced threats and intimidation aimed at silencing them.

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist

gatinu police

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist
“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy,” said Vania Atudorei

Published on: March 28, 2018 |

A Montreal CEGEP teacher says she’s filed an ethics complaint against the Gatineau police department after it arrested a Radio-Canada journalist.

“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy. Tomorrow, it could be another journalist if we say nothing,” said Vania Atudorei, who teaches microbiology at Gérald-Godin CEGEP and describes the conduct of the Gatineau force as “third world.”

“I have friends at the United Nations who heard the news, it’s gone international, and they asked me: ‘Is it true that in Canada the police arrest journalists?’ ”

Atudorei says that the journalist in question, Antoine Trépanier, was her former student and she respects his integrity. She adds that her complaint is being studied by the province’s police ethics commission

Trépanier was arrested by Gatineau police on March 13 after Yvonne Dubé, who was at the centre of a journalistic investigation, filed a complaint against him for criminal harassment. Dubé is the director of the Big Brothers and Sisters organization in the Outaouais region.

Gatineau police chief Mario Harel has admitted that his personnel “did not adequately evaluate the situation” before placing Trépanier under arrest.

Quebec’s office of criminal prosecutions decided after the arrest that no criminal act had been committed.

Atudorei believes the officer who arrested the reporter didn’t make the necessary checks prior to acting, and hopes her complaint will result in a sanction being levied against them by the ethics board.

“When we make mistakes in our professional life, errors, there are consequences, no? … I’m not targeting an individual, I’m targeting a procedure and I’m targeting a dysfunction in our public services.”

Mozambican journalist critical of gov’t kidnapped, beaten unconscious Ericino de Salema

mozambic journalist

Mozambican journalist critical of gov’t kidnapped, beaten unconscious

Association of North American ( CANADA_USA) call on Police to arrest those responsible for vicious attack of Ericino de Salema
March 28-2018

assailants on Tuesday kidnapped and assaulted a prominent Mozambican journalist and human rights activist who has been critical of President Filipe Nyusi and his government.

Ericino de Salema was snatched in the center of the capital Maputo, beaten and left unconscious on the capital’s ring road, state news agency AIM reported.

Salema is now being treated in hospital, AIM said.

He was abducted by two men and we are currently investigating the incident in order to find who did this

He was abducted by two men and we are currently investigating the incident in order to find who did this,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters.

Salema, a veteran journalist and lawyer, criticised alleged corruption and largesse among Nyusi and his family in his regular appearances on independent television station STV.

Nyusi denies allegations his family have benefited unduly from state funds and has pledged to crackdown on corruption that has blighted Mozambique in the past.

Salema had received threatening phone calls the previous day, AIM reported.

In May 2016, another political commentator, Jose Jaime Macuane was also kidnapped and later found on the same Maputo ring road, having been shot in both legs.

No one has faced charges for this abduction and shooting and very few people in Maputo believe in the police’s capability to resolve such crimes.

Three Indian journalists run down deliberately and killed by vehicles

3 indian journalists

Three Indian journalists run down and killed by vehicles
Sandeep Sharma, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh claimed to be victims of deliberate attacks

#Association of North American( CANADA _USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condolences to family , friends and colleagues of Sandeep Sharma, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in India

March 28 -2018
Three Indian journalists have been struck by vehicles and killed in recent days in what their families and rights groups claim were deliberate attacks.

The deaths of the reporters Sandeep Sharma in Madhya Pradesh state, and Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in Bihar state, have underlined India’s status as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, particularly in languages other than English and outside large cities.

Sharma, 36, had recently conducted an undercover “sting” that claimed to have produced footage of a senior police official in his area agreeing to accept a 25,000-rupee (£272) bribe each month in exchange for allowing sand mining in a protected crocodile sanctuary.

“After that he was getting lots of threats from people,” said Rizwan Ahmad Siddiqui, editor-in-chief of News World, the local television news channel where Sharma worked.

“He was denied police protection and the police asked for the camera he had used to conduct the sting,” he said. “They took the original recording and never gave it back.”

CCTV footage has been released showing Sharma’s motorcycle disappearing under an accelerating truck on Monday morning on a road in Bhind district, about 310 miles from the state capital, Bhopal.

Police in the district formed a special investigative team and arrested the driver, Ranbir Yadav, on Monday. The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh, on Tuesday ordered India’s elite Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate Sharma’s death.

News World has been airing segments on Sharma’s death and tributes to the journalist since Monday morning and Siddiqui called for the CBI to also investigate his claims about the illegal sand mining.

Sand is a key ingredient in modern construction and as India rapidly urbanises, the pursuit of the material has been linked to increasing reports of corruption and violence.

The amount of sand used for construction in India has tripled since 2000 by some estimates and supplies around major cities have been depleted. Developers have been travelling to more remote regions to source the material, often bringing them into conflict with communities that complain the dredging process severely damages rivers and coasts.

Villagers pay tragic price as Indian building boom drives demand for sand
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Organised sand mafias, often alleged to have close ties to authorities, are believed to be involved in most of the illegal extraction, and Reporters Without Borders has noted that journalists “who cover India’s sand mafia are often the victims of violent reprisals”.

“The shocking manner in which Sandeep Sharma was murdered is a terrible warning to journalists who investigate the sand mining mafia phenomenon,” the group said in a statement.

The day before Sharma was killed, Nishchal and Singh were also run down by a vehicle allegedly driven by an ex-village chief, Mohammad Harsu.

Police said on Monday they had arrested Harsu and were investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The pair had finished reporting on a Hindu festival for their publications when they got into an argument with Harsu at a tobacco stand, said Rakesh Kumar Singh, bureau chief of the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, where Nishchal worked.

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“As they were leaving the tobacco stand they were rammed by a car driven by the ex-village head,” Singh said. “[Harsu] used to pressure local journalists to write in his favour and had lots of grudges against these two journalists.”

Singh said journalists in small Indian cities and villages were frequently threatened by local authorities. “These local dons are the big figures,” he said. “If you don’t greet them with a smile you get four slaps. They want you to fear them. They put a lot of pressure on us journalists.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report last year that 27 journalists had been killed “with complete impunity” in India since 1992. It listed another 25 murders it was investigating to ascertain a connection to the journalists’ work. At least another six journalists have been killed in the time since the report was published.

The CPJ ranks India 13th in its global impunity index, highlighting countries where the murders of journalists are least likely to be punished. The organisation claims not a single journalist’s murder in the country has been solved in the past 10 years.

In September the journalist and editor Gauri Lankesh was gunned down on her doorstep in Bengaluru. Earlier this month police arrested a man with close ties to Hindu nationalist groups.

Since you’re here …

Mexican police officers found guilty of murdering journalist

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Mexican police officers found guilty of murdering journalist in rare conviction
Two officers sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted in the killing of newspaper owner Moisés Sánchez in Veracruz

March 28-2018
Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers welcoming news on conviction of Newspaper owner Journalist in Mexico .

Two police officers have been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a Mexican journalist, marking a rare conviction in a country where crimes committed against media members almost always remain in the realm of impunity.

The police officers, identified as Luigui Heriberto N and José Francisco N, were convicted of killing newspaper owner Moisés Sánchez in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the most lethal jurisdiction for journalists in the hemisphere.

They were also ordered to pay $18,000 (£12,900) in compensation, according to a statement from the Veracruz prosecutor’s office.

Mexican town’s entire police force detained over journalist disappearance
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Press freedom advocates and members of Sánchez’s own family say the convictions fall short as the local mayor – who is accused of ordering the murder – remains a fugitive, and six other police officers – accused of forming a drug-dealing gang and acting on the mayor’s orders – have not been prosecuted.

During the initial murder investigation, state prosecutors detained 36 officers – the entire police force of the town of Medellín de Bravo – for questioning.

“Two convictions of former police officers for breach of their legal duties is progress, but it is not justice,” Sánchez’s son Jorge wrote in Plumas Libres, an online news organisation.

Sánchez was kidnapped 2 January 2015 outside his home in the municipality of Medellín de Bravo in Veracruz state. His lifeless body was found three weeks later.

As he was pulled from his home, Sánchez pleaded with the assailants, “Please don’t hurt my family,” CPJ reported.

Veracruz officials originally said that Sánchez was not a journalist – a common practice by the authorities in states with atrocious records of infringing on press freedoms.

Sánchez moonlighted as a taxi driver to sustain his weekly newspaper, La Unión, and had reportedly angered the mayor by highlighting the poor state of municipal services and revealing the existence of citizen vigilante groups forming as a response to rampant insecurity.

Mexico remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters and media workers.

Three journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far in 2015. Leobardo Vázquez was shot dead on 21 March in northern Veracruz as he worked at a taco stand next to his home. Like Sánchez, he worked in his taco business to subsidise a news venture.

Another Journalist shot dead Mexico journalist shot dead in Gulf state of Veracruz Leobardo Vázquez, 48, killed in town of Gutiérrez Zamora Vázquez ran news website in area known for drug cartel activity

Leobardo Vázquez

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada – USA ) condolences death of Leobardo Vázquez Mexican journalist . We call on Mexico police and Government to bring those responsible before court of law.
Another Journalist shot dead Mexico journalist shot dead in Gulf state of Veracruz Leobardo Vázquez, 48, killed in town of Gutiérrez Zamora Vázquez ran news website in area known for drug cartel activity

A Mexican journalist has been shot dead in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, becoming the latest victim in a relentless string of attacks on the country’s press.

Leobardo Vázquez ran an online news outlet called Enlace Informative Regional and previously reported for other media in the region.

He was shot dead on Monday night at the taco stand he operated next to his home in the vanilla-producing municipality of Gutiérrez Zamora, according to a statement by Veracruz state officials.

‘We work under siege’: the journalists who risk death for doing their jobs
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Officials have offered no motive for the slaying, though Mexican media reported he has received threats over his reporting on an illegal land “invasion” by squatters.

Vázquez moonlighted at his fast-food stand to make ends meet, while also covering crime and the police in northern Veracruz, an area rife with underworld activity.

Press freedom groups consider the region a “zone of silence”, where the reporters practise self-censorship to stay safe and keep the details of crime and corruption cases vague.

Vázquez was the third Mexican reporter to be killed in 2018. Last year 12 media members were murdered in the country.

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Mexico’s war on drugs

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2017 was Mexico’s deadliest year on record, and the murder rate has kept climbing in 2018: in the first two months of the year, Mexico recorded 4,937 homicides, an 18% increase the same period of 2017.

Violence against the media has been especially acute in the state of Veracruz. During the 2010-2016 administration of the governor Javier Duarte – currently in jail on corruption charges – at least 20 media workers were murdered and many more were forced to flee the state.

“The death of Leobardo Vázquez is a clear sign that the conditions for journalists in the state have not improved since Duarte left,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Reporters are still badly exposed to violence. Nearly all of the murders of journalists in Veracruz remain unpunished and the impunity incentivises more violence.”

Mexico has implemented some measures to prevent the bloodshed, including a mechanism for protecting journalists under threat and a special prosecutor’s office for investigating the crimes committed against them. But reporters and press freedom groups have complained that the official response has been half-hearted and ineffective.

Mario Vargas Llosa: murder of Mexican journalists is due to press freedom
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Earlier this week, the noble laureate Mario Vargas Llosa provoked outrage by asserting that the targeting of journalists was a reflection of improved press freedoms.

“The fact that more than 100 journalists were murdered is, in grand part, to be blamed on the freedom today, which allows journalists to say things that were not permitted previously. Narcotics trafficking plays an absolutely central part in all of this,” he said in a radio interview.

Many journalists rebuked Vargas Llosa, saying he had failed to consider Mexico’s rampant impunity – and the close connection between organised crime and the country’s politicians.

Article 19, a freedom of expression advocacy organisation, issued a report earlier in March noting that only 8% of the nearly 2,000 aggressions – threats, harassment or attacks – against journalists in Mexico last year could be attributed to organised crime.

Public officials, meanwhile, committed 48% of the aggressions against journalists.

Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest

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Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest
JESSICA LEEDER
PUBLISHED 2 DAYS AGO
UPDATED 1 DAY AGO
When Justin Brake made the move that would ultimately result in criminal charges against him, the journalist did not see himself as breaking the law.

He thought it would protect him.

A journalist with Newfoundland online news outlet The Independent, Mr. Brake was in the midst of an intensive stint of reporting on the tensions inflamed by Muskrat Falls, the controversial Labrador-based hydroelectric project, on the day he filmed protesters cutting through a locked gate. When they flooded onto the project site in spite of an injunction blocking trespassers, Mr. Brake followed and continued to film.

While other media remained at the gate, Mr. Brake embedded himself with a largely Indigenous group of protesters (which he refers to as “land protectors”) while they occupied workers’ accommodations. He live streamed their protest for several days.

As a result of his work, Mr. Brake now finds himself at the lonely centre of a rare legal scenario thought to be unprecedented in Canada. More than a year after covering the protest, Mr. Brake is fighting both civil and criminal charges for violating the injunction that protesters ignored. He is thought to be the only journalist ever to have been charged both civilly and criminally for reporting on a matter of public interest in this country.

“To lay criminal charges against journalists is a very rare thing to do,” said Paul Schabas, a Toronto-based lawyer with expertise in media and constitutional law. “Here it strikes me as particularly extraordinary given that they are also proceeding with a civil remedy,” said Mr. Schabas, who is not involved with Mr. Brake’s case. “What’s the need to also pile on a criminal charge?”

Newfoundland provincial court judge Wynne Anne Trahey said earlier this month that the criminal charge is “intended to address matters of public interest” while the civil proceedings “resolve issues between competing parties.” Her comments were part of a ruling that rejected Mr. Brake’s legal request to have the criminal charges stayed.

Open this photo in gallery
Journalist Justin Brake in the APTN bureau in Halifax.

DARREN CALABRESE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The journalist, who now works in Halifax for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, is awaiting another judge’s decision, which could come any day, on a separate appeal to have the civil charges tossed out. But the likelihood that Mr. Brake will be forced to defend his 2016 decision to favour journalism over an injunction seems increasingly firm.

While much is at stake for Mr. Brake personally – the young father faces jail time plus increasing legal bills – media advocates and legal experts argue that his case, which happens to be unfolding in courtrooms on the geographical margins of the country, ought to be setting off alarm bells nationwide.

“A case where a journalist is effectively charged with a criminal offence for what appears to be doing their job is something that should concern everybody,” said Mr. Shabas.

Duncan Pike, co-director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, said Mr. Brake’s case is “incredibly dangerous for press freedom in Canada.”

“Canadians are very complacent with the state of our freedoms and think that these things don’t happen in Canada – that reporters don’t get arrested for their coverage,” Mr. Pike said, adding: “He was there as a journalist, doing his job.”

With his focus on indigenous rights, Mr. Brake had spent weeks in isolated Happy Valley – Goose Bay interviewing locals, uncovering fault lines and getting a pulse on the remote community’s opposition to the Muskrat Falls dam, which included worries about methylmercury contamination.

On the day that protesters cut the lock on a gate to the work site, Mr. Brake, armed with two iPhones, felt he could not stay behind.

“You have to follow that story,” Mr. Brake said, recalling his decision in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail. “This was me recognizing a major story and making a decision to cover it. I didn’t think anybody would try to apply that injunction to me, recognizing that I was there as a reporter … I took comfort in knowing that we have press freedom enshrined in our constitution and this was a story.”

Born in Newfoundland and raised in Ottawa, Mr. Brake said his aim is to “practice journalism as responsibly as I can.” A key element of doing that involves covering Indigenous issues and ensuring marginalized voices are heard (during a two-year stretch, he said he worked without pay as an editor for The Independent as part of an effort to keep the publication afloat).

Mr. Brake, who does not identify as Indigenous but recently learned he has some Mi’kmaq ancestry, is an advocate for media reform. He has not been shy on social media about criticizing mainstream media when he deems coverage to lack balance.

“I’ve done journalism that is unconventional,” Mr. Brake said. “But I don’t think I’ve been necessarily an activist.”

In defending himself on charges, though, Mr. Brake finds himself advocating for a broader cause.

“I fear that journalists watching my case unfold might be influenced, might be deterred from following such stories,” he said. “Regardless of whether or not I’m convicted in the end, the chill effect is huge.”

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’ The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court

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Association of North of American Ethnic Journalists and Writes support journalist Marie-Maude Denis for protecting her source on Quebec corruption case.

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’
The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court

One of Quebec’s most prominent investigative journalists plans to appeal a Superior Court decision compelling her to reveal her sources.

Marie-Maude Denis has worked with Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête, for years.

Denis reported on corruption within the construction industry, which sparked the Charbonneau Commission and led to the resignations of Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, as well as Montreal mayors Gérald Tremblay and Michael Applebaum.

In 2012, Denis reported a story involving deputy premier and Liberal MNA Nathalie Normandeau, alleging ties to the construction industry.

Normandeau was later arrested by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, UPAC, alongside Former Liberal cabinet minister Marc-Yvan Côté in 2016. They now face several corruption-related charges.
However, lawyers for the defence are alleging that media reports — such as those by Denis and Enquête — mean that it’s impossible for their clients to get a fair trial.

In addition, defence lawyer Jacques Larochelle is arguing that the leaks to the media that sparked the reports came from within the UPAC, in an attempt to purposefully incriminate Normandeau and Côté.

Now, Denis has been asked to testify and divulge her sources — something she claims would violate her journalistic integrity.

Denis spoke to CBC Montreal’s Daybreak the day after a Quebec Superior Court judge ordered her to testify.

She shared her reaction to the order, her concerns regarding the repercussions of such a request and how far she’ll go to defend her sources.

Here are excerpts from that interview, which have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Were you upset when this ruling came down on Thursday?
MMD: You know, it’s something that we always have to fight as journalists.

We don’t have that many tools as journalists, especially as investigative journalists, to convince sources to trust us. We don’t pay sources. Many of them don’t have an advantage to speak to us, and they take very, very big risks.

So, the minimum I think as a journalist that I should be able to promise to a source is that I won’t be forced to reveal their identity.

This story had to do with collusion and funding for the Liberal government. Can you explain?
MMD: The story was about a water treatment plant in Boisbriand, and some apparently illegal financing for the Liberal party around this project. And so we aired this story in 2012 and now, six years later, there’s a debate about who gave me those confidential sources.

Marc-Yvan Côté and Nathalie Normandeau’s argument is that there’s a conspiracy high in the police or the justice system to leak some confidential information to journalists in order to have a parallel trial in the public opinion about them.

Marie-Maude Denis
Denis said protecting the identity of journalistic sources is ‘a principle that we have to defend’ as reporters in Canada. (CBC)

Radio-Canada wasted no time in saying that it will be appealing this ruling.
MMD: It was a great relief to see that our bosses — they didn’t even think for a second. It was just so obvious to them.

Because this principle of protecting journalistic sources is very important, and it goes far beyond what we do at Radio-Canada. It’s a principle that we have to defend as Canadian journalists in this country. And we’re the first ones to be called to fight it.

Of course, we know that this is going to go far, and is going to be tested probably up to the Supreme Court of Canada. But it’s such an important principle that we really think that we have to fight for.

I’m very grateful that I work for a company like Radio-Canada, a public broadcaster who defends these values and principles. I can think of journalists and smaller outlets that wouldn’t have the means to take on such a big legal battle.

How far are you willing to go? Would you go to jail over something like this?
MMD: I don’t think it’s proper to say something right now. We’ll just take every step and just cross that bridge whenever we get to the river.

But you know, I’m a journalist in my heart. When I say that I will protect the source, I will protect my sources. That’s what I can tell you.

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