CAJ to police at G20: respect media freedom

Ottawa – June 28, 2010 – The Canadian Association of Journalists is alarmed by reports of police intimidating, arresting and physically assaulting working journalists covering the G20 protests in Toronto.
“This kind of behaviour by police toward the media is not acceptable in a democracy like Canada,” said Mary Agnes Welch, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. “Police must understand that, like them, journalists have a job to do in the public interest. Lumping us in with protesters or blocking us from covering events is not consistent with the democratic principles that police are sworn to uphold.”
The CAJ has received word from professional journalists who say they have been threatened with arrest if they did not leave an area where they were covering peaceful protest, witnessed officers striking journalists and seen colleagues arrested.
“We call on authorities to allow journalists to cover events without fear of intimidation, interference, harassment, abuse or arrest,” Welch said. “We trust that any incidents that have occurred will be fully investigated and addressed, and will not emerge as part of a pattern of police behaviour.”
The Canadian Association of Journalists is Canada’s largest professional organization for journalists from all media, with over 900 members across the country. The CAJ’s main roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ President, cell 204-470-8862;
Saleem Khan, CAJ Chairman, 416-494-0908 or ;
John Dickins, CAJ Executive Director, 613-868-5442

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