March 28, 2022
The Canadian Association of Journalists breached its own ethics code when reporting on a pipeline protest, but said it would not correct misleading statements about police conduct, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
Last November 20, the self-described “national voice of Canadian journalists” issued a statement accusing police of unlawfully detaining two freelance journalists at a Coastal GasLink construction site in northwestern British Columbia.
“The words published reflect the consensus of the board,” said Brent Jolly, president of the Association.
“All statements issued by the Canadian Association of Journalists come on behalf of the Association and aren’t reflective of one person’s opinion.”
“As the president, I am the spokesperson for the association.”
The two freelance reporters, who were working for CBC-TV and The Narwhal, videotaped and photographed their own arrests at the protest.
Jolly and the Association said in a statement that the arrests were “illegal,” “an absolute disgrace” and an “audacious subversion of Canadian law.”
But key allegations in the statement were disputed in a subsequent Department of Public Safety memo. Staff wrote that the RCMP was lawfully enforcing a court order and the journalists’ photography and video “did not show” crucial facts.
Staff wrote that RCMP offers read the injunction at each structure and made several calls for occupants to exit over the course of an hour. “The only response from inside the structures were derogatory in nature and refusals. It was not until RCMP officers entered the structures and arrested the individuals that they identified themselves as journalists.”