The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) and our parent union CWA Canada support Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) in its challenge against Bill C-51, legislation that undermines fundamental freedoms, including key rights that journalists and other media workers need in order to do their work.
In a challenge filed this week with the Ontario Superior Court, CJFE and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) argue Bill C-51 violates the Canadian Charter and is harmful to democracy. The challenge further argues that several provisions of the new law should be struck down as unconstitutional.
CMG and CWA Canada support the work CJFE, a non-profit advocacy group, does to ensure information-gathering and distribution remain independent from political and state interference. This is vital in a democracy.
We also encourage journalists to work with and support the efforts of CJFE and other media advocacy groups. “Journalists have the same rights as other Canadians, and there is no conflict in belonging to a professional association advocating for free expression for all Canadians, and doing their regular journalistic work. We know the people best placed to understand and fight for rigorous press freedoms and standards are journalists,” said Carmel Smyth, National President for CMG. “This is a matter of both professional and public interest.”
CMG and CWA Canada categorically reject any attempt to muzzle journalists and other media workers as they legitimately pursue their work and defend the freedoms and conditions required to do their work properly. “We are concerned about ongoing efforts to silence journalists, academics, scientists and other professionals whose job it is to share information and expertise,” said Smyth.
CMG/CWA Canada are not party to the Court challenge, but as a union representing media workers across Canada, we share CJFE’s concerns about undue restrictions on the ability of journalists to gather and share information without fear of repercussions.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said it’s important to stand up against the ways in which Canadians’ democratic rights are being curbed with Bill C-51. “We are fully supportive of CJFE and CCLA for taking up this crucial cause.”