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Journalist going to court to protect identity of her sources

CBC reporter Nancy Thomson, a member of the Canadian Media Guild, will be in court next Monday, March 21, to protect the identity of her sources for an investigative report that aired in 2004.

The report related to social problems in the community of Watson Lake, including substance abuse. Her report created wide-ranging discussion, including debate in the Territorial Legislature. The Yukon News ran an editorial praising Thomson’s journalism and was subsequently sued in relation to statements made in the editorial. To support its defense against the suit, the twice-weekly newspaper wants Thomson to reveal her sources for the original report.

“It is very unfortunate that a media outlet is trying to force another journalist to reveal her sources,” says Arnold Amber of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. “It’s very difficult to do investigative reports if people fear their identities will be exposed if they blow the whistle on what they believe are wrongdoings. We hope that these important interests will be taken into account in this case.”

The March 21 hearing is to determine whether Thomson must name the sources. She could face a finding of contempt if she refuses to comply with a judge’s order. The CBC has hired media lawyer Fred Kozak to represent Thomson in court. CMG staff representative Rick Warren will also be on hand at the hearing.

The Canadian Media Guild represents 6,000 workers across Canada, including journalists at CBC/Radio-Canada, The Canadian Press and Thomson Reuters.

For more information, contact the Guild (info@cmg.ca) by calling 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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