Statement from Journalism Faculty:
We have read with growing concern about the surveillance that has been conducted by two separate police forces on journalists in Quebec.
A free and vigorous press, and by this we mean all forms of media, is a central pillar of a healthy democracy. One element is the ability to work without interference from the state, either overt or covert. This means the ability to publish and disseminate information freely, and also the ability to gather that information.
Journalists are often the conduits for information that those in positions of power and influence would prefer remain hidden. This means that journalists must connect and speak with many people, often in confidence.
If it becomes the norm, even occasionally, that journalists come under the surveillance of the state, solely because the state wishes to know what information is being given to the journalists, or who they are speaking to, trust and confidence in their work will break down. Whistleblowers and others who have information that the public ought to know will not want to even approach journalists and we will all be poorer for it.
In light of this, we, members of the faculty in the School of Journalism at the University of King’s College, unreservedly condemn the surveillance by police or other state authorities of journalists lawfully doing their jobs.
We hope that the commission of inquiry announced by the Government of Quebec last week will be able to fully untangle this sorry episode, and ensure that it never happens again.
Sylvia D. Hamilton