Taking the RCMP to court

Taking the RCMP to court r1 ... Subscribe to this newsletter The Narwhal's masthead logo BECOME A MEMBER, GET A MAGAZINE
Some days you have to say enough is enough.

As arrests of old-growth logging protesters in the Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds near Port Renfrew, B.C., have escalated in the last week, it’s become increasingly clear that police are infringing upon journalists’ rights to cover these events.

Report after report has come out from journalists who have been cordoned into highly restrictive zones, or who have not been allowed access at all.

Our own freelance photojournalist Jesse Winter received an email from RCMP Corporal Chris Manseau saying Winter would require a police escort to the media zone daily and that “the media relations officer on site will advise what time the group must exit the enforcement area.”

These infringements upon journalistic rights necessitate strong action from all those who believe in the freedom of the press, and represents just the latest in a string of incidents related to how the RCMP enforces exclusion zones.

So yesterday we announced that The Narwhal has joined a coalition of Canadian news organizations and press freedom groups filing legal action against the RCMP’s efforts to restrict journalists’ access to the protests and ongoing arrests.

This is not a step we take lightly. But when our ability to do our job is under threat, the only course of action is to fight back.

We’re able to take strong stands like this one because of our monthly members. Become a member today and we’ll send you a copy of our limited-edition 2021 print magazine (there are just 300 left)!
BECOME A MEMBER, GET A MAGAZINE The coalition is being led by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), which sent a formal letter on May 25 to the RCMP, requesting the media be allowed fair access to protests and expressing deep concern about serious violations of press freedoms. The CAJ has since sent a notice of legal action.

“Press freedom is especially important at a time when police powers themselves are the subject of public-interest reporting. How the RCMP respond to civil disobedience is a concern fundamental to democracy and police themselves should not be allowed to determine the parameters of press coverage,” says Carol Linnitt, managing editor of The Narwhal.

We, and all supporters of the free press in Canada, will be watching this situation closely.

Take care and enforce your injunctions wisely,

Josie Kao
Assistant Editor

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P.S. Do you wonder how journalists can better cover fractious environmental issues without deepening the divides in our society? Then register for our live Zoom event with investigative journalist Amanda Ripley on June 2 at 3 p.m. PT /6 p.m. ET. to learn all about how journalists can complicate the narrative!

The Narwhal's first photojournalism fellowship Things aren’t looking entirely bleak in Canadian media though — in fact, just the opposite. This week, we’re thrilled to introduce The Narwhal’s first photojournalism fellows!

In February, we announced the creation of three paid fellowships for photographers who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour in partnership with Room Up Front, a mentorship program for racialized photographers. It was one way for us to fulfill our pledge to address the historical whiteness of Canadian journalism.

We were over the moon to announce these fellowships — and we weren’t alone! Thanks to the generosity of our readers and Reader’s Digest Foundation, we were able to raise enough money to allow our three fellows — Alia Youssef, Ramona Leitao and Robby Dick — to bring you under-told stories about Canada’s natural world.

This week, we are so excited to introduce you to these three talented photojournalists, each of whom will produce an original photo essay for The Narwhal over the coming year.

This week in The Narwhal

‘We’re going to have Fairy Creeks happen all the time’: Q&A with Garry Merkel from B.C.’s old-growth review panel

By Sarah Cox
As tensions escalate and arrest tallies grow at logging blockades on Vancouver Island, The Narwhal spoke with one of the foresters tapped to help the province navigate its old-growth woes. Read more.

B.C. failing to meet international targets for protecting biodiversity, critical habitat: report

By Sarah Cox
A decade after Aichi biodiversity targets were set by Canada and other nations, a new report looks at how B.C. measures up, finding the province has failed to protect nature in the midst of a growing global ecological crisis. Read more.

Northeast B.C. at increased risk of powerful earthquakes from thousands of fracked gas wells, new research warns

By Ben Parfitt
In a newly published study, a former hydrologist with the provincial oil and gas regulator argues the cumulative impacts of fracking in the Montney region is creating a level of seismic instability that puts local communities at risk. Read more.

The Narwhal in the world
The Narwhal has been selected to take part in Facebook’s News Innovation Test, along with 13 other Canadian media outlets. This means Facebook will pay us for the ability to link to our articles from special destinations, such as their Climate Science Information Centre.

This will enable The Narwhal to produce more award-winning, investigative journalism about Canada's natural world — and to connect with more Canadians who are looking for trusted news on environmental issues. As with all support received by The Narwhal, this partnership is subject to our editorial independence policy.

What we're reading When you’re willing to go to court to defend press freedoms. Tell your spiffiest friends to sign up for our newsletter. r33

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