Unifor National President Jerry Dias is calling for strict measures to make it harder for police to put journalists under surveillance.
“It is too easy to spy on journalists and impede freedom of the press in Canada,” Dias said. “Journalists rely on their sources to reveal stories. When police tap the phones of journalists, it puts a chill on people being willing to talk to them.”
The federal and Quebec governments have been under pressure to take action since learning that Montreal police monitored the iPhone of La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé; several other cases have recently come to light.
While the surveillance was set up under provisions of the Harper Government’s Bill C-51, the journalists involved were writing stories about the police themselves, and corruption in the Québec construction industry.
Unifor is calling on federal and provincial attorney’s general to immediately direct police forces and Crown Attorneys that warrants relating to the surveillance of journalists must always require the approval of the Attorney General before going to court and that a panel of federal judges must review each application.