The Canadian Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that Vice Media reporter Ben Makuch should hand over his communications with a source. In a 9-0 decision, the court dismissed an appeal from Vice Media Canada Inc. and Makuch that challenged a Royal Canadian Mounted Police order requiring Makuch to turn over his communications with Farah Shirdon, a Canadian citizen who is accused of terrorism, according to Vice and other news reports.
“The Supreme Court ruling that Vice Media reporter Ben Makuch should hand over his communications with a source sets an extremely worrying precedent and is a blow to press freedom in Canada,” said Alexandra Ellerbeck, CPJ’s North America program coordinator. “The order undermines journalistic independence and could inhibit sources from talking to reporters, which would in turn chill the flow of news to the public.”
CPJ joined 11 other press freedom and media organizations to intervene in the case when it was heard before the Supreme Court in May.