Court Case Challenges RCMP’s Treatment Of Journalists At Fairy Creek

"The Supreme Court of B.C. is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to intervene to resolve a conflict between several journalism organizations, including The Narwhal, and the RCMP.

The conflict arose after the police force began limiting access for journalists reporting on the enforcement of an injunction prohibiting the blocking of logging roads in the Fairy Creek watershed, where hundreds of people have been arrested in recent weeks. The area, which sits on the territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation and Ditidaht First Nation, is considered to be the last intact valleys of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island and protesters say they are defending it.

The Narwhal and other media organizations, including the Canadian Association of Journalists, The Discourse, IndigiNews, Ricochet, Capital Daily, Canada’s National Observer, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), are asking the court to modify the injunction order so that it directs the RCMP to allow media access if there is no operational reason to restrict journalists.

The media coalition alleges the RCMP has “intentionally excluded” journalists from the area as it conducts arrests in secret. The RCMP says it has been addressing media needs while also trying to ensure public safety. This has resulted in a system where the RCMP has asked  journalists to “check in” at a designated place and time. The system also requires journalists to be escorted by an RCMP representative at all times."

Mike De Souza reports for The Narwhal July 19, 2021.

Source: The Narwhal, 07/20/2021