Class Notes (809,022)
Canada (493,491)
Journalism (23)
JN204 (23)


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Wilfrid Laurier University
Bruce Gillespie

Journalism October 2, 2012 Week 4, Tuesday Journalists and their sources identifying sources and the law Courts, public inquiries and legislatures have the power to hold journalists in contempt of court for reefusing to provide evidence including the names of their sources. Generally, such bodies are hesitant to use such powers. • In libel suits, plaintiffs have the right to demand that journalists identify their sources so they can be called to testify • Ontario's “Newspaper rules”: journalists can withhold sources' names during pre-trial phase of a defamation case. The McIntosh Case: • R v. National Post • In 2001, National Post reporterAndrew McIntosh received a business development bank of canada loan authorization • It suggested Prime Minister Chretien stood to benefit from a $615,000 loan to the Grand-Mere Inn in Shawinigan. • Bank officials said it was a forgery and called the RCMP • An ontario judge granted the RCMP a search warrant to seize the document and envelope for DNAevidence to determine who sent it. • The documents arrived anonymously but McIntosh learned they had come from a confidential source he had already promised to protect. • The post fought the warrant and in 2004 Justice Benotto quashed it • The was the first time in Canada a judge recognized that journalists havs a legal rights, entrenched in the charter guarantee of freedom of the press, to protect the identities of their sources in certain circumstances. • Justice Benotto: Not to protect sources and privilege employee confidentiality would be a 'licence for corporations, governments, and other employers to operate without accountability'. • Justice Benotto rejected blanket protections for journalists sources, arguing that journalists shouls have to prove that their relationships must be protected. • She accepted McIntosh's arguments for protection as it passed the Wigmore Test Wigmore: invented be american judge- to determine if correlation between two individuals should be privileged. • McIntosh has promised to protects the identity of his source (Did someone offer to keep the info confidential?) • That promise was crucial to their relationship and the source's willingness to provide information. • It was in the public interest to foster this kind of confidential relationship. • Protecting the confidential relationship was more important than the potential benefits of forcing the journalist to identify his source. • Benotto said because the original jugde (who administered the warrant) did not apply the wigmore test, the seizure was ruled invalid and both the document and the sources identity were deemed protected. Ontario Court of Appeal: Reversed Benotto's decision in 2008, Ordering McIntosh to give h
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