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Jan 29 2024
My name is Brent Jolly and I’m the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Let me begin by saying how disappointed I am that this press conference is even needed today. It’s an incredibly sad reflection on the current state of press freedom in Canada. But, alas, here we are.
On January 10, journalist Brandi Morin was arrested by the Edmonton police while reporting on a raid at a primarily Indigenous encampment for the unhoused.
Let me be blunt: Based on all evidence, Brandi was targeted and singled out for doing her job as a journalist. Today, she appears with us, charged with obstruction – a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Brandi’s arrest makes an absolute mockery of the rights to freedom of the press and the ability to report on the activities of taxpayer-funded law enforcement agencies.
That’s why my colleagues and I are here today to call for the charges against Brandi to be dropped immediately.
This entire situation is an abomination, particularly as it relates towards the important pursuits of reconciliation and justice. It must be corrected now.
The brazen actions of the Edmonton Police Service are the latest example of a self-imposed ‘black eye’ in an ever-growing number of examples where law enforcement agencies in Canada have ignored, whether through ignorance or indifference, the invaluable role journalists play in a free and democratic society.
This pattern of behaviour must be stopped in its tracks.
That’s why on behalf of the CAJ I’m calling on all law enforcement agencies in Canada, regardless of their jurisdiction, to immediately take the steps necessary to ensure that press freedom, and the safety of journalists, are protected.
That process begins, today, by dropping these absurd charges against Brandi Morin.
The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
For further information: Brent Jolly, president, Canadian Association of Journalists, firstname.lastname@example.org