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Judge rules in favour of journalists’ access to Fairy Creek blockade

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The Canadian Association of Journalists, together with a coalition of information organizations and press freedom teams, has gained a courtroom case that can require the RCMP to grant media full access to the Fairy Creek blockades.

The decide dominated that such access should be granted until there’s a real operational or security purpose to prohibit it. 

“I am not satisfied that geographically extensive exclusion zones and associated access checkpoints have been justified as reasonably necessary in order to give the police the space they need,” Justice Douglas Thompson acknowledged in the choice.

Journalists from throughout B.C. have been overlaying the demonstrations in opposition to the logging of old-growth bushes close to Port Renfrew throughout the final a number of months. 

The group initially filed the grievance in May after acquiring documented studies from quite a few journalists who say they had been refused entry by the broad use of exclusion zones to the realm the place enforcement is going down.

“This is, without question, a watershed moment in the history of Canadian press freedom advocacy,” mentioned CAJ Brent Jolly in a press release after the ruling.

A barrier arrange by activists in the Fairy Creek watershed on Sunday May 30, 2021, to stop Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group from logging in the realm. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

In addition to the CAJ, the coalition included Ricochet Media, The Narwhal, Capital Daily, Canada’s National Observer, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, The Discourse and IndigiNews. 

“This problem of the RCMP using broad exclusion zones to exclude journalists and restrict media access has long been a thorn in the side of the media,” mentioned Ethan Cox, an editor with Ricochet Media. 

Lawyers representing the RCMP and logging firm Teal Jones each opposed the applying by the press coalition. The RCMP argued that media access was satisfactory and Teal Jones mentioned the press coalition lacked standing to intervene in the injunction continuing.

Media handled pretty, say RCMP

When the injunction was initially filed, RCMP informed CBC they would not remark straight on the allegations however mentioned they believed the media was handled pretty at Fairy Creek.

“There have been no restrictions for the media, I like to think we’ve been very forthcoming with inviting the media every day,” spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau mentioned. 

The CAJ says it appears to be like ahead to working with the RCMP.

“It is our hope that this latest defeat will prompt the RCMP to re-examine their approach with regards to allowing journalists to do their jobs,”  mentioned Jolly.

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