New York, January 8, 2019–The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) yesterday blocked reporters from covering a pipeline protest near Houston, British Columbia, where police were due to dismantle camps set up by indigenous activists, according to reports.
“Authorities in Canada should immediately end the arbitrary restrictions on journalists covering the police breakup of the pipeline protest,” said CPJ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck. “Journalists should be able to freely cover events of national importance, without fear of arrest.”
The RCMP blocked journalists from the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and Canadian Broadcast Corporation from passing a blockade, APTN reported. News crews already behind the barrier were allowed to remain, the report said. APTN told CPJ today that police were still denying its journalists access and had told reporters they risk being arrested if they tried to get close enough to view the police action. Madonna Saunderson, a spokesperson from the RCMP, told CPJ via email that authorities had created a “temporary exclusion zone” to ensure public safety.