Washington, D.C., May 26, 2021 — In response to reports that officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have repeatedly denied journalists access to cover protests against logging on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the Committee to Protect Journalists today issued the following statement:
“We are concerned that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police seem to have a pattern of prohibiting journalists from accessing protest sites,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Journalists must be able to cover matters of public interest, including the protests on Vancouver Island, without interference; police should cease blocking journalists from covering those protests immediately.”
A coalition of Canadian news organizations and the Canadian Association of Journalists issued a letter today detailing the RCMP’s repeated denial of access to reporters at Vancouver Island on the basis of a court injunction. The letter called for that injunction to be modified to protect journalists from interference.
CPJ reviewed affidavits from four reporters stating that police had denied them access to cover demonstrations on the island.
RCMP officers have previously denied journalists access to reporting on Indigenous land demonstrations, as CPJ has documented.