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Centre for Investigative Journalism
Annual Convention: Individual Reports

Canadian Journalism

by Dave Yates


"During the October Crisis, the English media rolled over and played dead."

Sandy Ross

IF ONE ROLE OF THE CANADIAN media is to protect the public interest and individual rights, then the boat was missed in the last decade.

That's the opinion of at least two panelists discussing the state of Canadian journalism.

Following the invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970, "the English media rolled over and played dead," says Clark Davey. publisher of The Vancouver Sun.

Nearly 500 Quebeckers were arrested under the act and spent up to two weeks in jail. Those arrested were held incommunicado, without charge and they never got to see a judge.

"Canadians blandly accept whatever authority tells them," says Alexander Ross, editor of Canadian Business.

"We like to think that when the chips are down, we would resist. But the experience of the War Measures Act indicates we would not resist."

Davey says police and court power are encroaching on the role of the press by raiding newsrooms and jailing reporters who refuse to reveal their sources.


Published in Sources May/June 1980


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