Media Challenging Vancouver Riot Production Orders

The production orders obtained by the Vancouver Police requiring several media outlets, specifically the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC, Global Television, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province, to provide police with footage from the June 15 Stanley Cup riots.  According to this CTV story, media lawyer Dan Burnett explaineded part of the reasoning for challenging the order:

When journalists’ work product is treated as police evidence, their ability to operate as independent and impartial reporters is compromised and potentially their very safety is at stake.

The reality is, and the media is well aware of this, is that there is always the possibility of a production order.  Additionally, people in public places, especially when media outlets are clearly around, don’t necessarily have the same expectation of privacy than if they were somewhere private.  The problem I have here is that the motives of the police appear to be more of a fishing expedition than an attempt to uncover evidence from a specific criminal offence.  By granting these orders without a proper and specific purpose the role of the media could become compromised.

This blog post was written by lawyer Adam Goodman.  Adam is a criminal lawyer in Toronto who blogs regularly about legal subjects.  Adam can be reached at 416-477-6793 or by email at adam@aglaw.ca.

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