Freedom of the press, a fundamental freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the right of media to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction, censorship, or prior restraint. The ability of journalists to report freely on matters of public interest is crucial to a genuinely democratic society.
You will likely have seen quite a few opinion pieces lately about what’s being called variously the “Canadian” media bailout, the “government” media bailout and the “Liberal” media bailout.
So, yes, there’s a media bailout afoot.
Can freedom of the press survive government funding of journalism? Without public funding, can the precipitous decline in the quantity and quality of journalism available to Canadians be halted, much less reversed?
On November 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in the closely watched VICE appeal. The big question at the heart of VICE was simple: when will courts compel the media to give police material relating to a journalist’s previously published communications with non-confidential sources for the police to use against those sources?