Don’t Arrest Journalist For Covering Protest

Hydroelectric dam

Target: Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Goal: Drop injunction against Justin Brake and prevent journalists from being threatened with arrest for covering protests in future.

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a court has authorized the arrest of a journalist covering protests against a hydroelectric dam project. A court order granted to Nalcor Energy, the firm overseeing the Muskrat Falls project, orders the arrest of journalist Justin Brake along with almost two dozen protesters if they do not leave the worksite.

‘Land protectors’ from Inuit and First Nations communities entered and occupied the worksite over the weekend. They are protesting plans to flood the hydroelectric dam reservoir, which may lead to increased levels of toxic methylmercury in local waters, potentially resulting in the poisoning of many local food sources. As a journalist, Justin Brake followed ‘land protectors’ onto the worksite, and live streamed the occupation through Facebook.      

The inclusion of Justin Brake in this injunction is a clear violation of the right of freedom of the press. It sends the message that journalists attempting to cover protests have to choose between producing content in the public interest and avoiding arrest. Furthermore, intimidating journalists may decrease the quality of coverage of protests and result in less scrutiny and accountability for both police and protesters. Sign our petition and demand an end to Mr. Brake’s inclusion in the injunction and that the authorities take action to prevent future acts undermining freedom of the press.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Premier Ball,

I was outraged to hear that a Newfoundland and Labrador court approved an injunction calling for the arrest of journalist Justin Brake for doing his job. Given the controversy surrounding the Muskrat Falls project, it is in the public interest that the project and the protests receive in-depth and accurate coverage.

Following the injunction, Mr Brake left the worksite and has stopped his live coverage of the protests. Given the result, it is clear that the decision to order the arrest of Justin Brake is contrary to public interest and clear encroachment of freedom of the press. I urge you to drop all legal proceedings against him.

Furthermore, I urge you to everything in your power to ensure that journalists are afforded their guaranteed rights including the ability to freely cover protests and actions throughout the province.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alex Polezhaev

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2 Comments

  1. Reprimir a la prensa es querer callar las razones de manifestación!

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    this is unfair!

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