PRESS TV By Joshua Blakeney, Calgary, Canada July 31, 2013
The Canadian constitution upholds freedom of the press. However, a significant number of journalists and photographers are finding themselves being harassed and criminalized by increasingly politicized law enforcement officers who overlook the supreme law of Canada time and time again.
Jakub Markiewicz was arrested in 2012 when he filmed security guards and police detaining a man at a shopping mall in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Jennifer Pawluck was arrested when she took a photo of someone else’s graffiti depicting a Montreal police officer in a negative light and posted it on the internet.
Paul Pritchard had his footage of police tazering to death a Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, at Vancouver’s airport confiscated and had to launch a lawsuit against the police to retrieve the footage which was later used as evidence to demonstrate police impropriety. (Dziekanski on right)
Critics say that the Harper government’s so called “tough on crime” agenda has given many police officers the impression that they are above the law.
Such critics say that it is the government’s empowerment of the police that is leading to the increased criminalization of journalists and photographers who serve the public interest.