The Globe and Mail’s David Walmsley on Press Freedom

I’m proud of the work I did as a journalist. I spent almost 40 years in that trade and had articles published in pretty much every major newspaper in the country, along with some magazines. Some of my books were journalism. I wrote the definitive book on domestic press censorship in Canada in the Second World War, a collection of Canada’s war correspondence, and a best-seller on Stephen Harper’s war on facts that still stands as a useful guide to anyone who wants to understand modern populism. It was one of the Globe and Mail’s Top 100 Books of 2015 and got great reviews. Now I represent media clients who are being sued, and I vet books for potential libel issues before they are published.

So I care a lot about media. I believe journalists need to be much better educated. They need to be fair and professional. At the same time, our democracy won’t survive without them.

Here’s Globe and Mail editor David Walmsley’s piece on press freedom, which should be a warning to us all. Walmsley discusses some of the new legislation on source protection that I wrote about on this site earlier this month. I would argue that the source law is the third most-important initiative to protect journalists in this country, following (in order) the Supreme Court of Canada’s acceptance of the responsible communication defence in Grant v Torstar and the adoption in three provinces of legislation to protect people (journalists and activists) from strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), which I’ve also discussed on this site: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-world-press-freedom-day-it-hurts-us-all-when-journalists-are-not-free/