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The Hon. Charlie  Watt, O.Q. Appointed to the Senate by the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Senator Charlie Watt represents the province of Quebec and the Senatorial Division of Inkerman.

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Long Live the Free Press—Senator Hervieux-Payette pays tribute to Canadian journalists

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Posted on 03 May 2012

OTTAWA, May 3, 2012 – On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Senator Hervieux-Payette is grateful to Canadian journalists and to all those who practice a profession vital to democracy and human rights. She also pays tribute to those who lost their lives defending this ideal.

"There can be no liberty and no justice without an independent and free press. All Heads of States, all governments, all politicians who defend individual freedom and justice must guarantee the freedom and independence of this pillar of democracy," said Senator Hervieux-Payette.

On April 2nd 2012, the Conservative government imposed on CBC journalists a so-called code of values ??and ethics for journalists employed by public radio and television broadcasters.

"They are asking CBC journalists to pledge allegiance to the government. This political interference aimed at controlling the media is extremely serious. Prime Minister Harper clearly demonstrated that his discourse on transparency and accountability was vote pandering and manipulation," she stated.

The new "code of conduct" warns that any serious breach is considered "wrongdoing" and that the offending person "is liable to disciplinary action up to and including immediate dismissal.” However, under the Broadcasting Act, employees of the CBC are not subject to this code of ethics and values. Although the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a government institution, the Broadcasting Act clearly states in paragraph 44(3) that employees are not officers or servants of Her Majesty.

"After tabling Bill C-30 to spy on Canadians’ electronic communications, the Conservative government has demonstrated that their conception of freedom is limited only to the free-market. The consumer is free. The citizen is under control. The journalist is muzzled," concluded the Senator.

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Maximilien Depontailler
Policy Advisor
Office of the Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette, PC
613-947-8008 – deponm@sen.parl.gc.ca

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