Journalists reporting on “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa being threatened, harassed

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: A reporter is harassed by “Freedom Convoy” participants in Ottawa.

“Freedom Convoy” trucks began arriving in the city of Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory, on Friday January 28.

CBC News reports: “Crowds [at the convoy protest] swelled to between 5,000 to 18,000 people on Saturday [January 29], according to police, with the city estimating another 3,000 came to the Hill on Sunday [January 30]. Police said Tuesday [February 1] night that 250 people remained, without offering a vehicle count.”

It is expected that this coming weekend there will be another large protest.

Journalist Brandi Morin receives threatening emails

Brandi Morin reporting on the land defence struggle of the Wet’suwet’en peoples against the CGL fracked gas pipeline, January 7, 2022.

On January 31, the Toronto Star, this country’s largest circulation newspaper, published ‘Freedom’ protests are white supremacy in all its glory by Brandi Morin.

Morin commented: “This country is rich from the innumerable resources of stolen Indian lands. And yet these protesters have been sitting in their comfortable lives for all these years, knowing the oppression of segregation via the reserve system and discrimination is a reality — but so far removed that it’s become acceptable.”

By February 2, she tweeted: “So many journalists are at the receiving end of violence lately. Literally I woke up to dozens more emails. I live w it though, people are reading my work I guess. Violence is never OK though, but I’m willing to take the hit for truth/justice.”

The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ), a global organization of support for women journalists, has posted this statement: “CFWIJ was informed that she has received over 60 hateful and threatening emails in the past 24 hours. Not only is Brandi Morin uniquely positioned as an indigenous voice in the press fraternity, thus making her vulnerable to attacks from far-right groups, women journalists in the country have collectively experienced a spike in digital hostilities in the past few months.”

Journalists harassed, threatened

As Morin notes, there are other reports of journalists being harassed and receiving death threats.

On January 28, Vice reported: “Journalists who have reported on the convoy, particularly women, have received a deluge of hate and death threats. Global reporters Mercedes Stevenson and Rachel Gilmore have been inundated with vile and violent messages in recent days for doing their jobs and reporting on the movement.”

That same day, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) encouraged “newsroom leaders to take preemptive action to ensure that the safety of journalists is protected in the wake of increasing threats made against reporters covering the ongoing trucker’s convoy.”

The CAJ further noted: “Journalists have received death threats littered with racist epithets. Others have been spat on and verbally and physically harassed. In another case, the windows of a CBC/Radio-Canada news cruiser were broken.”

We express our profound concern about this ongoing situation and draw the parallels between the communities, defenders and journalists who PBI accompanies around the world (including in Mexico where four journalists have been killed so far this year).

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