All about the Vice Media case before the Supreme Court of Canada

Published On May 29, 2018 | By Rucha Devarchetti | News

Rucha Devarchetti

The Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal on Wednesday from Vice Media reporter Ben Makuch, who was ordered to hand over interview materials to the RCMP.

Makuch was ordered by the lower courts to surrender his notes from an interview with Canadian ISIS member Farah Shirdon. He fought and lost his case in both the Superior Court and the Appeal Court before appearing in the high court.

The Vice Media case spinned the wheels of the debate on protection of sources and journalistic freedom in Canada. Countrywide news agencies lent their support to Makuch when he refused to had over his notes to the RCMP.

The Supreme Court heard both sides of the argument and has reserved its decision.

“The argument in the court today is more about the protection of journalistic sources from the police,” Mercedes Stephenson of CTV News who was live tweeting the court proceedings said. “Its a discussion on the chilling effect on media coverage when the police seize notes from reporters.”

Media agencies were also debating the possibilities of the Supreme Court sticking to the orders by the lower courts.

“Anytime police want a lead on a case or suspect that a journalist has information that they might want, they can simply go to a judge, get a court order and have them hand over all their material,” Duncan Pike, a former director at the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said. “Thats incredibly dangerous. Sources are not going to want to talk to journalists and it will be impossible for journalists to work in sensitive areas.”

Here’s the timeline of the Vice Media case and its journey to the Supreme Court.

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