Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Media challenge order to turn over to police unpublished photos and videos

A group of six media outlets are challenging court orders requiring them to turn over unpublished photos and video from Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot, arguing the orders violate their journalistic integrity while putting their reporters at risk. Police obtained production orders in September targeting the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC, Global Television, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province. The orders demanded copies of all photographs and video gathered during the night of the June 15 riot, when scores of jersey-clad fans burned cars, smashed windows and looted stores after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final. But the outlets have filed a petition in BC Supreme Court asking to be exempt."When journalists' work product is treated as police evidence, their ability to operate as independent and impartial reporters is compromised and potentially their very safety is at stake," media lawyer Dan Burnett wrote in the petition, filed Monday."The more often such orders are granted, the more likely that rioters in explosive situations will look upon the journalists as evidence gatherers and react accordingly."The petition said the production orders are far too broad, asking for each and every image captured on the evening of June 15, regardless of whether they depict a crime.

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