Student press freedom law a ‘critical step’ in defending free speech
VANCOUVER, BC, February 10, 2022 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) applauds the exceptional efforts of a group of high school student journalists to make the Student Press Freedom Act (SPFA) law in British Columbia.
“At a time when institutions are increasingly erecting barriers to prevent journalists, of all ages, from speaking truth to power, the spirit and intent of this bill is an essential step in upholding the fundamental rights to a free press and freedom of expression which are embedded in from Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Brent JollyACJ President.
The SPFA is the result of significant work carried out by Vancouverhigh school journalists Spencer Izen and Jessica Kim. The inspiration for the bill was drawn from a sequence of events the two experienced last year when their newspaper, The Griffins’ Nest, was censored by their school administration for writing an editorial critical of their school district’s decision-making process.
Unwilling to accept the district’s efforts to silence their reporting, the students contacted the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. The editorial was later published in its entirety uncensored.
While the text of the draft law has yet to be finalized, the CAJ Board of Directors endorses efforts to strengthen the protections afforded to student journalists. The CAJ supports the view that no journalist should be subject to disciplinary action or retaliation for reporting accurate information in student media that adheres to accepted journalistic standards.
“Just because a journalist is young and doesn’t have the backing of mainstream media doesn’t mean they should stop them from asking powerful people tough questions and holding them accountable for their actions” , said Jolly.
More information about the campaign is available here.
The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with over 1,100 members across Canada. CAJ’s primary roles are public interest advocacy and professional development for its members.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists
For further information: Brent Jolly, CAJ President, [email protected]