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Media & Communications Law

Supreme Court of Canada Grants Shield Law for Confidential Sources

Posted Oct 22, 2010 4:55 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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Journalists in Canada now have the right to shield confidential sources—provided the protection is in the public interest—after a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday.

The judgment was described as "an important victory for investigative journalism in Quebec and for every Canadian who believes in the public interest," by Globe and Mail editor-in-chief John Stackhouse, in a report from the Globe and Mail.

The ruling comes as Globe and Mail journalist Daniel Leblanc seeks to protect his source—known only as MaChouette—in stories on the federal sponsorship affair which involves the misuse and misdirection of public funds intended for government advertising in Quebec. Leblanc has been ordered to return to a Quebec trial court for a final determination on his ability to conceal her identity.

"Journalists and their sources don't enjoy blanket protection, but we can continue to pursue investigative journalism, including confidential sourcing, knowing the courts view public interest as paramount," Stackhouse said in the report.

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