Photo: Annik MH de Carufel Le Devoir
Justice Jacques Chamberland (centre), president of the commission of inquiry, was supported by the commissioners Alexandre Matte and Guylaine Bachand.
Quebec journalists, gathered in congress during the week-end in Sherbrooke, have talked a lot about “false news” but have also drawn a balance sheet pretty dark few months for the confidential sources, that have highly dried up after the commission Chamberland.
The journalist Monic Nero, 98.5 FM, which has found itself in over the last few months in the heart of the stories to listen to police, revealed to the members of the Fédération professionnelle des journalists du Québec (FPJQ) that the Commission of inquiry into the protection of the confidentiality of journalistic sources, launched in the spring by the justice Jacques Chamberland, has had a “catastrophic” on the collection of information. “We laid out the tactics [used] to obtain our data, we spy, we thwart and trap the police officers who spoke to us. And that it was afraid to the police. I felt it. “
Journalist at Radio-Canada Marie-Maude Denis has shared the same concerns as his colleague. Everyday, almost every phone conversation begins with a joke “sarcastic” on the listening of the conversation to illustrate it. “In the spirit of a part of the population, this was not the metadata, which have been touted] but the discussions. For the trust and it was devastating. “In the circles of police officers, the situation is worse,” added the Investigative journalist. “It loses quality. Now, if a police officer gives you the info, once on 100 it’s going to be motivated by something that conflicts with his conscience. The other 99 are going to come to see you because they need you, they will document your meeting with you. “
Monic Nero has also seen the world court to shine, and to demand of journalists that they do not have their phone on them during private conversations, for example. “The lawyers, the prosecutors who we trusted, with whom they exchanged text messages, everyone is suspicious, paranoia set in. “
The two journalists believe that the link between media and police needs to be reinvented, redefined. “It puts a lot of effort, but it is necessary to meet with sources in person, to create frameworks that are plausible and legitimate in their eyes “, believes Marie-Maude Denis.
The Fake News
The congress of the FPJQ took place this year under the theme of ” Truth or consequences “, a nod to the false news which are now part of the daily dialogue in the media. With, of course Donald Trump in the great helmsman of the term “fake news” and slayer of the great information media. In the morning, Saturday, the journalist of The New York Press, Richard Hétu, explained that ” the White House wants to undermine the credibility of journalists. In the tweets almost daily. It is expressed also by [former strategist Trump] Steve Bannon, who said that the opposition this is not the democratic party, but the press. “
At his side, Alex Wayne, the head of the coverage to the White House for Bloomberg News, has, however, nuanced this image. According to him, there are two relations between the media and the american president : a public or political, ” but also a private relationship, more healthy “, which could surprise us, writes Wayne. In the corridors, ” the administration responds to our questions, [Trump] is more accessible than Obama was. “
Margaux Ewen, Reporter without border, felt that the president Trump was ” a direct threat to the freedom of the press “, especially when it has threatened to withdraw the license of the tv channel NBC. Ms. Ewen knows that he has not the power, but believes that the president ” is corrosive to democracy. “
Check and train
That said, Donald Trump has not the monopoly of the false news, which slips everywhere in our channels of gathering information. According to Normand Landry, TELUQ and the Canada research Chair of media education and human rights, it is ” the symptom of a community that has not prioritized adequately the ability [to consider] in a thoughtful way on the news it consumes. “
What to do to counter all this ? “Engage the world, because there must be more initiatives of fact checking,” says Jeff Yates, himself a specialist in the field of Radio-Canada (and prior to Metro). For Pascal Lapointe, of the Agence Science-Presse, there needs to be more ” journalism explanatory, which is sort information, which provides tools for readers “. Professor Normand Landry also put on the training of citizens. “It is necessary to understand the process of journalism, the different types, understand […] who controls the information and what is the impact on the content. “
A press card honorary Badawi
At the annual gala of the FPJQ, Saturday evening, the federation has asked for a symbolic gesture by giving a press card honorary blogger saudi Raif Badawi, who has been jailed for five years in Saudi Arabia. It is the wife of Badawi, Ensaf Haïder, which is mounted on the stage of the Granada Theater to receive the card under the applause of the journalists in the room. “The imprisonment of Raif Badawi is a direct violation of freedom of expression in a country where freedom of the press is, so to say, non-existent, said the d. g. Of the FPJQ Catherine Lafrance in a press release. It is the mission of the FPJQ to intervene every time that the freedom of the press is attacked or called in question. “