Following a weekend of incidents that call into question the freedom of the press in Quebec, CUPE which represents journalists with TVA, is issuing a call for action. The threats and assaults last weekend involving reporters Yves Poirier in Montreal and Kariane Bourassa in Quebec City are symptoms of the deteriorating atmosphere for journalists in the province. All parties involved must take action to better protect the freedom of the press.

CUPE 687, the union of TVA employees, is involved in discussions with the employer on new working conditions for journalists who work in potentially dangerous situations.

“Lessons must be learned from the dreadful events of last weekend and steps taken to ensure they don’t happen again. Human resource policies for working in risky situations must be improved. So far, the employer’s response has been good with respect to this aspect and the overall problem itself, which we salute,” said Carl Beaudoin, President of CUPE 687.

CUPE is making a wider call to the public to reflect on what is behind this trend and to think of ways to reverse it.

“Social media is full of conspiracy theories that portray journalists negatively, making them the scapegoats for anything and everything. These theories worm their way into people’s heads, and makes them think it’s OK to bully, harass and commit assaults. Everyone in civil society must roll up their sleeves and come up with enforceable solutions before things go off the rails again,” added Carl Beaudoin.

“Everyone must agree on one principle that is crystal clear – lashing out at journalists is a direct attack on freedom of the press and the public’s right to information, which are cornerstones of our democratic society,” said Nick Mingione, President of CUPE Quebec’s provincial communications sector council (CPSC).

As for the details of the two incidents this past weekend, CUPE awaits the result of a police investigation.