The statue representing truth ("veritas") in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the media cannot guarantee unconditional anonymity to sources.
The decision was nine years in the making and at its heart were the contents of a brown envelope and a tenacious journalist who refused to hand it over.
In 2001, Andrew McIntosh of the National Post received a package. It contained information about prime minister Jean Chrétien and his alleged involvement a controversy that came to be known as “shawinigate.”
Police suspected forgery and wanted to include the reporter’s documents in their investigation. McIntosh refused, choosing to protect his source.
In the court battle that ensued, both his newspaper and the police claimed that the public interest was in their corner.
The situation raised the question: who speaks for the good of the people?
Friday’s near unanimous Supreme Court ruling means that journalists cannot, unconditionally, say that they do.
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Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo //CC license: BY
A blog about inconspicuously fascinating young people on campus
While reporting at the University of British Columbia, I’ve met many ridiculously accomplished and interesting people—and, no, they aren’t all professors.
Many of my unassuming peers harbour stories that would jump-start your pulse. Take Jake Wall for instance: he has trekked through the Kenyan desert, dodging snakes and herding stubborn camels, all to get an elephant’s eye view. Or consider Sarah Klain, who spent two years on the island nation of Palau, tracking sea turtles, saltwater crocodiles, and dugongs.
Over the next few weeks you can read these stories at thethunderbird.ca but I’ll post excerpts and links to the stories as they go up.
By the way, do you know a fascinating undergrad at UBC? If so, I could sure use the referral! Let me know in the comments below.