Freedom of the press is under attack.
Rebel News Quebec-based journalist, Alexa Lavoie, was reporting at a shopping center in Quebec City with Guillaume, a freelance journalist who often works as her cameraman.
They were covering a protest led by Francois Almalega, the leader of the anti-lockdown movement in Quebec, where people were planning to shop at the stores without face coverings. Almalega was arrested in a Walmart and our reporters caught it all on camera.
But suddenly while recording the arrest, the police began harassing our journalists too.
Two officers grabbed at Guillaume's camera and demanded that he stop recording and turn his camera over to the police.
Since when is it acceptable for officers to seize journalists' cameras without a warrant in this country? If the police want evidence, they can use their body camera footage or surveillance footage. Their only reason to seize our footage was to hide how poorly they handled the demonstration that day.
Eventually, the police took two of Guillaume's SD cards from his camera. Then, after illegally seizing our footage, the police gave Guillaume a ticket for $1,550 for not wearing a mask plus a trespass notice. They weren't trespassing, they were working.
At Rebel News, we're going to fight to recover our property, this footage, and this evidence of police misconduct. The police need to be reminded that they are not above the law and we are going to fight to make sure this never happens to Alexa and Guillaume or any other journalist in this country again.
This letter is only the beginning. We need to make sure the police know that they simply can't just take a journalist's camera and footage without a warrant. If you'd like to help us protect the rights of journalists to work in Canada without harassment or illegal seizure of property, please donate on this page to offset our legal costs and fund any future lawsuit against the Quebec Police.
Thank you, will keep you posted on any updates.