Silver Lining

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Canada continues heavy-handed media repression

Press TV

Canada is seeing an increasing number of its journalists and photographers being criminalized and arrested by law enforcement officers for recording incidents involving police brutality, Press TV reports.

On numerous occasions, Canadians have been taken into custody after legally documenting police incidents.

Among the most notable cases is the arrest of Jennifer Pawluck in April after she posted a photo online of someone else’s graffiti depicting a Montreal police commander, Ian Lafreniere, negatively. She was later charged with criminal harassment.

In September 2012, Jakub Markiewicz, a 16-year-old, was arrested by police when he filmed security guards and police officers detaining a man at a shopping mall in the British Columbia city of Burnaby. Markiewicz was never officially charged over the incident.

Furthermore, officers at Vancouver International airport confiscated in 2007 a video taken by Paul Pritchard, showing police officers tasering a Polish immigrant to death.

Pitchard finally filed a lawsuit against the police in a bid to retrieve the footage.

The recording was later used as evidence against the police and the involved officers eventually admitted that they had misled the public in several statements about the tasering death.

Meanwhile, critics say that the so-called “tough on crime” agenda by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has given many Canadian police officers the impression that they are above the law.

They also say that the impression has led to the increase criminalization of Canadians, who were serving the public interest when they documented incidents involving the police.

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