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Canada6 June 2003

Quebec City police threaten to seize video recordings from three local television stations

Reporters Without Borders is quite troubled that Quebec City police may be going to the offices of the television stations TQS, TVA and Radio-Canada to seize video recordings as part of a police investigation.

Robert Menard, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, warns about "the risks" this can represent for journalists "to be seen as involuntary or voluntary police informants. If sources are not respected, nobody will be willing to share information with journalists. Journalism, and particularly investigative journalism, so precious for democracy, could be seriously affected."

The organization is asking the Quebec Superior Court to cancel the search warrants that were given to Quebec City police.

On June 4, 2003, a Quebec Court judge signed the search warrants giving Quebec City police the right to search the offices of the television networks TQS, TVA and Radio-Canada for the videotapes.

Police want to use the video, shot on May 30, 2003 at the Quebec City court house, as part of their investigation into a juvenile prostitution ring. The video shows comments made by Robert Gillet, a radio host accused in the case, as he leaves the court room. Crown prosecutors are considering using the declarations during his trial.

Radio-Canada obtained a suspension on the execution of the search warrants. The three television stations named in the search warrants have announced their intention to contest the warrants’ validity on June 13th, 2003 before the Quebec Superior Court.

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