Freedom of the Press

Canada

Canada

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

17

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

8

A slightly diminished rating in 2002 is attributed more to problems arising from the concentration of ownership of the news media than from security restrictions such as the provisions of Bill 36, the anti-terrorism legislation that permits the increased surveillance of citizens. Both issues, however, are substantial challenges to press freedom. Censorship of editors and repression of dissenting views were attributed to CanWest Global Communications, the major media conglomerate. A newspaper publisher in the chain was sacked for printing an editorial critical of Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Responding to a pattern of such incidents, the national journalists association took the unusual step of seeking a parliamentary inquiry into the restrictions attributed to the owners of the newspaper group. A judicial gag order barred journalists from attending the preliminary hearing of an accused serial killer, even though such hearings are normally open to the press. The Toronto police used a warrant to seize raw television coverage in an investment fraud case. In March, a local school board threatened to withhold advertising from newspapers or broadcasters that the board felt had reported its affairs inaccurately.