TORONTO, ONT., Oct 24, 2023 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) calls on Conservative Members of Parliament to rescind their motions demanding that senior members of CBC’s leadership team appear before House of Commons committees, as it infringes on journalistic independence.

Last week, two Conservative MPs tabled motions calling for Catherine Tait, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, and George Achi, the CBC’s director of journalistic standards and public trust, to testify before parliamentarians. The move was in response to the corporation’s language policy around when CBC journalists should and shouldn’t use the term ‘terrorism’ in their stories.

These motions will be considered at two committee meetings scheduled for today.

“Any efforts to politically interfere with any news organization’s news gathering process is a complete violation of the press freedom,” said Brent Jolly, president of the CAJ. “Editorial independence is crucial to a free press, and politicians should not be meddling with the decisions journalists make.”

The independence of CBC/Radio-Canada is protected by law in the Broadcasting Act. If the CBC’s editorial decisions are to be reviewed by MPs and Parliamentary committees, then the corporation would really become a “state broadcaster.”

“Any efforts to interfere with the freedom of the press, particularly for one’s own political gain, is a ‘red line’ that can never be crossed,” Jolly said.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is the country’s largest professional organization that serves to advance the interests of journalists from coast to coast to coast. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.