In a recent court proceedings in Calgary, freedom of the press was successfully defended, resulting in a rare outcome where the court ordered the police to pay a $675 fine to the journalist involved. The journalist, Ezra Levant, captured the victory in a two-part video report. The win is being hailed as a significant triumph for press freedom.
The court case stemmed from an incident in which the Calgary Police Service sought a court order to seize photographs, audio recordings, and video footage from Rebel News, Levant’s company. Failure to comply with the order within 30 days put Levant at risk of imprisonment. However, the police made several errors in the process, including going to the wrong court, speaking to the wrong judge, using the wrong law, failing to meet the correct legal standard, and improperly serving the order to Rebel News.
Recognizing the police’s mistakes, Levant and his legal team, including lawyer Sarah Miller, went to the right court with the right judge to challenge the Calgary Police’s order. The judge agreed with Levant, ruling that the order was invalid and ordering the police to pay Rebel News $675. This victory is not only a boost for Rebel News but also serves as a reminder that individuals can successfully fight against a powerful government organization.
Levant emphasizes that this win does not mean the end of challenges from the police. He believes that Calgary’s police chief, known for his political partisanship, will continue to target Rebel News. Levant believes the police’s action is a direct response to Rebel News’ coverage of their previous misconducts, such as the arresting of Pastor Artur Pawlowski, Pastor Tim Stephens’ treatment, and their violent encounter with hockey player Ocean Weisblatt. Levant claims that Rebel News has been singled out as a target for exposing these abuses.
Despite the significance of this win, Levant notes the lack of support from press freedom organizations in the country. Many of these organizations, according to Levant, have been coopted by the government through media bailouts. Rebel News, as an independent news company, relies on donations from supporters to cover legal fees, especially in instances like this.
Overall, this Calgary court victory for press freedom highlights the importance of holding government organizations accountable and defending the rights of the press. Levant acknowledges that the fight is far from over, as he expects further challenges from the police. But this win serves as a reminder that individuals and independent news organizations can stand up against powerful entities and achieve justice. Levant encourages those who believe in this fight to contribute to Rebel News’ legal expenses, as they cannot rely on taxpayers’ money to defend their journalistic integrity.