Press freedom in Canada was given a boost in October when the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling giving journalists in the province of Quebec the right to keep their sources secret – so long as they can show that the public interest in doing so does not threaten the administration of justice. At issue was the case of Globe and Mail reporter Daniel Leblanc, who has refused to name a key source for a report about a federal misspending scandal that was said to have contributed to the former Liberal Party government defeat in federal elections in 2006. In its 9-0 decision the Supreme Court refused to rule on the case and sent it to the Quebec Superior Court, which it said should consider an established legal test that can give the media a special privilege, on a case-by-case basis, to keep their informants secret. Earlier this year the Supreme Court had for the first time recognized such journalistic privilege for the rest of Canada. Quebec has a separate legal system in civil matters. The “established legal test” puts the onus on journalists to show that the public interest in keeping sources confidential outweighs the importance of disclosure. So the latest Supreme Court decision, while welcome, has been seen to fall short of the full sector privilege that had been sought. But in May this year the same Supreme Court ruled that journalist Andrew McIntosh, of the QMI Agency, had to reveal a key source that he had used to uncover a 2001 scandal. This and the Court’s refusal to issue blanket automatic constitutional protection for sources led to some Canadian press entities to regret that Canada, unlike U.S. states, has no “shield” law that helps keep sources confidential under most circumstances. This means that in future in each such case the question will be where does the public interest lie, The Montreal Gazette noted. Reporters Without Borders meanwhile in issuing its 2010 ninth annual Press Freedom Index measuring press freedom violations around the world said Canada ranks in 21st place among 178 countries – down from 19th in the previous year and behind the United Kingdom and the United States, and just ahead of Namibia and Hungary. And in its annual report on the health of free speech in Canada the organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression gave what it called a failing grade to the federal government for hurdles it has raised to accessing information. The report, issued on World Press Freedom Day in May, said there continued to be discontent over the government’s lack of transparency and official agencies’ invocation of national security to restrict dissemination of vital information to journalists. On June 26 a freelance journalist, Josse Rosenfeld, was beaten by police while covering for Guardian online a non-violent demonstration during the G-20 meeting of world leaders in Toronto. The police said he did not have an official Canadian pass to cover the summit and had resisted arrest. A Canadian-Iranian dual citizen, Hossein Derakhshan, was reported by human rights groups to have been sentenced to 19-1/2 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Iran on numerous charges. He has been dubbed the “blogfather of Farsi blogging” and has openly criticized the government in Teheran and the reformist movement there, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported. In another development, Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang became the recipient of the Canadian World Press Freedom Award of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF). She was killed while working in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009. It was the first time in the award’s12-year history that it was given posthumously.