The ability of the press to access public information has sharply deteriorated and legislation governing such right needs to be reformed. “The system is in a deep crisis and without urgent reforms could soon become dysfunctional,” declared in January a report issued by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). It said that Canada’s 30-year-old Access to Information Act has failed to prevent growing delays in official agencies releasing documents, increasing redaction of information for what are claimed as national security reasons, and a general expansion of secrecy in government. Another Canadian freedom of expression advocate, the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF), in January added its voice to the challenge to the federal government “to dismantle its culture of secrecy” by reforming the law. It issued the call in a 10-page report titled “Make Access the Rule, Secrecy the Exception.” Complaints about how the existing law was not being observed by officials included the release of requested information often taking much longer than the statutory 30 days, to the disadvantage of journalists working on deadlines, and officials not creating records of their activities, for example by not taking minutes of meetings. Canadian Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has announced that her office would be conducting a major review of the law. The nation’s Supreme Court in recent months has taken up five media rights cases in which freedom of the press is put to the test. One involved a planned appeal by The Globe and Mail of a Quebec action in which one of its reporters, Daniel Leblanc, was ordered to reveal a confidential source for his reports on an alleged federal sponsorship scandal. In a separate action, the Supreme Court was called on to determine whether journalists have a right to protect confidential sources from police investigators. Two other cases could lead to a rewriting of the law governing libel and defamation. The fifth case coming before the Supreme Court called for the judges to consider doing away with what has been seen as a virtually automatic ban on publication of information at bail hearings. Canada’s only daily student newspaper, The Gazette, claimed that copies started disappearing from newsstands and the Ontario-based paper’s staff were being thrown out of their offices to make way for a multi-faith prayer room. It called the actions a “crackdown on campus press freedom” being waged by the University Students Council. In November, the Toronto Star, joined other Canadian English-language newspapers in announcing it will begin this year to charge readers to access online content. The Globe and Mail entered the digital subscription field in October. Four papers owned by Postmedia Network, a Toronto-based media company, have had such a paywall in operation since August last year.