78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain


In this period there were no serious events affecting freedom of the press and the practice of journalism - although media, journalists and organizations raised their voices in response to the growing hate attacks they suffer through social networks.

On September 1, 52 organizations and media denounced in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, "the growing and alarming online hatred and harassment against journalists and journalism as a profession." They considered that these are not just attacks against the press, but against democracy. They emphasized that most of the attacks are gender and race-based - since most of them affect women journalists and reporters belonging to ethnic minorities.

In that letter, they asked Trudeau for solutions, among them, that the media provide the police with reports on patterns of abuse against journalists - so that they do not act only on individual complaints - and that digital platforms be called upon to act urgently and effectively to moderate attacks and abuses against journalists on social networks.

On August 11, several organizations and media outlets, including the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), The Hill Times, the Toronto Star and Global News, called on the Ottawa and Toronto police chiefs to investigate the death and rape threats received by journalists Saba Eitizaz, Rachel Gilmore and Erica Ifill.

A culture of unwarranted classification of information of public interest still persists in government, while the Anti-Terrorism Act, in effect since 2015, expanded the authority of government agencies to share information about individuals.

According to reports from IAPA's Chapultepec Index, Parliament has been discussing Bills C-10 and C-11 that would redefine the telecommunications and broadcasting system, as well as the powers and mandates of the federal authority, namely the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Bill C-11 would give the Commission powers to monitor audiovisual content produced on television and social media. Google had expressed its disagreement, considering that the bill would limit access to content on YouTube - because the new regulation privileges content produced in the country.

The Supreme Court has recognized that the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of expression is not absolute and that it has limits, such as incitement to hatred.

Bill C-18 on online news continues to advance in Parliament, which will force media and digital platforms to negotiate remuneration for the use of news content. This law would apply to Google and Meta, but these companies could apply for an exemption if they reach fair compensation agreements with the media. Unlike a similar law in Australia - which is implemented by a Ministry - in Canada an autonomous Commission will be created to oversee the agreements and their transparency.