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The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)
August 9, 2012
Québec’s federation of journalists is astonished by Premier Jean Charest’s recent remarks following the publication of a critical report by the Inquiry team on the—as yet unexplained—halt on the surveillance of Eddy Brandone.
The Premier questioned the ethics of two Radio-Canada reporters, Marie-Maude Denis and Alain Gravel, who have done remarkable work exposing corruption and collusion problems in the construction industry. Their reports, along with those of other media, have often damaged the Liberal government’s reputation in recent years, which might help explain the Premier’s inappropriate outburst.
Charest also accuses Radio-Canada of broadcasting this report to intentionally sabotage his campaign. He says he would like the media to concentrate on the “real issues.”
The FPJQ would like to recall that it is not the place of the Premier, or of any other politician, to dictate the media’s editorial choices. Journalists and media should be free to treat whatever subjects they choose, without facing undue criticisms from public decision makers.
It is precisely within the context of the Québec election campaign that the interrupted surveillance of this long-time acquaintance of Jean Charest is of public interest. Voters have a right to this information in making their decisions.
If Radio-Canada had chosen to conceal this information during the campaign, it would not have been doing its job as a public broadcaster. Some would have accused of them of favouring the government currently in power.
Politicians, enamoured as they are of democratic ideals, surely understand that a free press is inseparable from a healthy democracy.
La FPJQ asks that Mr. Charest respect the work of the media, even if he doesn’t like the results. Journalists and media are not at the service of his election campaign, however ingenious it might be.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.