APTN granted in­ter­vener sta­tus in Jus­tine Brake case

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY JAMES MCLEOD SALT WIRE NET­WORK

The Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ples Tele­vi­sion Net­work (APTN) will be al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in a court case in­volv­ing jour­nal­ist Justin Brake, who is fac­ing crim­i­nal charges re­lated to his cov­er­age of Muskrat Falls protests.

In a de­ci­sion is­sued Mon­day, the New­found­land and Labrador Court of Appeal said APTN can act as an in­ter­vener in the case, within some lim­i­ta­tions.

Brake was cov­er­ing protests at the Muskrat Falls site in Labrador when self-de­scribed Labrador land pro­tec­tors en­tered the site and oc­cu­pied one of the ac­com­mo­da­tions build­ings — ef­fec­tively shut­ting down work briefly.

Brake fol­lowed the land pro­tec­tors to cover the sit­u­a­tion, and when Nal­cor En­ergy went to court to get an in­junc­tion re­mov­ing the pro­test­ers, Brake was named in the court or­der.

Brake is ar­gu­ing in court that the court should have con­sid­ered the fact that he was a work­ing jour­nal­ist for the In­de­pen­dent on­line news out­let.

Karyn Pugliese said the APTN was given a spe­cial man­date by the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion when it comes to In­dige­nous is­sues, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in this court case is part of this.

“This case will de­ter­mine how con­flicts be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples and the state are cov­ered by jour­nal­ists in the fu­ture,” she said. “We al­ready see that his­tor­i­cally Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples have been ig­nored or mis­rep­re­sented in me­dia. Any de­ci­sion that pre­vents jour­nal­ists from em­bed­ding with our peo­ple dur­ing con­flicts could make mat­ters worse by cre­at­ing a chill­ing ef­fect on the cov­er­age of is­sues im­pact­ing our peo­ple and all Cana­di­ans.”

In the de­ci­sion grant­ing in­ter­vener sta­tus, Chief Jus­tice Derek Green wrote that APTN is in­vited to make ar­gu­ments about the spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance of jour­nal­ism as it re­lates to In­dige­nous is­sues, and how con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tions for In­dige­nous peo­ple might ap­ply to this case.

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