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October 28, 2017 12:11 am

Should journalists be registered?

Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 3:45 AM

By Bill Phillips


It’s good see Conservatives’ newfound appreciation for freedom of the press.

It’s actually kind of humorous to see Conservative supporters and MPs rushing to the defence of Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media after the Alberta government denied it access to press conferences and events. Rebel Media, of course is extremely right wing and Rachel Notley’s government is … well, NDP. That means if Notley helps an old lady across the street then, according to Rebel Media, she’s ruining Alberta and, quite likely, Canada.

The humorous part of all this is the fact that many of the Conservatives coming to Rebel Media’s defence and blasting the Notley government’s inappropriate treatment of the media, are the same Conservatives and MPs who sat on their thumbs when Stephen Harper, as prime minister generally shunned the media and, during the campaign, limited media questions to four or five per event … and only journalists picked by the Prime Minister’s office were allowed to ask those vetted questions.

Where was the Conservative outrage then?

Having said that, it continues to astound me the lengths politicians, and political handlers, will go to avoid being held accountable for their actions and, these days, “control the message.”

The Alberta government was wrong on several levels.

“The ban on Rebel Media journalists reveals at least three inexplicable claims on the part of the government,” according to the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Firstly, that the government gets to decide who is, and who isn’t, a journalist. That’s just wrong.

Secondly, it banned Rebel Media on the basis that it is an online publication. Also wrong.

“The CAJ rejects any blanket ban of online-only media, which are, in fact, legitimate,” it said.

I’m reminded of former Prince George mayor Shari Green who refused to recognize 250News as a news source and wouldn’t grant its reporters interviews. When you get elected to office, media comes with the territory.

The line I used to use with uppity politicians who felt that holding office gave them the authority to dictate what I write: “I was here before you arrived and I’ll be here after you’re gone.”

Then there’s the third “inexplicable” claim that Notley’s lawyers made: News organizations are only news organizations if their owners are journalists. I’ve worked for several newspaper “magnates” over the years, I don’t believe any of them ever thought they were journalists. If they did, then maybe journalism wouldn’t be in the state it’s in today.

It should be noted that the Alberta government reversed its decision and will allow Rebel Media.

Part of the question though, is – what qualifies someone to be a journalist?

Anyone can set up a blog and start blathering on about whatever. Does that make them a journalist?

Lots of countries require journalists to be members of a recognized association, such as the Canadian Association of Journalists, to be considered a journalist. They have to prove to the association that they are, indeed, a working journalist … whether print, broadcast, online, or town crier. A press card is issued and that card should be good enough to prove to anyone who asks that the holder is, indeed a journalist.

Petty, vindictive political handlers who, because they work in the halls of power believe it is theirs, are not the people anyone should be listening to.

Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com


Considering the amount of one sided reporting of social media either for or against and the popularity of said social media sites I personally would like to see accredited reporters do the actual reporting.

There are many here who feel journalists are biased and one sided but by their code and by some laws to report on a neutral basis however journalists are human too but for the most part I believe they try to report the truth

Social media is not required to be impartial and can be very biased and slanted and both sides are equally guilty of this frequently so instead of getting neutral reporting you get very biased views which unfortunately people eat up then often when the actual real truth is reported people often are left red faced and then angry because they did not do their homework. Sadly this is the way of the modern population and social media no real reporting and very slanted sometimes very hurtful untruths that can overshadow the actual truth because people don’t want to believe it.

    Dearth, you suggest that Social media is not required to be impartial and can be very biased and slanted!

    I don’t think that Social media is the sole domain of biased and slanted reporting. One only needs to look to CBC for that!

    CBC’s love in with Justin is quite nauseating! I’m sure that it doesn’t have anything to do with the close personal relationship that Justin has with Peter Mansbridge or perhaps anything to do with Justin’s promise of more money, money, money, taxpayers money for the CBC!

      I’m not saying journalists are not biased I have met quite a few biased joirnalists in my time however unlike social media they have actual guidelines to follow and if you feel they are reporting biased journalism you can report them

      Social media on the other hand when they report slanted or untrue stories there is almost no recourse to report them over its basically use your judgement and IMO most humans have lousy judgement

In my opinion journalists and reporters should be required to complete a course on proof reading.

Conservative supporters and MPs rushing to the defence of Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media?

Conservatives like Macleans Magazine who riffed the double face-palm meme.

Or maybe you thing The Globe and Mail is conservative? They compared the Alberta NDP to Russia, Egypt and Iran.

How about Evan Solomon. During his podcast he actually seemed to be sputtering at times he sounded so angry.

Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella supported The Rebel on Sirius/XM’s Arlene Bynon Show on this topic. She, too, supported The Rebel.

Even the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery backs The Rebel’s claim of media.

If it had just been conservatives Notely would have stuck to her guns. But it seems that a lot of media realized that an attack on one is an attack on all so they rallied in support and she backed down. She said they’d “made a mistake”. No, that wasn’t a mistake, she still wants to do it and will if she can find a way.

Levant the NDP “a government that bullies people.”

“Except this time they didn’t get away with it,” he said in an email. “Until Notley’s blacklist was denounced in the national media, she was completely comfortable with infringing our freedom of the press.”

By the way, what’s your definition of “ultra” right wing? Would that be anyone who is factual?

Just what qualifications are required for the title journalist?

Say Phillips your comments above about Harper, well he didn’t do an outright ban of the media as the left Notley, you left that part out. Your biased left “journalism” is showing.

left journalism good.

right journalism bad.

    Phillips states: “Where was the Conservative outrage then?”

    To that, I would say that that was then and this in now!

    Bill, today a much better and a more appropriate question would be:

    “Where is the NDP outrage now?”

Paraphrasing Gore Vidal … There is no such things as a journalists . There are only acts of journalism . There are no qualifications , eduction level or licensing needed to call yourself a journalist .

Mr Levant is a journalist when it fits his agenda. He has, in the past, claimed he was not a journalist but instead a “pundit” or columnist.
While at university in Alberta, he claimed that by creating space for first nation students the university Was anti-semite?????
Having said that, filtering media access is wrong, by any government. The past PM was a master at controlling the message. He wouldn’t even acknowledge ” Nardwuar the Human Surviette”.

Notley was wrong, and is regretting her offices bad practice.

    Levant has NEVER said he was not a journalist, quite the contrary. What he has said is that he is not a REPORTER!

    Notley is only regretting that she had to back down. If she can find a way to sneak the ban back in, she will.

For better or worse, social media is the great equalizer. It puts the onus on the reader to discern what information is of value and what is credible.

Levant has stated in the past, he is not a journalist, and later during a civil hearing, that he was not a reporter.
So why the crying? Go get accredited.

    Grizzly2, what Levant has stated in the past is not really relevant in the situations that have recently happened it Alberta. It wasn’t Levant that was booted out of press conferences, media scrums or events.

    It was Rebel correspondents, Holly Nicholas and Sheila Gunn Reid who encountered problems.

    Nicholas was removed from a Calgary lockup for the royalty review. Lockups allow media access to embargoed documents and unattributed technical briefings from government experts.

    On Feb. 3, Rebel correspondent Reid was barred from covering a news conference at the Alberta Legislature with the premier and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    Grizzly2 re: your comment: “So why the crying? Go get accredited.”

    This might interest you, from the CBC:

    Darcy Henton, president of the Alberta Legislature press gallery, confirmed that journalists do not need accreditation from the gallery to cover news conferences at the legislature

    “It has long been the practice in Alberta that reporters and photographers who present their news credentials to legislature security can acquire visiting media passes to cover news conferences,” he said in a written statement.

    “The press gallery supports the right of journalists to provide vigorous and diverse coverage of the Alberta Legislature.”

    Manon Cornellier, president of the National Press Gallery on Parliament Hill, said decisions about who to accredit are made by her organization, not by the government of the day

    No accreditation was required. Why should Rebel reporters have to when nobody else does?

Some of this site take issue with Ezra Levant and Rebel Media!

Ezra should get accredited, blah, blah, blah!

Interesting to see what some of our CBC accredited journalists have been doing:

“The Canadian Media Guild, the journalists’ union that dominates the CBC as well as the Canadian Press newswire, formally registered as a ‘third party’ campaign group with Elections Canada, similar to U.S. SuperPACs.”

“Every unionized journalist covering the election contributed part of their own salary to an anti-Harper election effort. Of course, not a single CBC election report disclosed this conflict of interest.”

Funny how some are so worried about Ezra and Rebel Media when OBVIOUSLY there are much bigger fish to fry!

    You pick yer toes don’t you! spoken like a true ConservaW#^@*….ezra is a yappy Jewboy….conservaw@*$# puppet boy..

Bill Phillips, read my previous post!

Maybe that’s something that you should write a column about! ;-)


The left are such an intolerant lot, vicious, vindictive school yard bullies who throw a tantrum when not getting their way. Perfect example is the minus on hart Guy’s comment on how the CBC operated during the election. Bill any comment on the CBC, oh right didn’t notice a thing, they were on the left side, you only comment on the right side.

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