Monday, June 08, 2009

Awaiting the Raitt tape publication decision

Update (6:25 p.m.): Word leaking out...injunction claim dismissed...judge did not punt. Another judge standing up against the Harper Conservatives and their flawed sense of our democracy. Watch the Chronicle Herald for their now imminent story.

Update (7:00 p.m.): Chronicle Herald confirms injunction motion has been dismissed.

Earlier post:

You have to wonder about what the possible claim here is of this ex-aide to Minister Raitt over this tape. While we don't know the arguments yet due to that publications ban on the courtroom proceedings, they'll presumably soon be revealed to we Canadians in the form of the judge's ruling.

Sources said Raitt's former press secretary, Jasmine MacDonnell, is seeking an injunction to keep the tape from becoming public.

They said the tape was left on accidentally after recording an interview with journalists, and captured private comments by Raitt.

...

Sources said MacDonnell, who resigned last week after another gaffe, left her tape recorder in a House of Commons washroom weeks ago and it eventually made its way into the hands of an Ottawa-based reporter for the Chronicle-Herald.

So a private citizen is arguing that the tape is her personal property and should not be the subject of publication? Despite the tape having been made while in the employ of a cabinet minister? If you lose a tape recorder with such information on it, do you retain a right to prevent a news organization from publishing material of interest to the public on it?

There is a public interest at stake here, in the form of the freedom of the press to report on matters of public interest. And a private claim being made by a former government staffer. Will be interesting to see what the judge does here. The judge is in a tricky position but hopefully, it will not be a punt.

Update (10:00 p.m.): The privacy argument was indeed what MacDonnell put forth, see report here.

For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.