Ezra Levant is at it again. Only this time we aren’t rolling our eyes and quickly closing the Internet browser. No, this time we actually agree with him. Hear us out.
Last week Levant’s right-wing online news and opinion outlet The Rebel complained to the Alberta premier’s office about three incidents where Rebel staff were allegedly barred from government events. In its response last Friday, the government defended its policy.
“Our client’s position remains that your client (The Rebel) and those who identify as being connected to (The Rebel) are not journalists and are not entitled to access media lock-ups or other such events,” read a response from an Alberta Ministry of Justice lawyer, posted by The Rebel.
After a few days of outrage, the Alberta government lifted its ban on reporters from The Rebel.
“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from Albertans and media over the course of the last two days and it’s clear we made a mistake,” the premier’s office said in a statement.
While his “reckless disregard for the truth” and bigotry don’t make Levant the best crusader for press freedom, he’s right to argue that the Alberta government should not be in the game of determining who is and who is not a journalist. That opens the door to the government or press gallery of the day to disallow journalists it disagrees with.
The whole affair strikes a chord with us because DeSmog Canada has been on the receiving end of the same kind of treatment here in B.C. — stuck in the middle of a shifting debate about what constitutes a “media outlet” or a “journalist.”
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