Journalists: Both spied on and spying on


It’s been rough times for folks from the Fourth Estate, what with Trumpies on the attack and the ongoing fights over just what should — and shouldn’t — be published.

Two stories today focus on the role of the Fourth Estate, one in which journalists are the objects of police spying and the other in which journalists are being prosecuted for invading the privacy of others.

Canadian cops spy on Montreal reporters

First, a story in which journalists are targeted for doing just what they’re supposed to do.

From the Montreal Gazette:

The police spying crisis has gone from bad to worse, with Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux ordering an administrative investigation into the practises of the Sûreté du Québec dating back to 2013.

Coiteux made the announcement within hours of the provincial police force revealing it had tracked the calls and movements of six journalists that year after news reports based on leaks revealed Michel Arsenault, then president of Quebec’s largest labour federation, had his phone tapped.

The controversy began Monday after Montreal media outlet La Presse reported that police had tracked columnist Patrick Lagacé’s cellphone to find out if he was being leaked information from police officers.

The new investigation — to be captained by officials in the Public Security department — is over and above internal investigations Coiteux has already ordered into the work of the province’s police forces in the wake of the Lagacé scandal.

Coiteux said that to his knowledge, it is the first time in 20 years such a case has emerged involving the provincial police.

Danish journalists prosecuted for voyeurism

No, now the peeping through windows sort, but the sort of “journalism” in which the main purpose is to satisfy readers’ curiosity about the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

From Denmark comes a story about journalists facing the prospect of prison, via TheLocal.dk:

Two former editors of gossip magazine Se og Hør could each face two years in prison for their roles in what is widely considered to be Denmark’s largest ever media scandal.

Henrik Qvortup, the magazine’s former editor and one of Denmark’s most prominent political commentators, is accused of masterminding the illegal monitoring of credit cards belonging to Danish royals and celebrities.

“Qvortup was the man who got the idea and arranged the illegal agreement,” prosecutor Henrik Uhl Pedersen said in Glostrup District Court on Thursday, according to news agency Ritzau.

The so-called ‘Se og Hør case’ came to light in 2014 when former journalist Ken B. Rasmussen published a purportedly fictional book detailing how gossip magazine Se og Hør used credit card information to write stories about members of the royal family.

After a police probe, prosecutors filed charges against eight people as well as magazine owner Aller Media.

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