In Canada and the United States, freedom of the press is among the most fundamental rights of citizens; yet, the exact contours of this freedom are still hotly debated. One contested question concerns the right of a journalist to protect the identity of his or her confidential sources. In Canada, two recent Supreme Court decisions established that a journalist may have a privilege to protect the identity of his or her confidential sources. This Note argues that the case-by-case determination with a presumption in favor of disclosure that these two cases establish is insufficient to protect the strong interest in a free press, which is bolstered by the ability to use confidential sources. Rather, Canada should legislatively enact a shield law based on those of many U.S. states in which the privilege is extended broadly and is nearly absolute, with only limited circumstances in which the state can compel disclosure.
Jason D. Burke,
Shielding the Public Interest: What Canada Can Learn from the United States in the Wake of National Post and Globe & Mail,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.