Open Letter to the Montreal Police from Independent Media Institutions

February 2nd, 2008 | Posted in Canada, Quebec, Politics, Repression, Resistance, Solidarity
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    Independent media institutions in Montreal condemn the arrest of
    independent journalist Stefan Christoff.

tadamonarrest.jpg

    Montreal, 2007.

On Tuesday November 27th, Montreal police arrested independent reporter Stefan Christoff as he left a demonstration in front of the Montreal Congress Centre. Christoff was reporting on the protests, which took place at the Montreal hearings of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on ‘reasonable accommodation’.

Christoff is a respected Montreal journalist who reports regularly in Canadian and Quebec publications and on Montreal radio. His articles on poverty in Quebec, on the Middle East, and Quebec immigration issues have been distributed widely throughout North America.

Witnesses at the event attest that several police officers tackled the reporter to the ground then proceeded to take him into custody. Christoff was subsequently charged with two separate counts of assault, including one count of assault with a ‘weapon’ and ‘disturbing the peace’. Christoff categorically denies these allegations and witnesses to the event claim that this was a peaceful demonstration in which both the elderly and children were present.

The very serious nature of the criminal charges brought against Stefan Christoff, if unsubstantiated, can only be seen as a blatant attempt to stifle Christoff’s voice as a ground-breaking independent journalist and social justice activist in Montreal. We express particular concern that multiple witness accounts indicate that Christoff was arrested as he left the event, and that he was targeted for arrest.

The targeting and harassment of any journalist by police is unacceptable. Christoff’s record as a journalist and social justice advocate in Montreal is in the public record. We demand that the charges brought against Stefan Christoff be dropped.

Naomi Klein, Journalist and Author of the Shock Doctrine and No Logo
Jamie O’Meara, Editor in chief, Hour Magazine
Meg Hewings, Assistant Editor, Hour Magazine
Isa Tousignant, Arts & Culture Editor, Hour Magazine
Fortner Anderson, CKUT Board of Directors on behalf of Radio CKUT
Grethchen King, Community News Coordinator at Radio CKUT
Louise Burns, Staff Representative for Radio CKUT
Dru Oja Jay, Editor, Dominion Newspaper
Derrick O’Keefe, Editor, rabble.ca
Alexandra Samur, Assistant Editor, rabble.ca
Kim Elliott, Publisher, rabble.ca
Meagan Perry, Rabble Podcast Network, rabble.ca/rpn
Maureen Clare Murphy, Managing Editor, The Electronic Intifada
Matthew Cassel, Assistant Editor, The Electronic Intifada
Ali Abunimah, co-founder, The Electronic Intifada
David Barsamian, Director, Alternative Radio
Andrea Schmidt, Independent Researcher/Producer
Aaron Mate, Producer, Democracy Now!
Terna Gyuse, Assistant Producer, Free Speech Radio News
Shannon Young, Headlines Editor, Free Speech Radio News

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