News organizations are hoping for a landmark ruling, after the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear a case involving the confidentiality of journalistic sources. The case involves a supposed conflict between police criminal investigations and freedom of the press. The dispute focuses on a brown envelope sent to National Post reporter Andrew McIntosh in the midst of the “Shawinigate” conflict of interest scandal around then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.
Said a story in the National Post: “The RCMP believed one of the loan documents received by Mr. McIntosh from a confidential source was forged. Police asked for the original document as well as the envelope in which it was sent, to conduct DNA tests to determine who the source might be, as part of an “uttering a forged document” investigation. The newspaper refused to turn over the document or the envelope and police obtained a search warrant in July 2002.”
The Globe and Mail called the ruling “a major triumph” for news media organizations that fear a lower court ruling on the case “would put a chill into the relationship between journalists and their sources.”