Who’s a journalist? P.E.I. human rights case may have some answers

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

Canada: Free $30 Oye! Times readers Get FREE $30 to spend on Amazon, Walmart…
USA: Free $30 Oye! Times readers Get FREE $30 to spend on Amazon, Walmart…A human rights complaint in Prince Edward Island may define who is considered a journalist — or at least who is allowed in the P.E.I. legislative press gallery.

By Eric Mark Do, The Canadian Journalism Project

In October 2009, Stephen Pate, a local blogger and disability advocate was kicked out of the press gallery by a vote of 11-2. He filed a complaint against the legislative press gallery a year later alleging that it was an act of discrimination based on his disability. Pate has post-polio syndrome and he says he’s confined to a wheelchair for much of the time. The discrimination allegations have not been proven in court or before a human rights panel.

The circumstances leading up to Pate’s removal from the gallery bring into question what a member of the press is allowed to do.

Stephen Pate Farmers Market 373x430 Who’s a journalist? P.E.I. human rights case may have some answers photo

Stephen Pate offering Disability Fast Facts at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market April 2007

Pate is the leader of Disability Alert, a group that advocates for rights of the disabled. That group’s blog is now a part of Pate’s NJN Network, a blogging site. He is a director for both organizations.

It seems that the press gallery sees him as an advocate and not a journalist. But Pate argues that advocating for disabled rights is not a conflict for a member of the press gallery. Pate cites former broadcaster and current lieutenant governor of Ontario David Onley, who also has post-polio syndrome, as an example of a journalist who advocated for disabled rights.

When Pate was a member of the press gallery in September 2009, he published a fake press release on his site and sent it to media outlets around P.E.I. stating the Government of P.E.I. formed a six-figure public private partnership to help disabled individuals have better access at a local library. Pate contends it was a satirical piece; the current online version has disclaimers at the beginning and end, but one member of the gallery said there were no disclaimers when it was first published. Less than a month later Pate’s press pass was taken away.

Wayne Thibodeau, press gallery president and a reporter for the Guardian, says he doesn’t agree with Pate that he is a journalist and expressed concern that his actions jeopardized the independence and freedom of the press in P.E.I.  To read more, please go to J-Source.ca

For additional comment see Time For Journalism To Give Up Myth Of Neutral Perspective by Sherwin Arnott.

and  CBC Blocks Human Rights Hearing

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

Share with friends
You can publish this article on your website as long as you provide a link back to this page.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.