For those who may not have heard, Wednesday, May 3 was World Press Freedom Day. Apart from professional journalists, most people would not classify the event among the more significant commemorations of the year.

But we all ought to do so – not least because freedom of the press is being violated in our own fair Dominion. Yes, the right of citizens to be informed and to debate matters of public interest – an absolute necessity in any free society today – is imperilled in Canada.

Most of the media commentaries on World Press Freedom Day, as far as we could tell, focused predictably on the censorship and oppression journalists experience in banana republics and various other less “progressive” countries. Unfortunately, we needn’t look beyond our own borders to find the State suppressing information it doesn’t like.

As we reported last November and December, three Canadian journalists were arrested and charged while on assignment at a pro-life demonstration in Toronto. Two of them, in fact, are associated with this newspaper: Sue Careless, one of our regular contributors and a member of our editorial board, and Steve Jalsevac, the director of our on-line service, LifeSite. The third, Gord Truscott, was covering the demonstration as part of a book he has written on Linda Gibbons, one of Canada’s leading pro-life activists.

Although none of the three was violating any law (the no-protest “bubble-zone” injunction outside abortuaries does not apply to reporters), and none of them got in the way of the police activity at the demonstration, they now face expensive, stressful, and seemingly interminable trials.

If you’re not upset about this state of affairs, you should be. It’s outrageous enough that peaceful pro-life witnessing has been outlawed – now the government wants to silence all information about it.

Try to imagine what it’s been like for these three law-abiding citizens and responsible reporters, to be hauled away by the police and dragged before the courts, simply for doing their jobs. Try to imagine facing a possible $50,000 legal bill, when you have a family to look after.

And please consider what you can do to help. Two legal defence funds have been set up, one for Sue Careless, and one for Steve Jalsevac and Gord Truscott. (Sue Careless is being tried separately.) The Sue Careless Legal Defence Fund may be reached care of Rodger Cummins 439 Briar Hill Ave. Toronto M5N 1M8 tel. (416) 487-7507 fax (416) 487-0029 e-mail:

The Jalsevac-Truscott Legal Defence Fund may be reached care of The Interim, at the address listed below.

Please, please give. And pray. It would be tough to find a cause more worthy than these.

David Curtin, Editor-in-chief