This month, Osgoode law professor Jamie Cameron's work will culminate in an unprecedented interdisciplinary gathering of media lawyers, journalists and scholars meeting on Friday, October 14 at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to examine the role of—and pressures on–the media in a democratic society. Kimberley Noble reports.

TORONTO//By Kimberley Noble — For much of the past year, Osgoode law professor Jamie Cameron has been delving into the history, nature and implications of the controversial confidential newsgathering processes that have recently put journalists into, rather than behind, the headlines.

Cameron’s passion was ignited last year when she represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in the National Post and Globe and Mail court cases defending journalists’ legal right to protect confidential sources.

This month, her work will culminate in an unprecedented interdisciplinary gathering of media lawyers, journalists and scholars meeting on Friday, October 14 at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to examine the role of—and pressures on–the media in a democratic society.

The day-long conference, called The Law and Ethics of Investigative Journalism, promises to be ground-breaking, enlightening and practical. “I wanted to explore what obstacles the law places in the way of investigative journalism, and to ask what changes are needed to protect the newsgathering process,” Cameron said. “At the same time, I wanted to check in with journalists, ask what their issues are and also take a look at what role ethics plays in investigative journalism.

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“Little did I know, when I got started, that WikiLeaks would lead to the News of the World scandal, or that Quebec would initiate a public process to consider whether to license and regulate journalists – which of course opens up a debate about who is a journalist and whether those who blog, tweet and use social media can be considered journalists, for purposes of claiming any privileges that are enjoyed by members of the press.”

The conference will bring together people at the leading edge of their professions–investigative reporters Linden MacIntyre, Harvey Cashore, Robert Cribb, Kevin Donovan and Juilan Sher; foreign correspondent/interviewer Anna-Maria Tremonti and Toronto Star public editor Kathy English; as well as top media lawyers and scholars from Canada, the U.S. and U.K. — and provide journalists, laws, teachers and students with a chance to discuss the latest developments and how issues of press freedom are affecting the best work in all three fields.

Sponsored by Osgoode; York; Torstar; the Law Commission Ontario; the Ontario Press Council; and the Harry Arthurs Collaborative Grant, the conference is open to journalists, lawyers, teachers and students. For more details and registration click here. Download the conference's program by clicking here.