Inquiry into journalists’ sources hearing from Quebec police chiefs

Inquiry into journalists’ sources hearing from Quebec police chiefs

MONTREAL — The provincial inquiry studying protection for journalists’ sources is hearing from police chiefs this week.

Quebec provincial police director Martin Prud’homme is testifying today at the inquiry known as the Chamberland Commission.

He says police exercise great care on occasions when it has to share information with the province’s Public Security Department.

Prud’homme is one of four members of provincial police brass expected to testify today.

Meanwhile, Montreal police Chief Philippe Pichet is expected to have his turn Tuesday.

The inquiry was created after several revelations of police departments spying on journalists’ phone records in an attempt to identify sources speaking to reporters.

The inquiry, presided by Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Jacques Chamberland, will hear testimony from actors on all sides including law enforcement, media and the courts before reporting back to the government with recommendations by March 1, 2018.

It has already heard that word of warrants to collect data from the smartphones of several prominent journalists created a chilling effect on newsrooms and sent sources into a panic.

Also during its first week of hearings, the inquiry heard two senior sitting judges defend the work done by justices of the peace who sign off on warrants.

The inquiry has heard that police frequently solicit telecommunications companies for certain data of its mobile users, with the requests sometimes being quite extensive.

Phone company representatives testified the type of information typically given is the source of incoming and outgoing calls, the times of such calls and the duration.

The Canadian Press

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