Journalist Association rebukes Ontario municipality gone mute

Town of Pelham stonewalling called “fundamentally disrespectful of press freedom”


The Canadian Association of Journalists, a national advocacy group promoting transparency and the public’s right to know, has criticized actions recently taken by the Town of Pelham against the Voice, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s reporting.

For some weeks, no elected Town official, nor Town staffer, has responded to or even acknowledged receipt of email and voicemail questions from the newspaper.

Over the course of a month, approximately 500 copies of the paper delivered to Town Hall were deliberately trashed. A worktable assigned to reporters inside Council chambers was removed without explanation two weeks ago. Faced with resident backlash, a different table was present at the most recent Council meeting, held last night, March 19.

Repeated requests for Town comment on their silent treatment, and the trashing of newspapers, have also not been responded to or acknowledged.

The Voice, founded in 1997, is an independently owned weekly, serving Pelham, a community of 17,000 located in the Niagara region. The paper recently learned it is to receive an award in April for Best Investigative News Story from the Ontario Community Newspapers Association. For the last year the Voice has reported on controversy surrounding dubious real estate development activities engaged in by the Town at the direction of elected officials and staff.

The Voice first reported on Pelham’s stonewalling on March 14.  A follow-up story appeared in the March 21 issue.

The CAJ’s statement may be found here.


About the Author

The Voice of Pelham
Pelham's independent news source from the heart of Niagara.