Police in Quebec secretly tracked phone calls received and made by six French-language reporters in 2013, broadcaster Radio-Canada reported on Wednesday, widening a media surveillance scandal that has already sparked furor in the Canadian province. Quebec’s provincial police force, the Surete du Quebec, obtained warrants to track the journalists’ calls but did not register their conversations, the public broadcaster reported on Wednesday. The police force did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.
Provincial and municipal police were tracking the calls to find the sources of leaks to media, including one case involving an officer implicated in a probe into allegations that cops had been fabricating evidence, Canadian media say.
Quebec’s premier pledged on Tuesday to reform legislation to better protect press freedom in the mostly-French language province, following reports that Montreal police were spying on a popular columnist at newspaper La Presse by tracking his cellphone calls, texts and whereabouts.
Legislation to be introduced by the provincial government would make it harder for police to obtain a search warrant against journalists, local media reported.