Media orgs issue warning letter

TORONTO — Complaining that Canuck news-gatherers are routinely turned back at the U.S. border, Canadian media orgs have banded together and threatened to reciprocate.

In an open letter to Gordon Giffin, U.S. Ambassador to Canada, the Global Television Network, Chum Television, the Sports Network, COB Discovery Channel, TVOntario and a handful of others express “outrage and frustration” that INS officials at the Canada/U.S. border routinely turn Canadian news-gatherers away because they decide the event they’re covering is “commercial entertainment.” (U.S. immigration policy lets in foreigners who are filming documentary, info or news programs for local consumption.)

The group says other foreign news orgs are allowed in, but claims it has documentation to prove that Canadians have been denied U.S. entry “on countless occasions.” The consortium claims the discrimination is arbitrary, that Canuck news-gatherers routinely lose work, and that Canadians are deprived of proper news coverage.

U.S. news-gatherers have none of these same problems getting into Canada, they state.

The letter ends with a threat: “We may recommend to our government, as a matter of reciprocity, to block American news and documentary crews who wish to come to Canada to film American projects or to report on Canadian news, in exactly the same manner as we are being denied access to the United States.”

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