The Canadian Supreme Court ordered the reporter's journalist to hand over to the police his communications with Farah Shirndon, the deceased ISIL fighter who was charged with terrorism-related offenses.
In a unanimous decision issued Friday, the court confirmed the potential "frightening" effects of such a decision on journalists and sources, but in this particular case stated that "the state's interest in the investigation and prosecution of crime is greater than the right to privacy of the media in the collection and the spread of the news. "
Justice Michael Molwever wrote that the production order for the Ben Mucuk records should continue, as his work did not include talks of "record" or "not for attaching".
"Essential, there is no suggestion that something the source said was intended or perceived as being" on record, "the statement said.
"The behavior of the journalist shows that the relationships were not confidential in any way."
In a statement published after the announcement of the decision, the Vice Prime Minister called it "a gloomy day of press freedom, which is a basic principle of democracy".
Machuc, a journalist, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the verdict.
STATEMENT: I am deeply disappointed with today's judgment, not only as an applicant in this case, nor a journalist, but as a citizen of Canada. It's really a gloomy day for freedom of the press around the world at a time when journalism is undoubtedly under attack everywhere.
– Ben Makuch (@BMakuch) November 30, 2018
Makuc, a national security reporter with deputy journalists, came into contact with Shirndon in 2014. A year later, police said they believed Shirndon had left Canada in March 2014 to fight ISIL in Syria.
The journalist incorporated Shirndon's social media and ultimately persuaded him to explain some of ISIL's online recruiting strategies, which led to the publication of three articles that ended, including a journalist in a long legal battle with the Canadian federal police force.
In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) submitted information on obtaining an order (ITO) that prompts Vicom News and Makuch to produce all of its communications with Shirdon including messenger conversations, screen capture and all other computer records.
Deputy News went to court to appeal against the order but lost.
.@rcmpgrcpolice is trying to get me to turn over the information on my IP source. We did not say. Now we go to court. https://t.co/LOtMNgnksZ
– Ben Makuch (@BMakuch) October 30, 2015
Shirdon was indicted for absconding for terrorist offenses in 2015, but is believed to have been killed in an American air strike that year.
Machuch received support from numerous freedom of the press organizations during the legal battle.
On Friday, CWA Canada, a union representing journalists, called it a worrisome decision.
"I can not express myself strongly enough how disturbed I am from this verdict" said CWA President Martin O'Brien.
"The police have an important job to do to protect us from crime, but they can not expect journalists to do the job for them. The media are not, nor would they ever be a state hand".
Public Security Ministerial spokesman Ralph Gudelle said the department is considering a court decision, according to the PS.
In a statement, the CCHR said it "respects the trial and the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and will not comment further."
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPY) said this decision was "an extremely worrying precedent and a blow to the freedom of the press in Canada".
"The order undermines the independence of journalists and can prevent sources from talking to reporters, which in turn will loosen the flow of news to the public," he added.