The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) expresses concern that Bill C-20, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons), could be applied to broadcasters. If it is, the CAB argues that the legitimate use of hidden cameras by broadcasters during investigative journalism could be at risk. Below is an excerpt from the CAB’s August 28 submission on the matter to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. ...Bill C-20 proposes to create several new offences to protect children and other vulnerable persons. One of the proposed amendments would create a new offence of voyeurism. The proposed offence of voyeurism would prohibit surreptitious, non-consensual viewing, photographing or videotaping of another person where there is an expectation of privacy and if the viewing, photographing or videotaping is done for a sexual purpose or for the purpose of viewing or recording a person in a sexual context. Distribution of voyeuristic material would be prohibited. …In principle the CAB has no objection to making the act of voyeurism a criminal offence or making it an offence to distribute voyeuristic material. We support the right of Canadian citizens to be protected from such activities and to enjoy their right to privacy as guaranteed in our free and democratic society. …The purpose of using hidden cameras in investigative journalism is to allow broadcasters to uncover matters of public concern. While these matters of public concern may involve sexual content, the purpose behind the investigation is strictly to inform the public and not to view another person for a sexual purpose. …Our concern relates to the possibility that it (Bill C-20) could be applied to broadcasters. The CAB is concerned that the broadcasters’ legitimate use of hidden cameras during investigative journalism to uncover matters of public interest could be caught by the proposed offences of criminal voyeurism and distribution of voyeuristic images. The CAB supports and respects the concerns with privacy in this country. However, we also strongly believe that freedom of the press, a right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, must not be overlooked. Freedom of the press is an important right that sometimes must supercede privacy concerns when dealing with matters of public interest both with regular newscast coverage and documentaries. …Although Bill C-20 contains a public good defense which may appear at first glance to be similar to a journalistic exemption, the CAB believes a clear public interest or news gathering exception is absolutely critical in the context of broadcast journalism…If the legislation is not clear as to what constitutes legitimate journalistic activities, media will be reluctant to inform the Canadian public about certain public interest matters out of a respect for a law that is capable of an interpretation that goes beyond what is necessary to protect the privacy and exploitation of Canadians. Furthermore, the second part of the public good defence states that the "motives of the accused are irrelevant" in whether an act serves the public good. The fact that the motives of the accused are irrelevant would automatically disqualify the broadcaster from arguing that his or her motive in using a hidden camera was not for voyeuristic purposes, but rather to uncover a matter of public interest. …The CAB urges the committee to recommend that a public interest or newsgathering exception in relationship to the first two branches of the offence of criminal voyeurism in the Criminal Code be provided for broadcasters. We also recommend that this exception be available to broadcasters with respect to the distribution of voyeuristic images in the context of broadcasting a news story or documentary to the public. The CAB recommends that the following elements be incorporated into a public interest or newsgathering defence: Matter must be of public interest; Person must be engaged in news gathering or journalistic activities on behalf of a media organization; and Distribution is for the purpose of broadcasting a news story or documentary to the public.