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Regina Leader-Post
journalists punished

Several Regina Leader-Post journalists have been punished by Global CanWest bosses for standing up to the censorship practices of the conglomerate.

The ten staff reporters pulled their bylines from their stories last month to protest changes made by managing editors to a story critical of the corporate bosses' policies. In that article, Toronto Star reporter Haroon Siddiqui was quoted in a presentation to University of Regina journalism students that Global CanWest practices "chilling" forms of censorship against columns not entirely in line with the bosses' views.

The original Leader-Post article on the address was written as "CanWest Global performed 'chilling' acts of censorship when it refused to publish several columns containing viewpoints other than those held by the media empire, a Toronto Star columnist said Monday."

But editors then changed it to read: "A Toronto Star columnist says it's OK for CanWest Global to publish its owners' view as long as the company is prepared to give equal play to opposing opinions."--which, according to the reporters, he did not say.

However, corporate spokespersons say the Star reporter didn't have his facts in order, and that the firm will consider publishing views other than its national editorials and has even on occasion paid for such columns.

Four of the journalists spoke to other media outlets regarding the incident and the their protest were reportedly suspended for five days without pay. The others were given letters of reprimand.

CanWest has come under fire for its decision to produce a national editorial written at corporate headquarters in Winnipeg that run in Southam dailies in 13 cities once a week. The newspapers are not permitted to publish any opposing views or information to these without permission from the headquarters.

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