CoyoteCampRaid Wet'suwet'en Coastal GasLink The Narwhal 01

Amber Bracken is out of jail, but we have a long battle ahead

The need for independent, on-the-ground reporting is more important than ever amid threats to press freedom in Canada. That's why we're turning to our readers to ask for help

With freedom of the press under attack in Canada, we here at The Narwhal are grateful for all of you, our loyal readers. (Especially the 6,000 of you who sent messages to the federal public safety minister, calling for an investigation into RCMP conduct in recent days.)

When we sent photojournalist Amber Bracken to Wet’suwet’en territory to report on one of the biggest stories in the country, we didn’t anticipate she’d become part of the story. Then, Friday came: the RCMP arrested Amber and 14 others, including Wet’suwet’en land defenders, as officers enforced an injunction for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

It should go without saying: journalism is not a crime. Amber was one of the only journalists present to document a story of vital public interest — and the RCMP took her away in handcuffs, despite the fact she clearly identified herself as a journalist.

The actions of the RCMP prevented us from publishing photos last week of police destroying the door of a tiny home with an axe and a chainsaw, and then pointing assault rifles at Wet’suwet’en people defending their unceded territory. While Amber sat in jail for three days, she could have been reporting on an alleged assault on Indigenous Rights, and the role of government officials and a private gas pipeline company.

Amber has finally been released from jail, on the condition she appears on contempt of court charges in February. But we have a long battle ahead of us in defending Amber — and, ultimately, the right for all journalists to report from within injunction zones.

And we need your help: our insurance won’t cover the legal fees for Amber’s ordeal. So I’m turning to all of you, our most loyal readers: will you help ensure The Narwhal can continue to stand up for press freedom by becoming a member today? As a token of our appreciation, anyone who signs up by midnight on Friday will get a Narwhal toque.

Amber was on the ground documenting the fight of Wet’suwet’en land defenders against a pipeline that runs directly through their unceded territory. As legal experts have noted, the restrictions on press freedoms are by their very nature an effort to silence land defenders seeking to assert their Indigenous Rights.

That’s why I’m reaching out to you to keep The Narwhal’s fearless, independent reporting alive and well — especially at a time when those in power want to limit our freedoms. As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, we rely on everyday people, not advertisers, to help us shine a light in darkness.

Will you become a member today and stand up for press freedom?

Thanks for believing in what we do,

Emma Gilchrist

P.S. Our existing 3,700 members provide us with the reliable cash flow necessary to send Amber to Wet’suwet’en territory in the first place. But here’s the thing: Amber’s legal battle isn’t our first and it won’t be our last. That’s why we need you to become a member for any amount you can afford. If you sign up by Friday at midnight, we’ll even pop a Narwhal toque in the mail for you.

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You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired five journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 3,700 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

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