Halifax Media Co-op journalist Miles Howe was released by police Wednesday (November 27) after his third arrest at a Indigenous First Nation anti-fracking protest in the Atlantic coast province of New Brunswick.
The Elsipogtog First Nation has been protesting SWN Resouces Canada’s exploration in preparation for a fracking operation. Fracking is a way of extracting oil from shale deposits via hydraulic fracturing of rocks and rock formations.
The protests have been going on for weeks. The police presence has been strong in enforcing injunctions granted to the company to do its exploratory work. SWN Resources Canada is a subsidiary of the Texas-based Southwestern Energy Company.
When Howe was arrested in October, Pen Canada, the writers’ organisation fighting for free expression around the world, condemned his arrest. In a press release on October 23, 2013 the organisation said it was “concerned with the wrongful treatment of journalists during recent anti-fracking protests at Elsipogtog, New Brunswick.”
“No one in Canada may be arrested for the simple act of photographing or filming in public places or on private property that is open to the public,” said William Kowalski, Chair of PEN Canada’s National Affairs Committee.
On Wednesday, after his release Howe tweeted: “I cannot be within 1km of protest site or equipment, so am finished from an on the ground perspective. This is third arrest and I’m tired.”
I cannot be within 1km of protest site or equipment, so am finished from an on the ground perspective. This is third arrest and I'm tired.
— Miles Howe (@MilesHowe) November 27, 2013
Mainstream media has not consistently covered the protests, and Howe’s coverage was very much appreciated by anti-fracking activists. Many thanked him for his support on Twitter and Facebook, when news of his release came out.
At least one media outlet has been warned by police about keeping their distance. Canada’s national public broadcaster CBC was told to stay at a distance from SWN thumper trucks, 250 metres from front and back of trucks and 20 metres to the sides. This is the same rule contained in an injunction granted the company to keep anti-fracking activists away from the exploration work.
— Jennifer Choi (@JenniferChoiCBC) November 27, 2013
Media Co-op - Journalist Miles Howe Arrested in Elsipogtog, Arrested for the third time for covering shale gas protests – here
Pen Canada - Treatment of journalists at anti-fracking protest raises concern – here
Miles Howe on Twitter - @MilesHowe