The push is on in Quebec to have journalists licensed.

The licensing system would create a “professional journalist” designation, backed by Quebec law, that provided for preferrential access to government circles and extra rights  to protection of sources.

But the harm to press freedom would be considerable.  How so?

Controlling sources to government and other public new conferences wold mute many journalists expecially those who did not have the credentials to

qualify for the press license.

The free flow of language wouldbe subject to state control.

Internet start-ups would be destroyed.

Consider what unlincensed journalists contributed to the Arab Spring.

Would a Quebec license reqire proficiency in French?

Quebec is rejecting the marketplace – of ideas, talents, desires, mony and ingenunity – and trying to replace it with state approved controls.

Should journlists be licensed?

What do you think?

Can any tom, dick or harry who starts a blog be called a journalist?


  1. 1

    pretty good insights. I’ll be sure to stop by and read more from you. thanks.

  2. 2

    What a thought provoking question!

    The only reason, would be to protect sources and it would create another elite group.
    Sources should be protected otherwise.
    I say no to licencing.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    One of Neil’s best blogs of which I am 100% in agreement.

    Of course, I will forever remind him of the following excerpt from the above whenever we have a discussion of the sign provisions of Bill 101:

    “The free flow of language would be subject to state control.”

  4. 4
    Angela Says:

    I’m a journalist and I think we are too precious about our profession (not many people are humble enough to leave it as a trade). There is lots and lots of poor practice by ‘real’ journalists, ranging from unthinking rewriting of press releases to hacking cellphones. Add to that the influx of ‘citizen journalists’ and professional journalists have to pull up their socks, and be seen to do so. Does registering doctors mean that health care is worse?

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Thanks for your informed comment. There is a sharp agrgument going on now about whether bloggers are journalists. Well, a great many years ago I started writing for a paper edited by Robertson Davies. Maybe hat’s as good as a license.

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