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What Do They Have to Hide?

October 30, 2008 – DOC Québec has just learned that the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) has refused a documentary crew access to the public hearings presently taking place in Havre Saint-Pierre.

The director of the documentary «Looking for Power», Nicolas Boisclair, was not allowed to film the questions being posed to the project’s promoter, Hydro-Québec, by the public despite BAPE giving access to other members of the press.

DOC Québec is puzzled by the distinction BAPE seems to be using when allowing complete access to the press while at the same time refusing access to a documentary crew. This refusal risks setting a dangerous precedent and DOC-Québec finds it astonishing that such a gesture is being made in 2008.  It suggests a significant extinguishing of the right to freedom of expression for Québec documentary filmmakers and begs the question – what were the reasons motivating this refusal?

With the documentary playing an essential role both in the media at large as well as in public debate, it would seem important to grant full media coverage which includes the deeper analysis that documentary films can offer.

We invite BAPE and the Minister of the Environment to reconsider their decision, thereby allowing Québec documentary filmmakers to do their work and to offer the public the opportunity to fully understand the present activities being examined by BAPE.

DOC Québec is concerned by the harmful consequences of this gesture.  The documentary «Looking For Power» is produced by Productions du Rapide-Blanc, a highly regarded Québec production company known for its films d’auteur as well as the positive contribution it has made in a number of public debates. It would be regrettable if this exclusion at these hearings amounts to a gagging of documentary filmmakers.

DOC is a non-profit organisation representing the concerns of independent filmmakers and videographers across Canada and comprises more than 850 members, 100 of whom work in Québec. DOC-Québec is a key player in Québec’s film production industry.

For informations: Roger Bourdeau – info@docquebec.ca

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