As It Happens

VICE journalist fights RCMP order for notes on Canadian ISIS fighter

Ben Makuch says he could face fines or jail time unless he turns over correspondence and notes detailing his contact with Canadian ISIS militant Farah Mohamed Shirdon.
VICE journalist Ben Makuch LEFT and alledged ISIS fighter Farah Mohamed Shirdon RIGHT. (Ben Makuch/Twitter, Canadian Press)

The RCMP has been trying to get VICE News journalist Ben Makuch to hand over his correspondence with a Canadian fighting for ISIS since February.

A national security gag-order has prevented us from reporting on this story until now.

Makuch tells As It Happens host Carol Off that the order is a, "Gross violation of a journalist's work. It's not good for the public if a source in the future is afraid to talk to a journalist."

Makuch tracked down the Canadian ISIS fighter online and regularly exchanged messages with him, but now the RCMP wants any information Makuch has on Farah Mohamed Shirdon. 

Last October, Shirdon told Makuch, "Canadians at home shall face the brunt of the retaliation. If you are in this crusader alliance against Islam and Muslims you shall see your streets filled with blood." VICE later aired a Skype interview with Shirdon. 

The RCMP have already charged the 22-year old Shirdon with six counts in-absentia related to his professed support of ISIS. 

Makuch says he has written publicly about most of his correspondence with Shirdon, which makes it hard to understand why they are asking him to turn over all his notes.

"I'm not sure why they want all this information," he says. "It seems like a fishing expedition."

VICE and Makuch are fighting the RCMP order in court. If Makuch is found in contempt for not turning over the information, he could face fines or jail time. 


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