Death of a Watchdog, Death of Democracy

Joshua Kepkay


In a democracy, journalists are expected to safeguard the public interest and to provide truth and accountability to citizens. The media should not function as a megaphone for someone else’s agenda. It is meant to have an active place in society. But the career span of an investigative reporter is relatively short, and maintaining the freedom from censorship, in Sean Holman’s case at least, means going it alone as a freelancer. Unfortunately, the rise and fall of Public Eye demonstrates that independent investigative journalism is not a sustainable practice in Canada. Times Colonist reporter Lindsay Kines shares Holman’s convictions regarding the media’s watchdog function. To do good investigative reporting a journalist needs at least three to four months to focus on a story. But that is not good business – a lesson that Holman learned the hard way after receiving only $500 for his 2004 Jack Webster Award-winning five-month investigation into what became known as the Doug Walls affair.


media; democracy; investigative reporting; journalism

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Copyright (c) 2012 Joshua Kepkay


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria