I received an email from a very “in” person (i.e. a good source). The mail writes:

On MAY 10th, 2010, this open letter will appear in the Canadian magazine “The Walrus” (June and July/August issues). If you don’t know it, it’s like the New Yorker of Canada! The letter is also visible on JPS Film’s Facebook page (they who have sponsored this advertisement).


Dear Citizens of Democracy,

One of the fundamental signs of a healthy democracy is the transparency of and access to information. Among documentary filmmakers there is growing concern that this is being undermined and restricted.

Documentary filmmaking is about sharing stories that are either being ignored, suppressed or forgotten, to entice public dialogue and interest. We feel that part of our role as documentary filmmakers is to uphold these tenants of democratic dialogue. In a healthy democracy social, economic and political criticism and analysis is vital.

Unfortunately, even in democratic countries such as ours, a collusion of power entities are degrading these democratic values and inhibiting the release of films. Our profession, like democracy itself, is being obstructed.

We are writing this open letter to alert the public of the following problems:

• Intimidation, pressure and harassment of filmmakers and those they interview, especially when corporate financial interests are at stake;
• Conflicts of interest that hinder films from securing Errors and Omissions insurance (insurance companies avoid insuring films who investigate their biggest clients. Without
• E&O insurance, it is very difficult to release films in North America);
• Lawsuits that block the release of films denouncing corporate crimes;
• Consolidation of media outlets, unchecked by government;
• Broadcasters who place advertising dollars and lowest common denominator thinking before freedom of speech and information;
• Government agencies delaying and avoiding the transmission of public information or not making government officials available for questioning;

Emmanuelle Schick Garcia (Canada/France)—The Idiot Cycle
Peter Wintonick (Canada)—Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
Fredrik Gertten (Sweden)—BANANAS!*
Hubert Sauper (France)—Darwin’s Nightmare
Matthew Groff (U.S.A.)—U.N. Me
JoAnne Fishburn (Canada/UK)—All-Living-Things.org
Erik Gandini (Sweden/Italy)—Videocracy
Violeta Ayala ” Dan Fallshaw (Australia)—Stolen
Mat Whitecross (U.K.)—The Road to Guantanmo
Tracy Worcester (U.K.)—Pig Business
Neasa Ni Chianain (Ireland)—Fairytale of Kathmandu

PAID FOR BY JPS FILMS (Japanese Pop Songs is based out of Paris)

Given my recent posts on MinterDial.com about the role of transparency in society and on Wikileaks, this above letter certainly follows in the same vein. What are your thoughts about this letter?

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