News Nanaimo is identifying the woman arrested for allegedly uttering threats at City Hall as departing city manager Tracy Samra.
RCMP arrested Ms. Samra on Wednesday evening. She was released on an undertaking not to have any contact with several individuals, among them members of city council and former staff members.
The decision to name Ms. Samra was made after careful consideration. Typically, we would not name a suspect until they are formally charged unless there was a pressing safety concern. We are not aware of any such concern.
However, this reporter is one of the individuals Ms. Samra is barred from having direct or indirect contact with. This condition was placed on Ms. Samra by the RCMP with her agreement.
On Friday, News Nanaimo was informed that Ms. Samra is prohibited from providing comment to us even through a third-party.
Consequently, it will be impossible for News Nanaimo to continue reporting on important current news developments involving Ms. Samra without disclosing that she is effectively being denied the right to respond to comment requests due to her release conditions.
News Nanaimo will be seeking to have Ms. Samra’s release conditions modified so that they do not interfere with Charter-protected press freedoms and her right of reply.
However, since we cannot be sure when this will be done, it is important to inform our readers why our future coverage will include the following statement when Ms. Samra is a subject of our news or opinion articles:
“Disclosure: News Nanaimo is unable to obtain comment from Ms. Samra because she is currently prohibited from contacting this reporter directly or through a third-party under the terms of an arrest release undertaking. This reporter did not request these conditions. News Nanaimo’s position is that the release conditions violate press freedoms and Ms. Samra’s right of reply.”