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Ontario ombudsman to investigate incident with Niagara reporter

Last Updated Dec 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm PDT

TORONTO – Ontario’s ombudsman will investigate an incident in which Niagara Region staff seized a reporter’s equipment and called police.

The municipality apologized to a St. Catharines Standard reporter last week, saying the incident took place after staff said they found two electronic devices on a media table during a closed council session and one appeared to be recording.

The St. Catharines Standard reported that municipal staff called police and officers forced one of the newspaper’s reporters to leave the region’s headquarters.

Ombudsman Paul Dube says he will conduct a formal investigation into the incident in which he says a journalist and a citizen blogger were reportedly asked to leave and their property was seized.

Dube says the incident has raised “serious concerns about the actions and processes of the municipality, and has understandably drawn high public interest.”

The ombudsman will also look at whether the meeting itself violated open meeting requirements.