Vancouver's Force Four Entertainment issued today (March 22) the following statement on Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, which recently made headlines after Canada Border Service Agency immigration raids were filmed by the show's cameras:
There have been complete mischaracterizations and false information reported this past week about Border Security: Canada’s Front Line. Border Security is a documentary series – not a reality series and in absolutely no way are any situations orchestrated for the cameras. We only film events that are already taking place – and that would be taking place even if the camera wasn’t present.
No footage from the CBSA enforcement action on March 13th has ever been used in any television program or released publicly in any way. The names and faces of these men have not been shown to anyone by the Border Security producers, Force Four Entertainment, the National Geographic Channel or the CBSA. However, these individuals have been identified in the media by themselves in interviews and press conferences, and by activists.
Very strict controls are in place to ensure that privacy rights are protected, and that only those people who agree to be on camera are identifiable if they are included in a program. Episodes go through a minimum of five layers of scrutiny before they are broadcast to make sure that no one’s rights are violated, no laws are broken, and no CBSA investigations or national security issues are compromised. Just because something is filmed doesn’t mean the footage will end up in the program. The identities of the individuals detained last week were only revealed by the detainees themselves to various news outlets.
Border Security: Canada's Front Line is currently in production of its second season. No episodes for the second season have been completed, much less aired on television.
We are proud of the series we’re making and the insight it has given millions of Canadians into the work of the Canada Border Services Agency.
The following addresses specific questions and inaccurate information that has been reported about the series and last week’s event.
About the Series
- Border Security is a documentary – not a reality series.
- The production does not influence events.
- No situations are ‘created’ for the cameras.
- We only film events that are already taking place – and that would take place even if the cameras weren’t present.
- We don’t interfere or otherwise participate in the events we film. We do not speak to the officers, or the people they are interacting with, until after the examination is finished. This is strictly enforced by the CBSA and is dictated by our agreement with them. This is much more restrictive than the conditions under which most documentaries film.
- Subject to national security, investigation and prosecution-related restrictions, final editorial control rests with the producers by written agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (the “CBSA”).
- Thirteen episodes of Border Security have aired since last September, telling sixty-four separate stories. Only three of these 64 stories involved Inland Enforcement, the team we were with on March 13, 2013.
- Very strict controls are in place to ensure that privacy rights are protected, and that only those people who agree to be on camera are identifiable if their stories are included in an episode.
- Episodes go through a minimum of five layers of scrutiny before they are broadcast to make sure that no one’s rights are violated, no laws are broken, and no CBSA investigations or national security issues are compromised.
- Just because something is filmed doesn’t mean it will end up in the program.
- The footage of this particular event has not been put in a program or broadcast anywhere.
About the Incident
- In the event that took place last week, the CBSA’s Inland Enforcement team was pursuing one individual who is alleged to have repeatedly entered the country illegally, had a significant criminal history, and was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
- In the course of trying to apprehend him, CBSA officers went to the job site where he was working. Our crew was following the story of his apprehension only.
- It was a coincidence that seven other people who were alleged to be working illegally were on that job site.
- There was no violence, no one had a camera put in their face, and no one ever attempted to push the camera away as has been stated.
- There was only one job site investigated that day.
- Our crew consisted of two people.
- Our crew never went to the homes of the detainees, nor tried to film the detainees anywhere other than at the construction site
- The production did not and has not identified any of those people, although some have subsequently conducted interviews and been shown by other media.
- Our director did not speak to any of the detained men until they were in custody at a CBSA facility. After explaining the program to them, the director asked six of the eight men arrested if they would sign a release.
- To avoid any sense of pressure or coercion, no CBSA personnel or camera crew were present for this encounter. This is our standard procedure.
- The releases were provided in Spanish; our release is translated into 16 different languages, and includes a short plain language summary on the first page.
- Of the six men who were asked, three signed releases. One man requested a Spanish translator and this was provided.
- From the beginning of the series, we and the CBSA agreed that the show would never use any stories or footage of refugee claimants. And we haven’t. We are never informed of who is or isn’t a refugee claimant; these stories are simply never made available to us.