The Ontario Press Council: And, posts are down somewhat…

Although I like writing, and try to get two items up per day, that isn’t always possible.  Right now, it’s a combination of the snowstorm, and of meeting the deadline to file an Ontario Press Council complaint, (see “Canada: Blatant smearing of White people by the media” posted Jan. 3rd, 2013, and “Racist vandals and the police as political performers” posted Dec. 30th, 2011, links below.)

We had a heavy snowfall last night, and walking downtown to mail the OPC complaint letter this morning was a lengthy and tiring endeavour – plus I still have to go back out and get the path from the sidewalk to the front steps shovelled before the post office letter carrier gets cranky.

And although the City does the sidewalk for me, there are plenty of roads for them to dig out first, so I will have to try to clear it a little bit now myself before someone gets hurt. Plus there are a couple of routine house matters to attend to, and a tax return to file.  Even when you are retired, you are still busy!

As for the Ontario Press Council, I seem to remember that the Toronto Star was behind that in the late Sixties, as there was political pressure for them to clean up their act, and the Star wanted to set up a self-policing arrangement that would avoid the imposition of anything with real teeth in it.

And the OPC “About” section supports that to a degree when it says that “Following a 1968 Royal Commission of Inquiry and subsequent Senate Committee on mass media, a voluntary national press council was recommended… Beland Honderich, publisher of the Toronto Star, welcomed the idea and he and seven other publishers founded the Ontario Press Council in 1972.”

That was a little more than 40 years ago, and in my opinion, the current OPC version of history seems to whitewash things more than a little…

The Ontario Press Council website homepage has the phrase “Defending principles to inspire public trust” immediately below the name.  We are also told that “The Ontario Press Council upholds acceptable journalistic and ethical standards on behalf of the public and press alike while defending the democratic rights of free speech and freedom of the press.” But, further examination of their website can lead to doubts.

For example, we are told in the “File a Complaint” section that: “It reads all complaints, but does not always decide to act… The Council has complete and absolute discretion about whether or not to hear any complaint.”  And, “The Press Council does not currently have its own code of practice…”

So how, exactly, are we “defending principles” here?

In fact, the OPC rather grandly distances itself from any kind of measurable responsibility, by proclaiming that “The Ontario Press Council has chosen not to follow the lead of the United Kingdom Press Complaints Commission and other councils in adopting a formal code of practice for media publishing.”

So there!

In a 2011 article headed “Ontario Press Council Denies Sun Media Allegations Of Politically Correct Mentality”, Huffington Post reports on the Sun Media chain withdrawing from the OPC on the grounds that their (Sun Media’s) “editorial direction” was incompatible with a “politically correct mentality.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out; either the OPC will accept my complaint and hear it, or it will find a reason to refuse it, in which case I think that the Senate should pehaps be invited to re-visit the issue after all these years.

And now I have to go out and shovel some more snow!  I have a feeling that shovelling the bullshit will come soon enough…

Jeff Goodall.

See “Canada: Blatant smearing of White people by the media” here.

See “Racist vandals and the police as political performers” here.

Visit the Ontario Press Council website here.

See “Ontario Press Council Denies Sun Media Allegations Of Politically Correct Mentality” here.

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