A reader writes
I confess to being a little late learning about this bit of news but a National NewsMedia Press Council was established last year. Its two main purposes appear to be: respond to complaints and promote ethics in the media. Some good people are involved including John Fraser, former editor of Saturday Night; Joanne De Laurentiis, former CEO of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada; and Ken Whyte, my boss at National Post, now at Rogers.
This national group replaces four press councils and represents most English-language media. This being Canada, Alberta and Québec are not aboard; they continue to have their own press councils. The group considering complaints consists of both public and media members. Of the twenty-two matters dealt with so far in 2016, all but one complaint was dismissed.
Still, organizations such as this can be important places for redress. Court actions are expensive and can take far too long. In July, former foreign correspondent Arthur Kent won a defamation suit against Postmedia that arose from a column that ran in 2008 – eight years ago.
I’d like to file two complaints with the National NewsMedia Press Council. First, the organization is voluntary and self-regulatory, which I assume means any finding can be disregarded by the offending individual or publication. Second, it seems to be responsive only, rather than proactive. I would prefer the Council act like cops on the beat and tackle wrongdoings when they see them rather than just wait until someone calls 911.