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.
For CPAC coverage of the hearings involving the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail held Sept. 9 to consider complaints over coverage of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford, please click on the following link: CPAC Coverage
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.
Instead it has relied on the decisions reached in previous adjudications of complaints as precedents by which it judges current issues.
A Press Council adjudication represents the collective opinion of a publisher’s conduct shared by people from a broad cross-section of Ontario society and from the journalism field.
Council’s dismissal of a complaint about the nature of comment does not mean that it agrees with what has been published.
Following is a sampling of general conclusions reached in the four decades it has been adjudicating public complaints against Ontario publications:
Ontario Press Council Procedure
The Ontario Press Council is an independent body which considers specific unsatisfied complaints made by the public against its 150 member news organizations. Complaints considered by the Council involve journalistic practices and proper ethical standards.
The Council provides an efficient and effective way for the public to deal with issues of concern without launching legal proceedings, which can become lengthy and costly.
In reaching its decisions, the Council considers appropriate journalistic practices, including fairness and accuracy, as well as issues of ethical concerns, sources utilized, decisions by the Courts and the news organization’s own guidelines and codes of conduct.
The Press Council consists of 15 members, the majority of whom are from the public with a history of effective public and professional service, including the chair. The minority of the Council members are selected from member news organizations. When a complaint is directed at the news operation of a Council member, he/she must immediately declare a conflict of interest and is excused from all deliberations concerning the complaint.
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