Complaints we heard: Moderating comments

Complaints we heard: Moderating comments

The NNC recently reviewed a complaint from a reader who was displeased that Sudbury.com had removed a message posted to the comment section at the foot of June 23, 2020, article under the headline, “Graduate students say request to LU to waive tuition fees met with ‘basically silence’”. The complainant expressed concern that the news organization acted unethically by removing the comment, and stated that the act amounted to “unlawful censorship” and violation of Charter rights to free expression. In …

Michener Foundation honours John Fraser

Michener Foundation honours John Fraser

The Michener Awards Foundation today announced it is presenting its prestigious Michener-Baxter Special Award for long-term achievement in public service journalism to John Anderson Fraser. This special award, established in 1983 and presented at the discretion of the foundation’s board of directors, has only been bestowed on eight Canadians in the past three decades. “It seems fitting that Mr. Fraser — an icon of Canadian journalism — receive this honour in our 50th anniversary year,” said Pierre-Paul Noreau, President of the Michener …

Complaints we heard: Reader concerned about ‘bias’ in analytical article

Complaints we heard: Reader concerned about ‘bias’ in analytical article

The NNC reviewed a complaint about a feature article, “How Beijing’s Coverup Led to a Global Pandemic,” published in an April 2020 edition of the Epoch Times. The complainant was concerned with the accuracy of statements in the article, in particular, with the premise, “Thus began the coverup by the Chinese Communist Party of one of the most deadly outbreaks in recent history.” In reviewing the article in question, the NNC noted that it adhered to the journalistic conventions of …

Working (remotely) to support quality journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic

Working (remotely) to support quality journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dear NNC members, We’re reaching out with huge congratulations to each of you for your dedicated commitment to public service during these uncertain times. We know your readers appreciate very much your heroic efforts to serve the needs of your communities by providing steady access to accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information. Your hard work in extraordinary circumstances is concrete evidence of how vital the news media is during a time of crisis. For our part, NNC staff are in the …

Complaints we heard: Calgary Herald announces that syndicated cartoon will no longer be published

Complaints we heard: Calgary Herald announces that syndicated cartoon will no longer be published

The National NewsMedia Council received a complaint about a racially insensitive syndicated cartoon that appeared in the Calgary Herald. Concern was expressed that the cartoon, “Close to Home,” published on February 21, 2020, was racist against Indigenous people in its depiction of a character. The cartoon showed the Lone Ranger and Tonto at a bar, with the words “‘Kemosabe! Tonto hear last call coming! Maybe eight or ten minutes away…’” A number of news media subsequently reported on objections to …

Reader outraged, but columnist correct to make social commentary

Reader outraged, but columnist correct to make social commentary

The National NewsMedia Council recently received a strongly-worded reader complaint about an opinion column published in the Vernon Morning Star that commented on expectations related to women in public, in particular, the assumption that an unaccompanied woman must be a sex worker. In the November 22, 2019 column, “Nothing wrong with being mistaken for a sex trade worker,” the writer humourously described her experience of being mistaken as a sex worker by virtue of where she was—alone—and how she was …

Happy Holidays from the National NewsMedia Council

Happy Holidays from the National NewsMedia Council

The staff at the National NewsMedia Council, along with our board members, would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous holiday season. Our offices will be closed from December 24, 2019 and we will re-open on January 3, 2020. All questions, complaints, and other concerns will be responded to promptly upon our return. See you in 2020! Best wishes, John, Pat, Brent, and Cara.

2019 Fraser MacDougall Prize laureate explains why winning story matters to her and her community

2019 Fraser MacDougall Prize laureate explains why winning story matters to her and her community

This past Monday, the National NewsMedia Council and Journalists for Human Rights honoured the work of Olivia Robinson, a rising star in Canadian journalism, with the 2019 Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting. Robinson won this year’s award for her submission ‘Raising a stink about public washrooms in Ottawa: Why you should care about toilet privilege’ which was published in the online-only publication Capital Current, based at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. In this short …

Reader objected to newspaper’s endorsement of candidate

Reader objected to newspaper’s endorsement of candidate

A complaint to the National NewsMedia Council during the recent federal election campaign questioned a news organization’s right to endorse a political candidate. The complainant insisted that Postmedia’s endorsement of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer demonstrated bias, and was an unethical attempt to influence the electorate. The complainant noted that the newspaper’s editorial listed concerns with Liberal party policy and leadership, and explained its reasons for supporting Scheer and the Conservative Party.  However, the complainant argued that editorial endorsement amounts …

‘Who are you calling dumb?’ – Nov 14 2019

‘Who are you calling dumb?’ – Nov 14 2019

Following the federal election, the National NewsMedia Council received a complaint about a reprinted opinion article that referred to Western separation as a “dumb” idea. The complainant stated that the article failed to provide reasons that Western Canada is unhappy, and objected to their being described as “dumb” for wanting to separate from a federal relationship that he argued isn’t working. The NewsMedia Council responded to the complaint by stating as a general principle that opinion articles are allowed to …