My complaint filed w/ Ontario Press Council against CP reporter’s Dogwood Initiative story

dogwood tides

Sent today to Don McCurdy, Executive Director of the Ontario Press Council:

Just as politicians and lobby groups must publicize their sources of funding in order to be accountable to the public, reporters seeking to inform that same public must make this information a prominent part of their stories in order to provide relevant context to readers. Particularly when a new political interest group appears on the scene, reporters have an obligation to provide readers with a complete picture of who this group is, why they have emerged, and who has provided the funds to make their emergence possible.

I believe Dene Moore made a significant omission in the June 15, 2014 story, “Pipeline opponents ready provincial campaign,” (which ran in news organizations which belong to the Ontario Press Council) by omitting a great deal of information about the nature of the “pipeline opponents” featured in his story — the Dogwood Initiative — particularly who provides their funding as outlined in this article:

Considering that many political activist groups these days are open fronts for special interest lobbies, reporters should be aware that their neutral coverage can be compromised by omitting critical details about who is providing the funding for mysterious new groups suddenly exerting great influence over our political debates.

A correction needs to be issued by CP and a statement from the Ontario Press Council that condemns omitting such details in further stories on this and other similar issues.


Update: My complaint has been accepted:

Dear Dean,

I have notified the Globe and Mail that the issue will be placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Press Council, which is a voluntary organization which met last week and won’t meet again until September. Thank you for providing the link to a member paper.

Don McCurdy
Executive Director
Ontario Press Council

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