Saying that “a politically correct mentality” is incompatible with its newspapers, Sun Media Corp. has withdrawn its membership from the Ontario Press Council.
In a letter sent on Monday, editorial vice-president Glenn Garnett notified the council that a group of senior executives had decided to end Sun Media’s relationship with the council immediately.
Sun Media, a division of Quebecor Media Inc., is at odds with the council about cases it has chosen to hear against the publisher. Quebecor spokesman Serge Sasseville said the company has been brought before the council for taking certain angles on stories, not for violating codes of conduct. “It has become a platform for people who want to settle a political score,” he said.
The Ontario Press Council is a partly self-regulatory body for the newspaper industry, overseeing about 225 publications. When a complaint is made, a panel made up half of representatives from media organizations and half of members of the public examines it and makes a decision. Newspapers found to have broken the code of conduct are required to publish the decision.
Council chairman Robert Eglie noted that the watchdog was created by the newspaper industry in 1972, adding: “We’re going through a time when the public needs that assurance that any complaints they have will be heard.”
Sun Media owns the Sun chain of papers in Toronto and Ottawa and other cities, as well as the 24 Hours chain of free dailies, and community papers including the Peterborough Examiner.
The decision to quit the council was based on more than one complaint, the company said. “We cannot be bound by the interpretations of our competitors on our obligations and objectives as journalists,” Mr. Garnett wrote in the letter. “We no longer believe there is common cause here and have no reasonable expectation this is going to change.”