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The Hamilton Spectator
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Tuesday July 19, 2011
Sun Media's decision to pull out of the Ontario Press Council has raised questions about who's policing Canada's news organizations -- and whether the industry is willing to monitor itself.

The company's withdrawal from the provincial print-media watchdog earlier this week, at a time when Britain's phone-hacking scandal has sparked worldwide scrutiny of media practices and ethics, has some experts worried about the future of Canadian news.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, executive director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, said tight budgets and mounting pressure to boost ratings or circulation have already led some news organizations to cut corners.

Unless media companies take responsibility for enforcing journalism standards among themselves -- through voluntary bodies such as press councils or other mechanisms -- the public will be "stymied," he said in an interview.

"At this time right now, when there's just this crisis in tabloid journalism and tabloid methods being brought into question, the need for some kind of public accountability is greater than ever," he said.

"I think there is a system available, but the question is whether news organizations are going to avail themselves of it."

Media organizations in Canada are self-regulated and have traditionally rejected any suggestion of government oversight, saying it would threaten democracy. Continued...


Who's policing Canada's news organizations?
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