The National NewsMedia Council is a voluntary, self-regulatory ethics body for the news media industry in Canada. It was established in 2015 with two main aims: to serve as a forum for complaints against its members and to promote ethical practices within the news media industry.
The Council deals with matters concerning fairness of coverage, relevance, balance and accuracy of news and opinion reporting. The Council also, when appropriate, represents the public and the media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media.
Membership of news organizations supporting the Council includes most daily and community newspapers, news magazines and online news organizations across Canada, with the exception of French-language publications in Quebec, which are served by a separate provincial press council. Member news organizations pay a fee to belong to the National NewsMedia Council and abide by the decisions of the Council.
The Council is comprised of 17 directors—nine selected from the public and eight selected from news organizations supporting the Council. The chair of the Council is always selected from the public directors. Directors of the National NewsMedia Council do not vote or act as representatives of any news media organization or interest.
The National NewsMedia Council was formed in 2015 following decisions to amalgamate press councils in Atlantic Canada, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia to establish a cohesive, consistent and fair approach to complaints against member news organizations.
Press councils have existed in Canada for over 40 years to consider public concerns about the ethics and practices of journalists working in individual provinces. The first council was established in Windsor, Ontario, in 1972 when media in that city decided to help the public understand how media works and to promote acceptable boundaries and guidelines for journalists.