2017-60: Gosselin vs Toronto Star

Issue: politics and perspectives in editorial opinions

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August 24, 2017

The National NewsMedia Council mediated and dismissed a complaint about the editorial direction of the Toronto Star.

Philippe Gosselin expressed discontent with the editorial opinion of the Toronto Star and argued for a centrist view. However, there is no requirement for the Star or any paper to take direction on its social or political viewpoint.

The NNC mandate is to deal with specific complaints about accuracy and journalistic standards related to the gathering and publishing of news stories in print and digital news media. The Council represents the public and the media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media, including editorial freedom.

The NNC recognizes that news media in Canada have historically had the prerogative to advocate from a liberal or conservative perspective if they wish, and that opinion and editorial writers are allowed to use strong language and express unpopular views. Doing so is not a breach of journalistic standards, and is not grounds for a complaint to the NNC.

The NNC does not demand retraction of opinion articles, as that would interfere with the news media organization’s editorial prerogative and be contrary to the NNC’s position in support of media freedom. It is not the business of the NNC to investigate competing science on issues of gender or sociology, but it is within the scope of journalists to report and opinion writers to reflect on studies and reaction to them.

Thoughts regarding the impact of changes to the editorial staff are not within the mandate of the NNC. Those are business and management decisions that rightly rest in the hands of the paper.