The Ontario Human Rights Commission is calling for Parliament to set up a national press council where citizens could bring charges of bad journalism (why it would only include newspapers, magazines and their web sites is a bit of a mystery; radio and tv should be part of this.) At first glance it seems a little nutty; another forum for cranks, single advocate issues and media bashers to fight their cause. However, given the current situation (close to nothing of any real effectiveness, outside of a lawsuit: see Ch. 15 of my book The Fine Art of Complaining about the Media) of voluntary press councils (the Sun chain refuses to join), occasional ombudsmen, no real way of dealing with broadcasters short of a lawsuit, maybe it’s an idea whose time has come. It would have to be well defined and set up, though, to keep the crazies out.
National Post, Feb. 11 2009