The Quebec Press Council is a private nonprofit organization dedicated for over 30 years to the protection of the freedom of the press and to the defense of the right of the public to quality reporting. The Council’s scope extends to all media organizations that publish or broadcast in Quebec, whether they belong to the print or electronic media, regardless of whether they are members of the Council.
The Council was founded in 1973 on the initiative of journalists and media executives, who were joined from the beginning by representatives from the public. It was formed due to the converging needs and common concerns of these three groups. The Council is a tripartite organization and its Board of Directors and all of its committees are made up of journalists, members appointed by media organizations, and public members.
Membership to the Quebec Press Council is on a voluntary basis. The organization is independent from governmental authority, which gives it sufficient autonomy to carry out its mission.
The Council acts as a dispute resolution panel for the Quebec press industry, both for print and electronic media. It also publishes statements concerning a wide range of questions or practices related to its mission. In no way can the Council be paired with any civil tribunal. It has no regulative jurisdiction and no judicial, legislative or coercive power. The Council imposes sanctions that are strictly of a moral nature. However, the discipline with which it has always conducted its activities and the trust and support granted by the media and the public confer it an unquestionable position of authority.
Since its inception, the Council has been called upon as an honor board to adjudicate more than 2000 complaints. Part of its public role is also to prepare memoranda, statements and press releases and provide support to work groups regarding a variety of issues and concerns. The Council relies on its volunteer members who have already put in over 56 000 work-hours since its beginnings. The Council’s decisions and all of its published statements combined now constitute its precedents on all matters of journalistic ethics.