M. Michael J.
Mis en cause
Représentant du mis en cause
M. Mark Harrison
(rédacteur en chef, The Gazette [Montréal])
Résumé de la plainte
The Gazette ne
reproduit pas la mention «cc Camille Laurin» en publiant la lettre ouverte du
plaignant dans son édition du 13 février 1979, réduisant ainsi l’impact de
cette dernière. De plus, ce journal porte atteinte au droit de réponse en
refusant de publier la réplique du plaignant aux critiques que lui adresse un
autre lecteur dans une lettre parue le 7 mars 1979.
Griefs du plaignant
Council has completed the study of your complaint regarding the way The Gazette
has treated two of your letters to his Editor.
On the one
hand, you denounced the fact that The Gazette had not reproduced, in its
edition of February 13, the mention «cc Camille Laurin» appearing on your
original letter to the Editor. According to you, such a want impaired your
right to free speech and diminished the impact of your letter on the readers.
other hand, you brought to the Council’s attention that the newspaper had
refused to publish your letter of March 12, concerning the traffic in Montreal.
This letter was in fact your response to another reader’s, published on March
7, in reply to yours of February 21 on the same topic. According to you, the
reader’s letter contained a criticism against yourself and you considered that
the denial of your right on response constituted just another act of censorship
from The Gazette.
you requested the Council to comment on your suggestions to refine the existing
letters-to-the-editor system of publishing.
Upon The Gazette’s comments and after having examined the case, the Quebec Press Council comes to the following conclusion:
The Gazette has not infringed your right to free speech and expression nor diminished the impact of your letter by not reproducing the mention «cc Camille Laurin», appearing on your original letter. In accordance with the right of the people to know, The Gazette has complied with ethical standards of journalism by reporting your complete point of view without distortion.
Regarding your letter of March 12, the Council feels that The Gazette has exerted no censorship by not publishing it. As you know, there is no such thing as a formal right of reply in our legislation and neither a person or a group has a due right to full access to the pages reserved to the readers. On the other hand, decisions concerning the publication and the treatment of the readers’ letters pertain, as a current practice of the press, to the editor which it is the exclusive privilege and responsability to permit the expression of as broad and diversified points of view of as many readers as possible on matter of public interest.
In the present case however, the decision of The Gazette not to publish just another point of view on the issue you had raised in a previous letter (published on February 21) acted in accordance with its prerogative and responsability. The Council feels that The Gazette did not deprive the public’s right to know nor did it deny your «right of response» to an allegated criticism which besides, the Council can hardly see in the letter you pretended to respond to.
Finally, the Council thanks you for the many suggestions you have made regarding the publication of the letters to the editor and has referred them for the study of this Committee of complaints on the press’ way of dealing with the letters from the readers.
Analyse de la décision
- C08A Choix des textes
- C08B Modification des textes