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Any individual, organization or publicly or privately owned company may file a complaint with the Quebec Press Council regarding an alleged breach of journalistic ethics.
If it happens that, for the same file, you decide to bring the case before the Courts, you should advise us without delay. In which case, the Conseil will have no alternative than to terminate the study of your complaint in order to avoid interference in the ongoing judicial process.
All decisions reached regarding complaints submitted to the Press Council, with the exception of those regarding the admissibility of a complaint, can be appealed with the Appeals Committee.
When establishing whether or not a complaint is receivable, the Council proceeds to a two-step analysis :
STEP 1: The Council will check if the complaint actually focuses on an alleged professional fault, that this alleged fault is precisely described and significant and that it concerns a journalistic act or product.
STEP 2: The Council then verifies that the complaint observes certain obligations described in article 3 of the Complaint procedure guidelines.
This procedure contains 11 articles, among which 4 can lead to a rejection of the complaint. They are article :
- 3.1 Complaint form
- 3.3 Sub judice cases
- 3.4 Identity and anonymity of the plaintiffs
- 3.10 Prescription
A complaint that successfully passes steps 1 and 2 is deemed receivable.
The Council asks that all grievances first be expressed directly to the media organization in question. This step affords an opportunity to correct or clarify published information, or even to publish information or a point of view previously omitted, and by so doing, provide redress to the plaintiff and put an end to the procedures.
On receipt of the complaint, if the Council deems that this preliminary step was overlooked, it will ask the plaintiff to attempt to obtain redress and offer to assist the plaintiff in that process.
However, if the plaintiff doesn’t wish to contact the respondent, he has to inform the Council about it.