Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

"The value of any media organization is entirely based on whether the public sees them as reliable and trustworthy," he said. "The way we feel this is best done is by having a mechanism in place — whether it's a press council or an ombudsman — who is able to act as the agent of the public inside a media organization.

"All media organizations have a right to their concept of a free press and free speech, but when the public is cut out of that, I think it lessens the value of that organization inside a democracy."

I'm not sure that I understand where the OPC is coming from here. What value is this organization other than to ensure that all media outlets toe the same line? What value does this organization have other than to allow one's competitors to dictate your editorial policy? A private sector newspaper has the ultimate arbitrator of disputes that bypasses the need for an ombudsman - the right of the reader to stop reading, and the right of the consumer to vote with their feet.

One need only view the remarks of Jeffrey Dvorkin who surmises that this move signals the move towards unaccountable "shock value" reporting to sell newspapers in order to understand this move by Sun.

I have to disagree with Mr. Dvorkin, however - this move actually weakens and delegitimizes the OPC itself. All of a sudden, the power to tell Quebecor what they can and cannot report is gone. It's no surprise that Mr. Dvorkin is upset at the move, but I wonder if he can make the case as to what his organization did for Quebecor in the first place.

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