Saturday, September 17, 2011

Toronto councillor tables motion to prohibit mayor from excluding Toronto Star

Councillor Adam Vaughan, (pictured) a former TV journalist and a vocal critic of mayor Rob Ford, has tabled a motion that would forbid the mayor and his staff from discriminating against the Toronto Star. Ford and his press secretary have responded to the Star’s questions only on rare occasions since the paper published an article in July 2010 about a confrontation between Ford and a high school football player he was coaching. Ford says the article was false, and he seeks a front-page apology.
His office does not send the Star its news releases. Last Friday, his policy chief excluded the Star from a briefing on arts cuts to which every other major member of the City Hall press gallery was invited.
Vaughan's “Free Press and Democracy” motion, seconded by centrist Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, would prohibit city employees and politicians from excluding any specific journalist or news outlet from any “media conference,” “media event” or news release. The motion does not explicitly mention the Star, and it does not seek compel Ford to respond to Star inquiries.
“Individual relationships, talking to journalists one-on-one, public officials can choose who they want to talk to,” Vaughan said. “But when you speak to the city through the press gallery, all members must be treated equally."

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