Comment 70998

By Radio Face (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2011 at 10:12:24

In yesterday's Toronto Star:

Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee has unanimously shelved a motion that would have stopped Ford and his staff from withholding official communications from media outlets they don’t like.

Councillor Adam Vaughan’s “free press and democracy” motion would have prohibited city employees and politicians from excluding any specific journalist or news outlet from any “media conference,” “media event” or news release.

Vaughan told executive committee members that his motion was not specifically about Ford’s relations with the Star. Ford’s office does not send releases or notices of events to the newspaper, rarely answers questions from it, and has excluded its reporters from background briefings.

Ford started to freeze out the Star as a mayoral candidate in July 2010 after it published a story about a confrontation between him and a high school football player he was coaching. Ford says the article was false, and he seeks a front-page apology.

“Politicians should not regulate the media, period,” said Vaughan, a former TV reporter. “It’s an issue of the free press and the minute you have the government deciding who is and is not a legitimate journalist, you no longer have a free press ... ”

“To pick and choose who we wish to participate in a free and open debate, that, I put to you, is reprehensible.”

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