Roger-Luc Chayer

An unprecedented decision in Quebec’s media history was recently taken by the Quebecor Group (TVA, Journal de Montreal and a few others), which decided to sue the Quebec Press Council for $ 200,000 in damages many of the Council’s decisions that would be defamatory. Quebecor’s principal contentions are essentially that the Press Council is not a judicial tribunal controlled by the Quebec Ministry of Justice, that it is a private organization and that the Council renders decisions, even if the targeted media, in this case those of Quebecor, are not even members of this organization. And Quebecor is right!

In its motion for an injunction filed in the Superior Court of the Judicial District of Montreal, Quebecor states that the Press Council is « neither a court nor an ethics committee under the law » and that « The Council continues to render decisions wrongful, unfair and defamatory of us. The current situation is unacceptable. We are wrong in our right not to associate ourselves with this organization, « said Dany Doucet, Vice President, Information, QMI Agency and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal de Montréal, in a statement.

For years, this organization, registered in the Quebec business register as a non-profit corporation, declares as the first activity sector « to receive complaints related to the media and to make decisions. » However, this organization has absolutely no legitimacy since it is not supervised by government authorities or by any court in Quebec or Canada.

It was more than time that a media group with the means to raise such important issues before the courts decided to court these activities, since the decisions of the CPQ have all the appearance of court judgments and especially, because with time , the public came to believe that this private club of media mates was really a court. On its website, the Council presents itself as a voluntary membership organization, independent of governmental authorities, which gives it the necessary autonomy to accomplish its mission. The Council acts as the court of honor of the Quebec press both written and electronic, it also issues opinions on various issues or practices related to its mission. Yet the illegal practice of law, or its appearance, is strictly condemned and prohibited in Quebec.

Worse, the Commission appears to be in a conflict of interest with a particular media outlet, Télé-Québec, which provides it with its premises, and an analysis of the complaints and decisions against Télé-Québec shows that for the past 18 years, no complaint has been filed. has been retained, while for some Quebecor media, there are hundreds of pages of pseudo-judicial decisions. Even in its handling of complaints, the CPQ gives the impression of applying the Code of Civil Procedure of Quebec, but does not allow any hearing, and everything is done in secret, far from the eyes of the public! Gay Globe Group’s media are not members of the Press Council and we do not adhere to its methods or diktats because there is no representation of LGBT communities in this organization. It remains to be hoped that the Superior Court will clean up this little ride that has been going on for too long.