Thursday, December 15, 2005

Disabled Ethics at CP24

On Tuesday, the McGuinty government appointed CP24 anchor David Onley as Chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council. According to the release from Community and Social Services Minister Sandra Pupatello:

The Accessibility Standards Advisory Council will provide advice to help achieve an accessible society over the next 20 years. The council will advise the government [emphasis added] on accessibility standards and on sector-specific and general public education programs to support and educate individuals, businesses and other organizations about accessibility and accessibility standards.
Onley himself is quoted in the government's release, saying,

“Accessibility is not just about equipment or architecture. It is fundamentally about attitude as well. We know that if a facility or business is made accessible it becomes easier to use for all people, young and old and whatever their physical status. I welcome this opportunity to help change Ontario for the better,” said Onley.
In an interview with CITY-TV on the day of his appointment, Onley offered this endorsement of the McGuinty government:“There really seems to be a commitment here to look at the disability community as the last minority group in our society that does not have full equality.”

The three-year appointment is part-time, paying $225 per diem. As CP24’s regular afternoon anchor, Onley reads the news and does interviews with newsmakers including politicians. Neither the government’s release nor a notice on CP24’s website suggests that he will be stepping aside from his anchor job. He did his regular anchor stint this afternoon.

According to the Conflict of Interest provision in the Code of Ethics of the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada, "Broadcast journalists will govern themselves on and off the job in such a way as to avoid conflict of interest, real or apparent."

It’s bad enough that CP24 is robbing cable subscribers by running old newscasts late at night, featuring now-deceased figures such as Colin Vaughan, Bob Hunter and CITY-TV’s original assignment editor (whose name escapes me at the moment), turning the 2-6 a.m. slot into Night of the Living Dead. I thought "24-hour news channel" meant 24 hours of news, not 20 hours of news and 4 hours of CITY-TV's tape library. But I digress.

But CP24 allowing one of their anchors to provide paid advice to government – even part-time – is simply not kosher. And it is no service to the disabled to exempt them from the journalistic ethics that apply to able-bodied journalists.


Brandon said...

I just came up with this:

Feel free to use it

Josef said...

As a Pupatellomaniac, I'm loathe to criticize my exemplar. Much less in public.

But I agree as a former community college political reporter: This smells!

Stay on this - I think there's gotta be an ethics board or an ombudsman somewhere you can turn to.

pooka said...

I like watching the old re-runs of the six o'clock news on CP24. You get to see fashion goofs from the past and remember when Toronto was still a good place to live.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia entry on Sandra "Lady Churchill" Pupatello

Josef said...


Must read...