No media conference, no media event or news release by The City of Toronto and/or any agency, board or commission of the City, and/or any staff, hired consultant or elected official of the City of Toronto shall exclude by name any individual journalist or news organization.
The twiterrer in question alludes to this “ban” referring to the Toronto Star which has been quite critical of Mayor Rob Ford — as have many people and organizations. And Robbie doesn’t hide his disdain for the paper so this is certainly believable.
Here’s what I find extremely troubling; freedom of press and freedom of expression are ensconced in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [section 2 (6)]. For Councillor Vaughan to have to pass a motion to guarantee this freedom at City Hall suggests a very troubling trend of silencing dissent, criticism, and opinions that are not directly shared by Ford and his cronies.
If this motion does indeed turn out to be a response to Ford’s attempt to exclude the Star from reporting on City Hall, his claim that the paper is “openly working against the democractic process” would be beyond hypocritical. Criminal, even. And again, this isn’t unimaginable — Ford has been accused of backroom dealings in things like the Port Lands redevelopment project; even some of his hand-picked Executive Committee are distancing themselves because of the public outcry.
The vote on this motion is supposed to take place next week on September 21 and 22. I’m sure many Torontonians would love to hear the details of why Vaughan thought it was necessary to make the motion. It may turn out to be a simple case of political grandstanding so passing judgement is definitely premature. However, I wouldn’t put it past Robbie to be trying to silence his critics, and if this is the case then we’ve got a serious problem at City Hall.