Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was absent at the crucial hearing of Ontario Press Council on Monday, aimed at scrutinizing a highly controversial story published by the Toronto Star alleging that the mayor used illegal drugs. The council had invited the mayor to bear witness to the proceedings and participate as the council delved into the ethics behind a May 16 story that was titled as “Rob Ford in ‘crack cocaine’ scandal.”
It is the duty of the council to review whether the article was published in a larger public interest, whether the news franchise made sufficient efforts to verify allegations, whether or not was Mayor Rob Ford given ample time to respond and was that response included. The hearing took place at Toronto’s Ryerson University, where panel chair, George Thomson, highlighted that the council had invited the mayor, who did not responded to their invitation or expressed intent to take up the council’s offer to refute the story’s allegations in a public venue or file a submission.
On the other hand, The Star’s editor-in-chief replied to almost all queries regarding the article published in his paper’s ethical boundaries. He consistently mentioned that “I’m telling you with great emphasis that story is true.” Michael Cooke, flanked by reporter Kevin Donovan, stated that “every word of it… a connection between drug dealers, gun dealers, a crack house and the mayor of Canada’s largest city are the definitions of something that can and should be explored in the public interest.”
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