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Was Rob Ford coverage unethical? Press Council to hold fall hearings

The Ontario Press Council will hold two separate hearings in September to investigate complaints that the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail reported on the Ford family in an irresponsible, unethical manner.

The Globe will defend its use of anonymous sources for an investigative piece by Greg McArthur and Shannon Kari that looked into Mayor Rob Ford's family's alleged drug dealings, the newspaper's public editor Sylvia Stead told J-Source. Stead said she plans to attend the hearing along with one of the editors who oversaw the investigation.

The Star has been called to respond to complaints about an article the newspaper ran about a video that allegedly showed Ford smoking crack.

That article was written by city hall reporter Robyn Doolittle and investigative reporter Kevin Donovan. Public editor Kathy English told J-Source The Star will be represented at the hearing by Donovan as well as editor Michael Cooke.

"The thrust of the response is that the Star has reported responsibly in the public interest on the mayor of Toronto," she said in an email. 

The mayor's press secretary was not aware of the upcoming hearings when J-Source contacted him on Monday.

The complaint against the Star will be heard at 10 a.m. and will be followed by the complaint against the Globe at 1 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Ryerson University. If a complaint is upheld by the Ontario Press Council, the decision must be published unedited by the news organization in question. 

Read the full notice of hearing and procedures from the Ontario Press Council here

Tamara Baluja is an associate editor at, where this article first appeared.

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