One of the fundamental freedoms in any democratic society is the freedom of the press to report facts and uncover the truth wherever it may be. The press should investigate unhindered and express newsworthy information to public. With this principal democratic right comes the critically non-pervertible responsibility to report in an unbiased and truthful manner free of influence.
Recently, however, the Conservatives are crying foul as a few journalists have been netted by the Liberal party to vocalize points of view rather than points of fact. The Globe and Mail’s Drew Fagan recently left his post as that paper’s Ottawa bureau chief to work for Foreign Affairs as a senior economic advisor. Most notable has been CBC Radio’s loss of Susan Murray who left to go spin for Scott Brison. The previous Liberal prime minister, Jean Chrétien appointed CTV reporter Jim Munson to the senate (Munson had worked for Chrétien for a mere 16 months before he got his golden ticket).
“Too many media people are right in bed with the Liberal government and that’s scary” — Conservative Party of Canada House Leader John Reynolds
Stephen Harper even joked about the situation at the annual Press Gallery Dinner when he expressed mock sympathy for journalists having to endure a 35 day interview period before being hired on by the Liberal government.
Don Martin, columnist for the National Post, has suggested a cooling-off period for the government to hire journalists. He proposes a one year period after an election. Further, Martin writes, no national affairs journalists shall be entitled to receive the Order of Canada, a Senate appointment or a patronage assignment until they are no longer employed by the news media. Sounds like common sense.