Rob Ford faces backlash over invitation-only press conference
ABOVE: Why were some members of the media left off the guest list? Global’s Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faced a barrage of criticism over an “invitation-only” press conference Monday afternoon which excluded a number of media outlets and barred reporters from asking any questions.
Ford made the emotional speech inside the mayor’s protocol office which holds about 25 people with the invitation list excluding reporters from Toronto Community News (TCN) and NOW Magazine.
The media snub sparked Toronto City Hall Press Gallery President David Nickle, who is a reporter for TCN, to release an open letter asking for the press conference to be relocated.
“The pretext for your decision to selectively limit the number of journalists attending the mayor’s speech seems to be the small size of the venue the mayor has chosen: his office’s protocol lounge,” Nickle wrote.
“It’s the gallery’s position that this is only a pretext: as Toronto’s own Strategic Communications department has pointed out to you and to us, there are many spaces at Toronto City Hall where the mayor can speak in front of all the interested Toronto media.”
Reporters asked questions but were ignored.
Ford’s fractious relationship with the media is no surprise to many as the mayor has faced a steady stream of questioning for his controversial actions in and out of city hall.
“Torontonians gather their news from a variety of sources—television, radio, print and online publications—and they are well-served by the broad range of perspectives provided by individual outlets and journalists,” Nickle wrote.
“Choking off access to any one of those outlets or journalists is a disservice to Torontonians, by their duly elected mayor. It thwarts democracy.”
John Tory called on the mayor to resign and Olivia Chow released a video criticizing Ford’s billion-dollar savings claim.
With files from The Canadian Press