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Small Complaint To The Quebec Press Council

Summary of the complaint and the decision

Annie Saint-Pierre, from the Journal de Québec, wrote:

"From the Christian Heritage Party, Stephen Jetchisk, sent the Journal to his Internet site, when we asked him what his priorities were for Louis-Hébert."

But she should have written:

"From the Christian Heritage Party, Stefan Jetchick, answered fighting against religious obscurantism, when we asked him what his priorities were for Louis-Hébert."

My small complaint was rejected! Imagine if I was a journalist, and I asked you your age, and you answered: "I'm 20 years old". Then, during the conversation you also mentioned that you liked to ski. What would you say if I wrote in my newspaper article: "When I asked her who old she was, she said she liked to ski"?

Apparently, such "journalism" is quite acceptable in the Province of Quebec! At least I've been warned: I won't waste my time anymore bothering with the Quebec Press Council!

As well, their Decision begins with a hilarious sentence: "No one can dictate to the Press the contents of the information without exposing themselves to censure or bias." Yes but, someone has to write that newspaper article, and the journalist isn't God! The journalist is supposed to state facts, not invent his article as he goes along!

Wording of the complaint

Sillery, Saturday January 21, 2006.

Ms. Nathalie Verge, Secretary-General
Quebec Press Council
1000, rue Fullum, suite C.208
Montréal (Québec)
H2K 3L7
Tél. : (514) 529-2818
Fax : (514) 873-4434
E-mail : info(the "at" sign)conseildepresse.qc.ca

Subject: Small Complaint To The Quebec Press Council

Ms. Verge,

Here is the information on the newspaper and the journalist:

Name of the newspaper: Le Journal de Québec
Name of the journalist: Ms. Annie Saint-Pierre
Title of the article: "In Louis-Hébert; The distribution of votes is the key"
Date of publication: 20 January 2006

Here is a bref and precise overview of my small complaint:

1) Ms. Saint-Pierre made factual errors both in my first name and last name (See Appendix A here below).

2) Ms. Saint-Pierre insinuates that I refused to tell her on the phone what I considered to be the priorities in Louis-Hébert (See Appendix A here below). In fact, the content of our conversation was the exact opposite: I did everthing I could to tell her what I considered to be the most urgent issue in Louis-Hébert, and she was the one who cut short our conversation. (See Appendix B here below).

In a way, my complaint is small: roughly twenty words, in a short article from a not highly-regarded newspaper, in a city often qualified as a "small village", concerning the marginal candidate of a poorly-known political party.

But in another way, my complaint is big, since we could say that the future of Quebec's society depends on the professionalism of its journalists. If all journalists start neglecting facts and leading their readers into error, at some point of time, that will have a negative influence on our civil life!

Sincerely,

Stefan Jetchick
1450, av. des Pins
Sillery (Québec)
G1S 4J6
Canada
(418) 683-8554
stefan.jetchick (the "at" sign) inquisition.ca
www.inquisition.ca

 


Appendix A: Actual wording of the related passage in the article

"From the Christian Heritage Party, Stephen Jetchisk, sent the Journal to his Internet site, when we asked him what his priorities were for Louis-Hébert."

Appendix B: Overview of the phone conversation with Ms. Saint-Pierre

Ms. Saint-Pierre contacted me by phone on Thursday January 19, explaining that she was trying to reach as many candidates as possible, in order to prepare an article on the Louis-Hébert riding.

Her first question was about "homo-Scherrer". I told here I had no idea what she was talking about. She repeated several times that curious expression. I asked here where she had found such a thing, but her answer was very evasive, something about a message on her computer screen, and the January 17 debate at the Rochebelle School. I told her that such a confusion was not something that would reassure readers concerning the quality of information in the newspapers!

Not knowing what she was talking about, and seeing that her information seemed to come from the January 17th debate, I started to explain that I had said during that debate that my Official Agent, Mr. Louis Casgrain, was himself a homosexual person who publicly thanked the Catholic Church and Her divine teachings on homosexual attractions, for having helped him get out of the «gay» lifestyle. Ms. Saint-Pierre then curtly said Yes, that's what she was talking about, and that she didn't want to talk about that, since "everything had already been said on gay marriage".

Ms. Saint-Pierre then asked me what was the most urgent file in Louis-Hébert. Already rather worried by her weird "homo-Scherrer" story, I wanted to make sure that this time she had access to a more reliable source of information. Therefore, I asked here if she had access to the Internet. She answered Yes, but that the Journal de Québec servers were slow and temperamental. I asked her to try anyway, since all the information she was looking for was on my web site. I gave here the address of my web site (www.inquisition.ca), and the wording of the FAQ question on my site corresponding to her question ("A good politician should have good priorities. What is the most urgent issue in Louis-Hébert?") I asked her if she could see my site on her screen, and she answered No, it was still loading. So I read to her the answer to that question in the FAQ: "Currently, the biggest threat in the Louis-Hébert riding is religious obscurantism." Then I told her that the expression "religious obscurantism" was a hyperlink pointing to a explanatory text, called: "Public Enemy #1: Religious Obscurantism"

I tried to explain to her what "religious obscurantism" was, by giving the example of people who believe we should save the Quebec Zoo, or just as much by the people who believe we should shut it down. In both cases, many people chose to believe assertions without making an effort to get the facts and the proofs to justify their positions. Ms. Saint-Pierre cut me short by saying: "Yes, I now have it before my eyes". Twice she told be she could now see on her computer screen my article explaining what was religious obscurantism.

As she was about to hang up, Ms. Saint-Pierre asked me what was my job. I told her I was an interpreter, and that my whole bio was also on my site. Final greetings and thankings. End of conversation. About 5 minutes. Everything was polite, but I had the very clear impression that Ms. Saint-Pierre had far more urgent things to do than to gather information concerning me.

Appendix C: Other coverage

At least two journalists in Quebec City managed to spell my name correctly and figure out my priorities:

Michèle Thibeau, Quebec Chronicle and Telegraph, "Jetchick gives voters food for thought", 2006-jan-18.

François Simard, L'Appel, "Deux autres candidats dans Louis-Hébert", 2006-jan-14.

Appendix D: What is "Religious Obscurantism"

"Public Enemy #1: Religious Obscurantism"

Wording of the Decision

Please see the French version.

Contact Get Involved! Version française