Canadian MP Calls for Jail Time for Reporters Who Skew or Fabricate News

A small-time member of Canada's parliament made headlines today by sending out and later retracting a column which called for jail time for reporters who "fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens."

Colin Mayes, a Conservative from British Columbia, issued his remarks in a column sent out to newspapers in his district.

The Globe and Mail has a recap. Full text of the column is after the jump.

In a statement issued Friday, Mr. Mayes said he is retracting the comments "without reservation."

Mr. Mayes adds that he fully respects the freedom of the press and regrets making the earlier comments.

The column was e-mailed Thursday to nine small Okanagan papers, as well as the Vernon Daily Courier, by Wayne McGrath, Mr. Mayes's executive assistant.

"Maybe it is time that we hauled off in handcuffs reporters that fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens," he writes.

The Courier recently decided not to publish the MP's regular columns.

On Wednesday, David Wylie, the paper's managing editor, published an editorial saying [Canada's new Conservative prime miniser J Harper's media policies were "mimicking the ploys of an authoritarian state ..."

Here's the entire column:

I was perturbed by media rhetoric regarding the relationship of Prime Minister Harper toward the media. What the Prime Minister has done is to inform the media that when he has something to say he will say it.

The media has blatantly painted a picture that our government is not open and transparent. We were elected just two months ago to run the affairs of the country for the people, not to accommodate the media.

May I remind the media that they are a vital part of democracy. Their role is to communicate to citizens and by doing so keep elected representatives accountable.

We are asking for more accountability from those that have the public trust and we are asking for ethical leadership.

We have recently witnessed corporate accountants and corporate executives in handcuffs being held accountable for breaking public trust in the investment world.

Our government's first order of business will be to introduce the Federal Accountability Act that will prosecute elected and senior public servants that break the public trust in the political world.

There is another group that has the public trust and that is the media.

Not all media, politicians and business executives are bad. Boy, would the public get accurate and true information if a few reporters were hauled away to jail!

Maybe it is time that we hauled off in handcuffs reporters that fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens.

We know this will never happen because the media would cry ‘censorship', ‘authoritarian state', and all would be aghast, but the truth is we need ethical leadership from the media too!

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013