Friday, 22 October 2010

Open Letter from Josée Blanchette to Pierre Karl Péladeau: The Importance of Independent Voices in the Media

For anyone who cares about how we are informed, Josée Blanchette's column--an open letter to Quebecor chief Pierre Karl Péladeau--in Le Devoir today is "must" reading, even if it means a struggle to read French. She's a long-time free lance writer who has chosen that rather precarious career in order to present an independent voice to the world. Le Devoir, respected as it is, is not a big circulation newspaper, but, faut de mieux, it is rapidly becoming one of the rare channels where journalistic excellence is combined with a way of looking at things that big media don't endorse.

Locked-out journalists at Péladeau's Journal de Montreal, you'll remember, recently massively rejected a settlement "offer" that would return most of them to work after 20 momnths on the picket line, but close down their very interesting Internet paper Rue Frontenac and prohibit them from working for the competition.

Blanchette writes that she had been impressed by Péladeau, the son of media magnate Pierre Péladeau, when they were students because he made a serious effort to learn how the other half lives, working in fast food restaurants and studying at the populist Unversité de Québec à Montréal. But it's obvious he has gone over to the dark side, which was always waiting for him, and we all are the poorer for it.

I walk by PKP's house nearly every morning, and frequently see his chauffeur waiting for him outside. Yesterday the car was not the only parked outside his elegant house: there were more than half a dozen high costs SUVs, sans driver, and two other costly sedans where a chauffeur was waiting for the boss. I wondered what was up: looked like a breakfast meeting about something important. Don't know what it was all about, but you can be sure that Blanchette wasn't among the guests.

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