Coyne right to resign after restrictions

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It’s not part of the terms of employment at the National Post to be a Conservative. 

Andrew Coyne resigned his position as editor of Editorials and Comments section of the National Post on Monday after Postmedia Network executives prevented the publication of his column dissenting from the paper’s endorsement of the Conservative party. 

The National Post is only one of the many papers owned by Postmedia that unanimously endorsed the Conservatives. 

Meanwhile, several Postmedia chain papers replaced their front pages with large advertisements stating, “Voting Liberal will cost you.”

According to Coyne’s Twitter announcement, Postmedia reasoned that Coyne’s differing column “would have confused readers and embarrassed the paper.”

While Coyne’s resignation won’t hurt him financially — given that he remains a columnist at the paper with a hefty salary — the weight of his recognizable name draws attention to something wrong at Postmedia.

Editorial autonomy is integral to a journalist’s ability to do their job. Blurring the lines between business and editorials is a sure way to compromise the ethics of a newspaper and lose readers’ trust. 

Political endorsements provide readers with the benefit of journalists’ expertise and professionalism in forming opinions. This accountability to readers is why journalists are the ones responsible for endorsement, and not executive boards.

Moreover, journalists are personally accountable to the public for those opinions, as opposed to Postmedia’s boardroom executives who seem content to publish one-sided opinions that their actual journalists seem to have had little say in determining. 

Newspaper outlets are people’s primary sources for understanding and making political decisions. Therefore we hold them to a high standard of truthfulness. 

If maintaining journalistic integrity requires a dissenting opinion, as Coyne thought it did, then silencing dissent is a violation of that integrity.

Postmedia mistook their role as publisher. A newspaper is a platform for expressing opinions, not a political billboard.

— Journal Editorial Board

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