“Le Devoir” receives a reprimand from the Press Council

In a split decision, the Quebec Press Council pointed to a lack of balance in an article that appeared in The duty following the trial between actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp.

The article Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp, and vice versa, signed by journalist Jean-Louis Bordeleau, relayed the reaction of Amber Heard after his conviction for defamation. The text of Duty, published on June 2, 2022, also cited feminist essayist Martine Delvaux, as well as sociologist and specialist in violence against women Stéphanie Pache. The two academics expressed opinions there that were close to Amber Heard’s point of view, namely that Johnny Depp had been privileged during the trial.

A complainant had contacted the Press Council following the publication of this article, because he considered that the journalistic treatment lacked balance. Four of the six members of the Press Council agreed with him. By a majority, the Press Council therefore upheld the complaint and reprimanded Jean-Louis Bordeleau and The duty for lack of balance. For the treatment of the news to be considered balanced, the Council judges that the journalist could have taken Johnny Depp’s reaction, or even quoted a speaker who would have added another perspective than that shared by Martine Delvaux and Stéphanie Pache.

The two dissenting members ruled instead that the article does not present any breach of ethics. “Depending on the angle of treatment chosen by the journalist, there was a fair weighting of the points of view present”, they ruled.

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