Global BC (CHAN-DT) concernant Global News Hour at 6 et Global News at 11 (agression mortelle à l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford)

COMITÉ DÉCIDEUR ANGLOPHONE
Décision CCNR 16/17-0553+
2017 CCNR 8
26 septembre 2017
A. Noël (présidente), D. Braun, J. Doobay, E. Duffy-MacLean,
P. Gratton, J. Pungente, L. Todd

LES FAITS

Le 1er novembre 2016, deux jeunes filles de l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford en Colombie-Britannique se font poignarder dans le corridor de l’école. La police est appelée sur les lieux à 14 h 05. Un suspect est appréhendé. Global BC rapporte les faits en manchette le soir même dans son bulletin de nouvelles News Hour at 6.

Une journaliste sur place, après avoir donné des détails au sujet de l’agression, rapporte que les élèves sont encore retenus à l’intérieur de l’école. On voit des véhicules et du personnel d’urgence arriver sur les lieux, et des élèves massés à l’extérieur de l’école. Le reportage présente des entrevues avec des élèves qui ont déjà été relâchés et racontent de ce qu’ils savent de la situation. À un moment donné, le présentateur de Global Chris Gailus et la journaliste Rumina Daya échangent les propos suivants :

[traduction]

Chris Gailus :     Rumina, un aspect très troublant de ce crime, c’est que quelqu’un a filmé la scène avec son cellulaire. Cela s’est fait à l’intérieur de l’école. Nous avons choisi de ne pas montrer la vidéo par respect pour les familles qui nous en ont fait la demande, mais elle a été affichée sur Facebook. Euh, qu’est-ce qu’on en sait et comment pourrait-on la décrire?

Rumina Daya :  Ouais, la police nous a demandé de ne pas la montrer, comme vous venez de le dire. On sait que la vidéo montre un homme qui est pieds nus. On dirait qu’il porte un vêtement de jogging. Hum, il paraît plus vieux qu’un élève du secondaire et le tout est… très troublant, comme vous dites. On voit cet individu poignarder à plusieurs reprises la jeune fille qui gît sur le sol. On entend des gens crier. À un moment donné, quelqu’un surgit dans le coin de l’image et l’individu recule. Il laisse tomber son arme. Il semblerait que ce soit le directeur qui a réussi à le maîtriser. Encore une fois, il n’y a rien de confirmé pour l’heure. Comme vous l’avez déjà dit, la police détient un suspect. Nous n’avons aucun détail sur lui. La police doit faire une annonce en détail ce soir à 19 heures. Chris? Sophie?

C. Gailus : Et cette vidéo sera un élément de preuve important. C’était Rumina Daya, en direct d’Abbotsford. Merci.

Mme Daya récapitulera la nouvelle plus tard au cours du bulletin, en répétant tout ce qu’on sait pour l’instant sur la situation. Vers la fin du bulletin, la lectrice Sophie Lui converse avec le lecteur du bulletin de nouvelles de 23 h sur Global, Jay Durant :

Sophie Lui :        Allons parler avec Jay Durant pour un aperçu du bulletin Global News at 11. Naturellement, Jay, nous continuons de suivre de près l’agression qui s’est déroulée à l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford.

Jay Durant :        C’est exact, Sophie. Nous sommes évidemment à l’affût des derniers développements. La police est sur le point de donner une conférence de presse avec les plus récentes informations.

C’est à ce moment-là que la vidéo apparaît à l’écran. Filmée à partir d’un étage supérieur, elle laisse entrevoir le rez-de-chaussée de l’école à travers les barreaux de la rampe. On entend des cris. Le visage de la victime est flouté, mais on aperçoit brièvement son corps. Une silhouette masculine vêtue d’une chemise grise paraît être penchée au-dessus de la personne dont le visage est flouté. L’homme exécute un mouvement comme pour enfoncer un poignard, puis relève le bras et laisse tomber un objet sur le sol tout en s’écartant de la personne qui gît par terre.

L’agression faisait à nouveau les manchettes au bulletin de 23 h, Global News at 11 avec Jay Durant. À ce moment-là, le public était déjà au courant du décès d’une des victimes. Jay Durant rappelle la nouvelle et poursuit en disant :

J. Durant : Une partie de l’incident a été filmée sur un cellulaire. Nous préférons prévenir les téléspectateurs que les images et les cris risquent de les perturber. On peut voir l’homme qui domine sa victime avant d’être confronté et de laisser tomber son couteau.

Deux fois encore, on présente la même version de la vidéo qui a été montrée à la fin du bulletin de 18 h.

J. Durant : Tout cela s’est passé peu après 14 h cet après-midi. Le suspect, que vous avez aperçu pieds nus, est détenu par la police. Les policiers ne croient pas qu’il s’agisse d’un élève et il ne semble y avoir aucun lien entre lui et les victimes.

La journaliste Catherine Urquhart, parlant en direct de l’école, donne de plus récents détails sur la situation. Son reportage comprend des entrevues filmées plus tôt dans la journée avec des élèves et des parents qui décrivent la frayeur engendrée par la situation. Le bulletin présente aussi des extraits de la conférence de presse annonçant le décès d’une des élèves. Mme Urquhart ajoute que les motifs du suspect restent inconnus.

La police et la direction de l’école ont demandé aux médias de ne plus diffuser la vidéo par respect pour les familles des victimes et pour ne pas traumatiser davantage les autres élèves.

Global BC a reparlé de l’événement dans son bulletin Global News Hour at 6 du lendemain 2 novembre. La station a donné le nom de la jeune victime de 13 ans, et celui du suspect de 21 ans accusé de meurtre. Le reportage comprenait les commentaires de quelques élèves qui ont décrit avoir entendu les cris et vu l’une des victimes courir se réfugier dans une classe après avoir été poignardée. Puis le présentateur Chris Gailus a demandé à la journaliste Rumina Daya de dire ce qu’elle savait à propos du suspect.

C. Gailus : Eh bien, comme on l’a mentionné, l’auteur présumé de cette attaque se nomme Gabriel Brandon Klein. Il fait face à plusieurs chefs d’accusation, mais il demeure plusieurs questions sans réponse à propos de son identité et des motifs qui l’ont amené à Abbotsford ce jour-là. Rumina Daya va décrire en direct tout ce qu’on sait de cet individu mystérieux. Nous préférons prévenir les téléspectateurs que les images qui vont suivre risquent de les troubler. Rumina, que savez-vous de l’enquête ?

R. Daya : Chris, commençons par les chefs d’accusation. Klein est accusé du meurtre au second degré de Letisha Reimer. Comme vous l’avez dit, 13 ans seulement. Et il fait face à une accusation de voies de fait graves relativement à une élève de 14 ans dont il nous est interdit de dévoiler le nom. Vous l’avez déjà dit, 21 ans. Il n’avait aucun lien avec les victimes. Aucun lien avec l’école non plus, apparemment. Klein n’a même pas de dossier criminel en Colombie-Britannique. Et c’est peut-être parce qu’il n’est même pas originaire de cette province. Euh, nous sommes en train de découvrir qu’il vient d’Alberta. On en sait très peu sur lui. Quelques détails ont été communiqués par IHIT aujourd’hui.

Pendant le commentaire ci-dessus, l’écran se divise pour montrer, à droite Mme Daya et à gauche, une image figée de la vidéo où l’on voit le suspect l’arme à la main à côté de la victime dont le visage est flouté. À deux reprises, la photo s’agrandit pour permettre un plan rapproché. La journaliste continue son explication en disant que le suspect n’a pas voulu collaborer avec la police et qu’il serait soumis à une évaluation psychiatrique. (La transcription complète et la description plus détaillée des bulletins de nouvelles figurent à l’annexe A, en anglais seulement.)

Le 30 novembre, vers 18 h 50, Global BC a diffusé le message suivant au cours de son émission News Hour at 6 :

Lui :        Bien. Nous désirons présenter nos excuses pour une erreur commise au cours de News Hour le 1er novembre. En faisant le point sur les événements couverts par Global News at 11, nous avons diffusé par inadvertance une vidéo floutée de l’agression tragique à l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford. Nos propres principes et pratiques journalistiques exigent que nous prévenions notre auditoire du contenu potentiellement troublant des images à suivre. Dans ce cas en particulier, à cause d’une erreur de montage, l’avertissement n’a pas été donné. Nous nous excusons de cette erreur et des répercussions qu’elle a pu avoir chez nos téléspectateurs.

Le CCNR a reçu au total 58 plaintes sur la façon dont Global BC avait couvert l’agression d’Abbotsford. Toutes ne contenaient pas l’information suffisante pour être traitées par le CCNR. De celles qui ont été jugées admissibles, trois se sont rendues à l’étape d’une demande de décision. Les plaintes portaient sur le fait d’avoir diffusé la vidéo, qui traduisait un manque de respect vis-à-vis des victimes et de leurs familles tout en exposant les élèves touchés à revivre leur traumatisme et le public en général à être troublé par les images. Certaines plaintes notaient aussi que la vidéo avait été montrée sans préavis, et que la police avait demandé aux médias de s’abstenir de la diffuser.

Global BC a répondu à tous les plaignants, en expliquant que les décisions éditoriales qui impliquent des images [traduction] « choquantes et troublantes » sont prises après mûre réflexion et consultation au niveau de la direction des nouvelles, en tenant compte des règles et des codes qui s’appliquent, ainsi que des principes et pratiques journalistiques en vigueur chez Global. Global aurait estimé qu’il était pertinent de montrer la vidéo du crime en train d’être perpétré parce qu’elle était au cœur de l’enquête policière et pourrait déclencher un débat concernant la sécurité dans les écoles. Global BC a fait observer qu’une partie des images avaient été floutées et s’est excusé pour avoir omis de livrer un avertissement avant de montrer cette vidéo au cours de l’émission News Hour at 6. Le télédiffuseur a déclaré avoir cessé de montrer la vidéo dans les jours qui ont suivi l’agression et l’avoir même retirée de son site web, sur lequel ce genre de reportage est normalement classé parmi les archives.

Comme noté plus haut, trois plaignants se sont montrés insatisfaits de cette réponse et ont demandé au CCNR d’examiner la question. (La correspondance en entier figure à l’annexe B, en anglais seulement.)

LA DÉCISION

Le comité décideur anglophone a étudié la plainte à la lumière des articles suivants du Code concernant la violence de l’Association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs (ACR) et du Code de déontologie journalistique de l’Association des services de nouvelles numériques et radiotélévisées du Canada (ASNNR) :

Code de l’ACR concernant la violence, Article 6.0 – Nouvelles et émissions d’affaires publiques

6.1       Les télédiffuseurs doivent faire preuve de discernement dans les reportages de scènes de violence, d’agression ou de destruction qu’ils présentent aux nouvelles et dans leurs émissions d’affaires publiques.

6.2       Il faut faire preuve de circonspection dans le choix et la présentation répétée d’images présentant des scènes de violence.

6.3       Les télédiffuseurs doivent informer à l’avance les téléspectateurs de la présentation de scènes de violence qui sortent de l’ordinaire ou de reportages qui font état de sujets délicats comme l’agression sexuelle, ou les poursuites judiciaires liées à des crimes sexuels, et ce plus particulièrement pendant les bulletins de nouvelles ou les dépêches de l’après-midi ou du début de soirée, que les enfants pourraient regarder.

[…]

6.7       Les télédiffuseurs doivent se reporter au Code de déontologie de l’Association canadienne des directeurs de l’information en radio-télévision [renommé le Code de déontologie journalistique de l’Association des services de nouvelles numériques et radiotélévisées] pour plus de directives sur les reportages en général.

Code de déontologie journalistique de l’ASNNR, Article 5.0 – Respect

Les journalistes se montrent toujours respectueux et tiennent compte en tout temps de la pertinence d’un récit pour l’intérêt public.

5.1          Nous nous efforcerons de respecter la dignité de chacun, et d’autant plus quand la nouvelle concerne des enfants et des personnes vulnérables.

5.2          Nous procéderons avec tact et retenue en rapportant des situations potentiellement dangereuses ou impliquant des images ou des descriptions violentes.

5.3          Nous traiterons tout le monde avec égards et ferons en sorte de ne pas fausser le caractère ou l’importance de l’événement par notre présence.

5.4          Nous éviterons le sensationnalisme.

5.5          Nous n’empiéterons pas sur la vie privée d’une personne à moins qu’il y ait un intérêt supérieur en jeu.

Les membres du comité décideur ont lu toute la correspondance afférente et ont visionné un enregistrement des émissions visées. Le comité conclut qu’il y a eu violation des articles 6.1 et 6.2 du Code de l’ACR concernant la violence dans les deux bulletins de nouvelles de Global le 1er novembre. Il y a également eu violation de l’article 6.3 pendant Global News Hour at 6, Global ayant omis de prévenir les téléspectateurs de la nature troublante des images à suivre. Le comité conclut enfin que Global BC a violé les articles 5.1, 5.2 et 5.4 du Code de déontologie journalistique de l’ASNNR dans ses deux bulletins du 1er novembre, mais qu’il n’y a pas eu infraction à l’article 5.5. Il n’y a eu aucune infraction au cours de la diffusion du 2 novembre.

Diffusion d’une vidéo de nature violente

Le comité a commencé par se demander si Global avait pris la décision éditoriale appropriée en choisissant de diffuser une vidéo prise à partir d’un téléphone dans ses bulletins de nouvelles du 1er novembre. Cette vidéo était-elle essentielle à la nouvelle ou constituait-elle du sensationnalisme? Le fait de flouter cette vidéo suffisait-il à en justifier la diffusion? Le fait que la police ait demandé aux médias de s’abstenir de la montrer était-il pertinent à l’affaire?

Le comité conclut à l’unanimité que la diffusion de la vidéo, même après floutage, ne contribuait rien au récit et démontre un manque de jugement éditorial de la part du télédiffuseur. Intégrer la vidéo aux bulletins de nouvelles de 18 h et de 23 h le 1er novembre contrevenait à l’article 6.1 du Code de l’ACR concernant la violence. Il s’ensuit, à cause du manque de circonspection dans le choix et la présentation répétée d’images présentant des scènes de violence, une violation de l’article 6.2 du Code de l’ACR concernant la violence[1].

Le comité note que l’article 6.3 du Code de l’ACR concernant la violence exige d’informer à l’avance les téléspectateurs de la présentation de scènes de violence comme celle que renfermait cette vidéo. En omettant de diffuser un avertissement avant de diffuser la vidéo à la fin du bulletin de nouvelles de 18 h le 1er novembre, le télédiffuseur a enfreint l’article 6.3[2]. Tout en saluant le fait que, lors d’une émission subséquente, Global ait présenté des excuses pour cette omission, le comité conclut que la vidéo n’aurait pas dû être diffusée un point c’est tout. Les excuses pour l’avertissement omis ne disculpent donc pas le télédiffuseur de cette faute plus grave.

À la différence des bulletins du 1er novembre, dans celui du 2 novembre, Global BC s’est contenté de montrer, sur un écran divisé, une image fixe de la vidéo avec la silhouette floutée de la victime. Le comité estime qu’en s’y prenant de cette façon, le télédiffuseur n’enfreignait pas les dispositions de l’article 6 du Code de l’ACR concernant la violence.

Comportement respectueux

C’est la première fois[3] que le CCNR a l’occasion d’examiner un dossier à la lumière du nouveau Code de déontologie journalistique de l’ASNNR entré en vigueur le 1er juillet 2016. Il y a suffisamment de similarités entre les deux versions du code de l’ASNNR pour permettre au CCNR d’appliquer les principes établis dans des décisions antérieures. Néanmoins, le comité observe que certains articles de la nouvelle version, notamment l’article 5.0, formulent des attentes en termes légèrement différents de la version précédente.

L’article 5.0 du Code de déontologie journalistique de l’ASNNR fait appel à un comportement respectueux qui tienne compte de la pertinence du récit pour l’intérêt public. Comme mentionné plus haut, le comité a déterminé que le fait d’inclure une scène filmée à partir d’un téléphone dans les diffusions du 1er novembre ne reflétait pas un jugement éditorial approprié. Il s’ensuit une infraction à l’article 5.0 du Code de l’ASNNR. L’article 5.1 exige de respecter la dignité de chacun, et d’autant plus quand la nouvelle concerne des enfants. Le comité conclut que la diffusion d’images montrant la jeune victime ne respectait pas la dignité de cette enfant et violait l’article 5.1. L’article 5.2 recommande de procéder avec tact et retenue dans le recours aux images violentes. Le comité estime qu’il n’y a eu ni tact ni retenue dans la décision de montrer en images une situation tragique et très troublante et qu’il s’ensuit une violation de l’article 5.2. L’article 5.4 exige de la part des télédiffuseurs qu’ils évitent le sensationnalisme. Étant donné que le comité a été d’accord que la vidéo n’ajoutait rien au récit, il conclut que l’inclusion d’images violentes faisait entrer un élément de sensationnalisme dans la diffusion, en violation de l’article 5.4[4].

Quant à l’atteinte à la vie privée, dans l’ancienne version du Code de l’ASNNR, la dignité et la vie privée, parce qu’elles constituaient les deux volets d’un même article, étaient souvent traitées simultanément. Les facteurs pris en considération dans les décisions invoquant cet article étaient cependant différents[5]. Dans la version 2016 du code, les deux notions figurent dans des articles différents. C’est pourquoi, même si le comité a conclu à une violation de la disposition sur la dignité, il doit évaluer séparément le respect de la vie privée. Étant donné que la vidéo de la victime était floutée et que l’identité de la personne agressée n’a pas été donnée dans les bulletins qui montrent la vidéo, le comité conclut que l’inclusion de la vidéo floutée ne constitue pas une infraction à l’article 5.5.

Demande formulée par la police

Le comité se range à l’avis qu’il appartient aux télédiffuseurs de prendre leurs propres décisions. En l’absence d’une ordonnance de non-publication, une simple demande formulée par les autorités policières ne constitue pas une interdiction en bonne et due forme. Les télédiffuseurs seraient bien avisés de peser soigneusement le bien-fondé de ces demandes, mais elles ne devraient pas les empêcher de prendre leurs propres décisions en se conformant aux dispositions des codes.

Réceptivité du télédiffuseur

Dans toutes les décisions rendues par le CCNR, ses comités évaluent dans quelle mesure le radiodiffuseur s’est montré réceptif envers le plaignant. Bien que le radiodiffuseur ne soit certes pas obligé de partager l’opinion du plaignant, sa réponse doit être courtoise, réfléchie et complète. Dans la présente affaire, Global BC s’est donné la peine de répondre à tous les plaignants, en donnant ses arguments en faveur de la diffusion des images de l’agression et en s’excusant de ne pas avoir prévenu les téléspectateurs des images troublantes à suivre lors du bulletin de nouvelles News Hour at 6 le 1er novembre. Le fait que les plaignants et le comité n’aient pas été d’accord avec ses arguments n’enlève rien à la courtoisie dont fait preuve sa réponse. Ce télédiffuseur ayant rempli son obligation de se montrer réceptif, il n’y a pas lieu d’en exiger davantage de sa part, sauf pour l’annonce de cette décision.

Annonce de la décision

Global BC est tenu : 1) de faire connaître la présente décision selon les conditions suivantes : une fois pendant les heures de grande écoute, dans un délai de trois jours suivant sa publication; une autre fois dans un délai de sept jours suivant sa publication, dans le même créneau horaire que Global News Hour at 6 (mais pas le même jour que la première annonce); et une autre fois dans le même créneau horaire que Global News at 11 (mais pas le même jour que la première annonce); 2) de faire parvenir aux plaignants qui ont présenté les demandes de décision, dans les 14 jours suivant la diffusion des trois annonces, des confirmations écrites de ses exécutions; et 3) au même moment, de faire parvenir au CCNR copie de ces confirmations accompagnées du fichier-témoin attestant la diffusion des trois annonces, qui seront formulées comme suit :

Le Conseil canadien des normes de la radiotélevision a jugé que Global BC avait enfreint le Code concernant la violence de l’Association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs et le Code de déontologie journalistique de l’Association des services de nouvelles numériques et radiotélévisées en rapportant l’agression perpétrée à l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford le 1er novembre 2016. Global a diffusé une vidéo de l’agression filmée à partir d’un téléphone. Il s’agissait d’une vidéo de nature violente qui n’était pas indispensable au récit, ce qui est interdit par l’article 6 du Code concernant la violence, et un manquement au respect de la dignité d’un enfant, ce que dénonce l’article 5 du Code de déontologie journalistique.

La présente décision devient un document public dès sa publication par le Conseil canadien des normes de la radiotélévision.

[1] Voir les décisions suivantes dans lesquelles ces mêmes dispositions du code s’appliquent : CTV concernant Canada AM (Bizutage du Régiment Airborne) (Décision CCNR 94/95-0159, 12 mars 1996); CTV concernant un reportage (fusillade par la police) (Décision CCNR 94/95-0213, 26 mars 1996); CTV concernant un reportage du prononcé de sentence de Charles Ng (Décision CCNR 98/99-1120, 22 mars 2000); CHAN-TV concernant une nouvelle rapportant un accident fatal (Décision CCNR 00/01-0839, 23 janvier 2002); CTV Newsnet concernant un reportage (Meurtre d’un otage à Ryad) (Décision CCNR 03/04-1817, 15 décembre 2004); CTV concernant la couverture de l’accident mortel en luge aux Jeux Olympiques d’hiver de 2010 (Décision CCNR 09/10-0895+, 12 novembre 2010).

[2] Voir les décisions suivantes dans lesquelles le CCNR a conclu a une violation pour avoir omis de livrer un avertissement approprié : CITY-TV concernant un épisode de Hard Copy (Décision CCNR 96/97-0055, 8 mai 1997); Global Television concernant une séquence diffusée dans le cadre d’un épisode de Entertainment Tonight (Décision CCNR 05/06-1525, 8 janvier 2007).

[3] Un autre dossier traitant de la couverture du même incident par CTV a été évalué par le même comité du CCNR et la décision dans les deux cas a été rendue le même jour. Voir CTV Vancouver (CIVT-DT) concernant CTV News at 6 (Agression mortelle à l’école secondaire d’Abbotsford) (Décision CCNR 16/17-0554, 26 septembre 2017).

[4] Voir les décisions suivantes qui soulèvent les notions de respect et de sensationnalisme : CTV concernant un reportage (fusillade par la police) (Décision CCNR 94/95-0213, 26 mars 1996) et CTV concernant un reportage du prononcé de sentence de Charles Ng (Décision CCNR 98/99-1120, 22 mars 2000).

[5] Voir les décisions suivantes sur la façon dont le CCNR évalue les atteintes à la vie privée dans un bulletin de nouvelles : CTV concernant Canada AM (Bizutage du Régiment Airborne) (Décision CCNR 94/95-0159, 12 mars 1996) et CHAN-TV (BCTV) concernant un bulletin de nouvelles (Meurtre sur le métro de Toronto) (Décision CCNR 97/98-0383, 20 mai 1998).


Appendix A

On November 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm, Global BC (CHAN-DT) covered the Abbotsford school stabbing as its top story during its News Hour at 6.  The anchors were Sophie Lui and Chris Gailus.  The following is a description of the coverage:

18:00:15-18:03:54

Lui:      Good evening and thanks for joining us.  We begin with breaking news tonight.  A stabbing inside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School.

red banner at bottom of screen reads “Breaking News”

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “Two Hurt in Stabbing at Abby Senior Secondary”

Gailus:           Two students injured, one of them seriously, prompting two schools to be put on lockdown.  Our Rumina Daya is live in Abbotsford tonight with the very latest.  Rumina, we know there is a suspect in custody, but bring us up to speed about what happened.

Daya [live from outside school]: What a terrifying incident here in Abbotsford this afternoon, Chris.  The latest information we have is that the Abbotsford Senior Secondary School that you see behind me is still under lockdown and that police are going classroom to classroom, letting students out.  [aerial shots of school]  So here’s what we know, is that this incident took place around two o’clock this afternoon.  [footage recorded earlier of paramedics wheeling gurney to ambulance helicopter] A man with a weapon walked into Abbotsford Senior Secondary.  Two female students were stabbed.  Both were rushed to hospital.  Their conditions are not known at this time.  There lot of, there’s a lot of information going on, going around right now as far as their conditions, but we have to be careful until we get an official update from police.  So we did hear that those injuries are serious, but that’s all we know at this time that we’re able to confirm.  Now the junior high and the Senior Secondary, as you mentioned, both under lockdown.  [scenes of school exterior with police cars parked around it]  The students from the junior high have all been released.  And, as I said, students, uh, that are still in the Senior Secondary School, police going classroom to classroom.  [scene of fire truck] Extremely terrifying for students and parents, trying to contact each other while this was happening.  Here’s what some of them had to tell Global News today.

interview with group of male students standing outside

male student #1:     The girl in the library just said, like, “Get out.  We’re in a lockdown.”  And then we ran out and were, like, shaking and stuff.

male student #2:     Yes, two girls got stabbed.

voice of male reporter:     Two girls?

male student #3:     Yeah.

male reporter:         What grade?

male student #3:     Uh, I, we, I don’t know.  Just heard two grade nine gir-, two, uh, just two girls.  It’s all safe now, they said.  Like, they caught the, the guy that did it.

male reporter:         Who was the guy they caught?

male student #3:     They, they never said anything.  They just said it was a guy that stabbed two, two girls.

Cst. Ian MacDonald, Abbotsford Police:            We arrived on scene and attempted to, uh, isolate the suspect and expedite medical treatment to those two injured parties.  We were able to do that.  Uh, the families of the injured parties were notified and they’ve gone off to hospital with, uh, with their kids.  Uh, the suspect was located quickly by police, taken into custody and he’s already been transported away from the scene.

Gailus:           Rumina, one very disturbing aspect of this crime is that there is a video of the stabbing.  It was recorded inside the school.  We have elected not to show it out of respect for a request from the families, but it was posted to Facebook.  Um, what do we know about it and can you describe it?

Daya:  Yeah, police have asked us not to show it, as you mentioned.  We know that the video shows a man who is barefoot.  It looks like he’s in jogging pants.  Um, he appears to be older than high school age and it’s, it’s extremely disturbing, as you said.  You see this individual stabbing repeatedly a girl who’s on the ground.  You hear screaming in the background.  And then at some point, someone appears to be entering the screen and he backs away.  The weapon is dropped.  We’re hearing reports that the principal may have tackled him.  Again, that is not confirmed at this time.  As you mentioned earlier, one man is in custody.  We have no details about who this individual is.  [footage recorded earlier of paramedics wheeling gurney to ambulance helicopter]  Police are expected to release more details tonight at 7 pm.  Chris, Sophie?

Gailus:           And that video an important piece of evidence for sure going forward.  Rumina Daya reporting from Abbotsford.  Thank you.

Lui:      We’ll be keeping tabs on that situation, bringing you more details on that as they develop.

18:32:14

Gailus:           We’re going to go back live to Abbotsford after a break where there’s been a stabbing at a high school.

18:35:17-18:36:45

red banner reads “Breaking News”

blue banner reads “Two Hurt in Stabbing at Abby Senior Secondary”

Lui:      Returning now to tonight’s top story.  A stabbing inside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School.  Two students injured, one seriously.  Our Rumina Daya joins us live from Abbotsford right now.  Rumina, I understand police holding an update shortly on this.

Daya:  They will be holding an update in less than half an hour.  We’re hearing that it’s expected to go ahead at 7 pm.  Here’s what we know so far, Sophie, is that this bloody incident happened around 2 pm this afternoon. [aerial scenes of school]  A man walked into Abbotsford Senior Secondary with a knife.  Two female students were stabbed.  Both were rushed to hospital.  Their conditions are not known at this time.  [footage recorded earlier of paramedics wheeling gurney to ambulance helicopter]  We’ve heard their injuries are serious.  We have to be careful with the information until it is confirmed.  So those are all the details we have as far as those conditions of those students.  Now the junior high and the senior high were both locked down.  Students have been released from the junior high and the last information we received, Sophie, is that police are still going classroom to classroom at the senior high, releasing students, just to make sure that the threat is not there anymore.  As I said, again, an update at 7 pm.  We know that an individual is in custody, but we have no information about who he is.  Sophie.

Lui:      All right.  Thanks for that.  Rumina Daya in Abbotsford for us tonight.  Of course, we will be following that press conference with the Abbotsford Police Department.  We’ll be streaming that live on our website, globalnews.ca/bc, as well.

Gailus:           All right.  We’ll look forward to new developments there.

18:52:40-18:53:08

Lui:      Let’s check in with Jay Durant now for a look ahead to Global News at 11.  Of course, Jay, we’re continuing coverage of the stabbings at an Abbotsford high school.

Durant:          That’s right, Sophie.  We’re obviously still tracking the latest developments.  Police are about to hold a press conference with the latest information.  [cellphone video begins to play.  Taken from a higher floor, it shows a lower floor of the school through a railing.  Screams can be heard.  A blurred circle covers the victim, but her limbs can be seen briefly outside the blurred circle.  A male figure in a grey shirt appears to be leaning over the person covered by the blurred circle.  He raises his arm up in a stabbing motion, then raises his arm and an object falls away from him to the floor as he backs away from the person lying on the floor.]  What we know at this point is that two students have been hurt.  Their exact conditions aren’t known.  [footage of students and adults outside a building]  One person is in custody.  We have two reporters working this story.  The very latest coming up at 11 and of course on our website and on BC1 throughout the evening.

Lui:      All right.  Thanks, Jay.

The topic was again the top story during Global News at 11.  The anchor was Jay Durant.

23:00:17-23:00:23

teaser for upcoming stories

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “Deadly School Stabbing”

clip of interview with two female students

female student #1: Terrified.

[scenes of ambulance driving; police van parked with lights flashing]

Durant in voice-over:         One girl killed another hurt, in a seemingly random stabbing spree.

23:00:47-23:04:52

[while Durant speaks, there are static images from the day’s events in slideshow behind him:  a police car parked outside the school and people, some holding umbrellas, standing around; close-up of sandwich board sign that reads “Warning:  School is in Lock Down.  Absolutely No Admittance”; people standing around outside; close-up of two adult women and three young standing close together; another close-up of Warning sign; parents standing around outside, many holding umbrellas]

red banner at bottom of screen reads “Breaking News”

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “1 Student Dead, 1 Hurt in School Stabbing”

Durant:          Good evening.  Thanks for joining us.  School is a place where we trust our children will be safe.  Today that comfort was shattered in Abbotsford.  A female student is dead, another hurt after a stabbing spree at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.  The attacks seemingly random.  One part of the incident captured on cellphone video.  And a warning the footage is disturbing to watch and to listen to.  It shows a man standing above a female victim before he’s confronted and drops his knife.

[cellphone video:  Screams can be heard throughout.  Taken from a higher floor, it shows a lower floor of the school through a railing.  A blurred circle covers the victim, but her limbs can be seen briefly outside the blurred circle.  A male figure in a grey shirt appears to be leaning over the person covered by the blurred circle.  He raises his arm up in a stabbing motion, then raises his arm and an object falls away from him to the floor as he backs away from the person lying on the floor.  The video plays a second time.]  This all happening shortly after two this afternoon.  That suspect, who you can see was wearing no shoes, now in police custody.  [aerial shot of school exterior]  Officers don’t believe the man was a student at the school and it’s unclear whether he had any connection to the victims.  Let’s go straight to our Catherine Urquhart now who’s live in Abbotsford tonight.  Catherine, just a terrifying ordeal today.  Can you pick up the story for us, please?

Urquhart [live from outside school]:     Yeah, Jay, tonight an entire community is mourning the loss of a young girl.  This community here also very shaken by what has happened in the local school, a place where people expect their children to be safe.

[scenes of ambulance driving with lights & sirens on; police vans and cars; paramedics wheeling gurney to ambulance helicopter]

Urquhart:     Emergency crews rushed to Abbotsford Senior Secondary School.  It’s just after 2 pm and two female students have been stabbed inside the school.

interview with male student:       We were all working and I heard screaming and I was like “what’s going on?” and my teacher walked out and she was just like “Oh my god”.

interview with female student:   We just heard screaming and then we went into lockdown; that’s all I know.

interview with another female student:           We only know someone got stabbed on the rotunda.

interview with another male student:   The first rumours were someone got stabbed in the face, so everyone was freaking out.

interview with group of male students (same at during 6:00 pm newscast)

male student #2:     Two girls got stabbed.

voice of male reporter:     Two girls?

male student #3:     Yeah.

male reporter:         What grade?

male student #3:     Uh, I, we, I don’t know.  Just heard two grade nine gir-, two, uh, just two girls.  Not, not the grade.

male student #1:     We just saw two, two girls on a stretcher.  They’re just heading to the ambulance before.

[exterior scene of school with emergency vehicles parked outside]

Urquhart:     Staff hold the male suspect until police arrive, while others rush to begin first aid on the injured students.

interview with male student:       I was in, like, upstairs on the third floor.  And I heard a scream and when I heard that and when the lockdown happened I was really frightened.  And I was really scared and I was shaking of what was going on and I heard what happened and I even got more scared.  So, uh, it was a really tough day at school today.

[scenes from earlier in the day of paramedics wheeling a gurney to an ambulance helicopter; groups of people walking outside a building]

Urquhart:     Abbotsford Senior Secondary is placed on lockdown, as is the middle school.  [close-up of Warning Lock Down sign; parents standing around outside a building]  Parents are kept in a staging area at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.

interview with female parent:     We heard there was a stabbing in the school.  Then we heard there was a stabbing behind the ravine and they locked the school down.  We heard that they caught the person that did it.  But we have no, we have no answers.

interview with another female parent: It was freaky.  I’m not going to lie.  Uh, they wouldn’t tell us anything at first, really.  They just said there was an incident and the kids are safe.  But they wouldn’t tell us which kids or … so it was, I was petrified.

interview with male parent in vehicle:   They just told us that they were in lockdown and that’s it.

interview with another male parent:     Very scary as a parent, yeah.

interview with another female parent: That was the longest –

interview with female student:   I was honestly terrified.

female student #1: I felt like every minute was an hour.  Having her in there.  I knew she was safe in there, but … so happy, so happy she’s back.

[scenes of ambulances, parents standing around outside]

Urquhart:     Five hours after the stabbing, Abbotsford’s police chief delivers devastating news.  One of the girls has died.

scene of earlier press conference, Chief Bob Rich:    I am so sorry to tell you now that one of the two students has succumbed to her injuries.  The other student is in stable condition and remains in hospital.

Urquhart:     So far there have been no charges laid against the suspect who remains in custody.  His name has not been released and his motive remains unclear.

[exterior of school taken through chain-link fence; sound of sirens; police cars parked outside school; ambulance driving]

Urquhart:     Abbotsford Senior Secondary will be closed tomorrow.  However, counselling will be made available to staff and students.  Some students here are calling on everyone to wear red and black tomorrow.  Those are the school colours.  This is a sign of support for everyone who has been affected.  Back to you.

Durant:          All right.  Thanks for that report, Catherine.  Catherine Urquhart reporting live for us tonight.

November 2, Global News Hour at 6

18:00:13-18:07:26

Gailus:           Good evening and thanks for joining us.  An incredible show of grief in Abbotsford tonight as the community comes to terms with a shocking and random double stabbing inside Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

red banner at bottom of screen reads “Breaking Details”

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “Charges Laid in Fatal Abbotsford Stabbing”

Lui:      The tragedy claiming the life of one student, [her photo appears on screen] while another remains in hospital tonight.  The man charged:  21-year-old Gabriel Brandon Klein.  We’ll have more on Klein and the investigation in a moment, but first John Hua with what we’re learning about the victims.

[students laying flowers and candles at memorial outside school]

Hua:   Abbotsford Senior Secondary, home of the panthers.  Now hurting, facing unbearable pain.

interview with female student Baneet Braich: I couldn’t sleep.  You know, that constant memory of having her in my head.  Of the screams.

interview with male student:       I seen Letisha get stabbed four times in the side.

interview with another male student Amsuman Nair:          I heard her screaming and suddenly the announcement came on saying it’s a code red lockdown.

Hua:   For students here, the flashbacks are constant.  [scene from previous day of ambulance driving with lights & sirens on]  Snapshots of a horrific and random stabbing of two grade nine students inside their school Tuesday afternoon.  [paramedics wheeling gurney to ambulance helicopter; helicopter flying away; emergency vehicles]  Thirteen-year-old Letisha Reimer would not survive.  [black & white photo of girl]  Another student who was able to find help now in hospital in stable condition.

[scenes of emergency vehicles outside school on previous day]

Braich:           After she was stabbed, she ran in, um, saying “help me, I’ve been stabbed”, so right from there, the teachers, the students, we locked our room.  We immediately went to help her.

[male student laying flowers at memorial]

Hua:   Neither teen knew the man who walked into their high school armed with a knife.  The senseless of the crime a crushing blow to this community.

[another photo of Reimer]

Henry Braun, Abbotsford Mayor:           I can’t imagine something more devastating than to, to leave your house in the morning, to say goodbye to your son or your daughter [chokes up with tears] and then to find out in the afternoon that they’re gone.

[man signing memorial poster]

Hua:   As friends pay their respects, there is time for praise for students and staff who may have prevented something so horrible from getting even worse.

[exterior scenes of school]

Kevin Godden, Abbotsford School District Superintendent:           In the middle of this, again, horrific situation, they, uh, stopped this individual first by just yelling at him.  And, and then the, uh, staff, uh, converged on him.

[people standing outside a building, talking and hugging]

Hua:   For those who lost a friend and are left praying for another, support staff stationed at a nearby church, here to offer help.

Nair:   It’s scary ʼcause when I go to school for the whole week and for, like, the rest of my life, I’m going to be thinking about this.

Hua:   And in the panic-stricken moments that ensued after the stabbing, as parents desperately tried to connect with their children, sources say police were able to locate Letisha Reimer’s parents and bring them to her side.  [photos of Reimer]  So in those final moments, she was surrounded by those who love her most.  John Hua, Global News.

Gailus:           Well, as mentioned, the suspect in the attack is Gabriel Brandon Klein.  He’s now facing charges, but there is a lot of unanswered questions about who he is and what brought him to Abbotsford that day.  Rumina Daya is live with what we do know about the mystery man.  And a warning, some of the images you’re about to see may be disturbing to some viewers.  Rumina, what have you learned about the investigation?

Daya:  Chris, let’s start with the charges.  Klein has been charged with the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer.  As you mentioned, only 13 years old.  And he’s facing a second count of aggravated assault in connection to a 14-year-old student who we cannot name because of a publication ban.  [split screen with Daya reporting on right and, on left, still photo from video of male holding his arm up; blurred circle on right hides victim; photo is zoomed in on twice]  So as you mentioned, he’s 21 years old.  There’s no connection to the students who were stabbed.  No connection to the school apparently.  Klein doesn’t even have a criminal history in BC.  [exterior view of Abbotsford Courthouse]  And that’s potentially because he’s not even from this province. [close-up of Abbotsford Courthouse sign]  Uh, we’re finding out that he’s from Alberta.  [exterior of courthouse and sheriff van] We have very little information about him.  Here’s a little bit more from IHIT today.

  1. Sgt Jennifer Pound: Mr. Klein is of no fixed address. Um, we know that he frequents the Vancouver area and has been in the Vancouver area since approximately February-March of this year.  There’s very limited information we have on Mr. Klein.  And for that reason we’re asking for the public’s assistance.

Gailus:           Now Rumina, you were in court for what was expected to be Klein’s first appearance, but it didn’t go exactly as planned.

Daya:  No, he, it didn’t.  He was physically there in cells, but he was refusing to walk up to the courtroom.  He was not cooperating with police or with the sheriffs.  They actually had to restrain him for his own safety.  I spoke to his, uh, duty counsel who’s been appointed by the court.  Uh, he said that he tried to speak to his client twice in order to get some instructions from him on what to do next and he said that he was either incapable of talking to him or he just didn’t want to.  We did find out that Klein, uh, was taken to Abbotsford Hospital last night, Chris.  He was, uh, remanded in custody.  He was taken into custody, um, certified under the Mental Health Act.  But then we found out later today in a twist that he was decertified by a psychiatrist.  So not a lot of details as to his history, whether there’s any drug addiction, whether there’s any issue, ongoing issues with mental health.  All we know is that he’s going to be back in court on Monday.  Chris.

Gailus:           All right, Rumina.  Thank you for the update.

Lui:      Now, while investigators won’t confirm yet that mental health was a factor, advocates are calling on the government for better mental health resources.  Especially in light of a number of high profile incidents.  Aaron McArthur has more on that part of the story.

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “Advocates Call for Better Resources”

[aerial shot of Abbotsford Senior Secondary School]

McArthur:     Hard to pin down Gabriel Klein’s state of mind Tuesday.  But a random attack on two strangers in a high school from a man with no fixed address, there is growing concern mental health issues played a role.  Critics are urging the provincial government to do more to protect British Columbians.

John Horgan, NDP Leader:           Mental health has been ignored for generations, I would argue.  When I talk to the Union of BC Municipalities, the number one issue for them is mental health.  Because they get all of the results at their front door and they don’t have the capacity to deal with it.  The Province has the responsibility and the Province isn’t delivering.

Christy Clark, Premier:      We are going to do everything we can to, um, respond to what has happened here.  We need to understand what happened first.  We need to see the, uh, the results of the police investigation.

McArthur:     Violent episodes from people suffering with mental illness are rare, but they keep happening.  [footage of emergency vehicles outside at night during previous incident]  And are often dealt with as individual incidents.  The VPD have used the Mental Health Act to apprehend more than 2000 people this year.  [aerial view of a man walking with arms outstretched towards a police officer holding gun; the man stops, turns and falls to ground; 5 officers surround him]  Mental health experts say there have been improvements to the system, but not enough.  [exterior scenes of people walking down the street and sitting on park benches]

Dr. Elliot Goldner, Mental Health Researcher: We have a number of gaps in our services so that now if somebody has even a common mental health problem like depression or anxiety, people have to often wait a very, very long time.  Far too long.

McArthur:     The murder of Letisha Reimer is a tragedy beyond words. [photo of Reimer; exterior of Abbotsford Secondary School]  Whether it pushes the government towards a more comprehensive strategy on mental health is a question all British Columbians need to ask.  Aaron McArthur, Global News.

Lui:      And later on the News Hour tonight, we’ll take a look at school safety.  What procedures were in place?  Were they effective?  And could this tragedy have an impact on protocol at all schools in BC?

banners at bottom of screen read “Violent Attack” and “School Safety Procedures”

18:16:40-18:16:55

teaser for upcoming stories

Lui:      What happens when the safest place for students isn’t?

blue banner at bottom of screen reads “School Safety”

clip of press conference by Superintendent Godden:           Something like this that shakes, uh, our community to the core, we have to, we have to look at that.

[male student laying flowers at memorial outside school]

Gailus:           What we can learn from the Abbotsford school stabbing.

18:21:05-18:23:09

banners at bottom of screen read “Abbotsford Stabbing” and “Are Schools Safe Enough?”

Gailus:           Back to our top story now, the stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.  It’s raising some tough questions about the safety of our schools.  Police and educators face new challenges keeping students safe without turning schools into locked fortresses.  Ted Chernecki has that part of the story.

[footage from December 2012 school-related incident at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut; many cars on roadway and people running; sound from police radio “Caller’s indicating she thinks that someone’s shooting in the building”; paramedics wheeling someone on gurney to ambulance; aerial scene of police & tactical officers around school]

Chernecki:    Especially in the States after numerous attacks on students, school safety has been studied extensively.  Down there, precautions can range from enhanced cameras all the way to actual armed guards.  [aerial scene of Abbotsford Secondary School]  But here at Abbotsford Secondary, it’s a reactive response.  And, by all accounts, one that worked really well yesterday.

interview with Grade 12 female student Baneet Braich:      The teachers, right away they were fast.  They, they wanted to make sure the students were safe.  They were keeping us calm.  They did an incredible job of that.  And the procedures, the first aid, staff knew what to do.

interview with Grade 9 male student Amsuman Nair:          I heard her screaming and suddenly the announcement came on saying it’s a code red lockdown.  We, the teacher shut off the lights, closed the doors.  We went into the corner.  And we were there for, like, four hours, you know, without making any noise.

BC Premier Christy Clark at press conference:           They thought fast.  They showed real courage.  And, um, and one of those children is, is alive today because of that.

[footage from April 2014 school incident in Murrysville, Pennsylvania]

Chernecki:    The problem is trying to catch a perpetrator before the act.  A stabbing spree at Franklin Regional School near Pittsburgh two years ago resulted in 22 victims.  And this school had a police officer regularly assigned to it.  [exterior scene of Abbotsford library]  In Abbotsford, there’s a public library connected to the school and adults come and go all the time.

Abbotsford School District Superintendent Kevin Godden at press conference:           There is nothing that would preclude, uh, any stranger from walking into, uh, a school.  I mean, a, a parent could be potentially, you know, a parent of one child could be seen as a stranger to another.  And so, uh, the protocol that we have is people in our school, that they check in at the office.

interview with Ashok Nair, Parent:         Anyone can just walk into school, you know, with a weapon in hand.  That’s kind of really, you know, challenging and unsafe.

[footage from previous day’s incident; ambulance and emergency workers]

Chernecki:    The minister responsible for public safety says he’ll be reviewing all the details leading up to the attack with a measured response planned.

interview with Mike Morris, BC Minister of Public Safety:     I hope we don’t get to the point where we treat our schools like penitentiaries and have to fence our kids in.

[exterior of Abbotsford school]

Chernecki:    Ted Chernecki, Global News.

Apology

On November 30, at approximately 6:50 pm, Global BC aired the following statement:

Lui:      All right.  We want to apologize for an on-air mistake that was made during the News Hour on November 1st.  As we were updating viewers on the stories we were following for Global News at 11 we inadvertently aired blurred video of the tragic stabbing at Abbotsford Secondary.  Our own Journalistic Principles and Practices require we issue a warning to the audience in advance of airing video that may be disturbing.  In this case, due to an editing error, we did not issue that warning.  We apologize for that error and the impact this may have had on some viewers.

Appendix B

The Complaints

The CBSC received a total of 58 complaints about Global BC’s coverage of the Abbotsford school stabbing.  Of those, 43 provided enough information to proceed through the CBSC’s process.  Of those 43, three complainants requested a ruling.  Their complaints are reproduced here:

File 16/17-0553

The CBSC received this complaint via email on November 3, 2016:

Hello,

I would like to make a complaint about a piece of material that Global BC aired during a recent news hour program and on their website.

Unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl was murdered at a high school in Abbotsford BC on Nov 1st.  One of her classmates caught a portion of the murder on a cell phone video.

After the police had asked the media to not air the video, Global BC chose to ignore this request.  They aired the video on their news program and still have the video available to view on their website.

I object to this for many reasons including the disrespect & trauma caused to the girl’s family and friends, the trauma caused to the local community and the trauma caused to other unsuspecting viewers, both adults and children.

I also object to their blatant disregard to a direct police request for nothing other than a hope for ratings.

Myself, and many others, have complained directly to Global BC.  They have claimed that they needed to show the video to fully report the story.  This is not true.  Nothing stopped them from telling the story or reporting/describing what happened in the video.  They chose to air it for potential ratings, as they knew that other reputable stations had agreed not to air the video.

There is also no reason for them to continue to have the video available to stream on their website.  The story has been told, the news has been reported.  This is just cruel to the girl’s family and friends.

They also used the justification that this is no different than when they aired footage of a dead Syrian refugee child a few months back.  Trying to use an equally despicable/cruel video as a defense is laughable.  Are videos of dead children their new business signature?

I do understand that the news has to report both the good and the bad but does Global BC really need to be taught the difference between photos of the aftermath of war or natural disasters and a video of a child actively being murdered?

Therefore, I am requesting that the CBSC please order Global BC to remove the video from their website, to not air the video again at anytime during their daily programming and that station manager/news director [J. K.] issue an on-air apology to the girl’s family and, hopefully, the RCMP as well.

Thank you for your time.

The CBSC informed the complainant that she needed to provide the date and time of the broadcast that concerned her, and that if she had only seen it on the internet, the CBSC did not have jurisdiction to act on her complaint.  The complainant responded on November 24 with the following information:

I do not remember the exact time they aired the whole video but it was during their 6 pm news hour on November 1st, 2016.

They also showed a still image of the video on their 6 pm news hour on November 2nd, 2016.

I believe it was also aired during their other news programs on November 1st & 2nd but I did not see those myself.

Thank-you for your time.

File 16/17-0563

The CBSC received the following complaint on November 2 via its webform:

Television or Radio Station:         Global BC

Program Name:                  News at 11

Date of Program:                2016/11/01

Time of Program:               11 pm

Specific Concern:                Broadcast the cell phone video of high school girls being stabbed and murdered in their school – without warning!  And after showing the police chief in news conference clearly asking media to refrain from airing the video.

File 16/17-0606

The CBSC received the following complaint on November 3 via its webform:

Television or Radio Station:         Global

Program Name:                  News Hour

Date of Program:                2016/11/1

Time of Program:               6:00

Specific Concern:                They are airing video of a teenage girl being murdered on air.  They also have it on loop on their website.  The subject of this video is not only a minor, is now deceased.  It is offensive, extremely hard to watch and they aired it with almost no warning.  They are exploiting a dead teenager for viewers during primetime hours where children are watching.  Not to mention they are re-victimizing those involved.  This station needs to be punished.

Broadcaster Response

Global BC responded to all complainants with the same letter dated December 15:

Dear [Complainant],

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has shared your concerns regarding our news coverage of the tragedy that took place in Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on November 1, 2016.

Global News is dedicated to the reporting of accurate, balanced, timely and comprehensive news and information in the public interest.  Our team strives to uphold the highest level of journalistic integrity and ethics at all times.  Our journalists are educated to make sound editorial decisions thoughtfully and with sensitivity, and to produce news content in accordance with community standards, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) of Canada’s Code of Journalistic Ethics, our own Global News Journalistic Principles & Practices (JPP) and the Canadian Association of Broadcaster’s (CAB) Code of Ethics and Violence Code.

As a news organization, we use “editorial judgment in the reporting of, and the pictorial representation of violence, aggression or destruction” (Violence Code) while at the same time showing “equal care to not sanitize the reality of the human condition” (Violence Code), even when it is horrific and incomprehensible.  These tough calls, often involving shocking and disturbing images, are made thoughtfully in consultation with experienced, senior news managers at the local and network levels.  These decisions are also guided by the Global News Journalistic Principles and Practices, among the most stringent in Canada, which include detailed criteria for evaluating and broadcasting disturbing content.  There is nothing random nor reckless about this process.

As established in CBSC Decision 00/01-0982 regarding a news report covering a violent attack at the Tour de France:  “Even if it is a shocking occurrence, it is neither unfair nor improper to report it.  As Article 6.6 of the Violence Code provides, care must also be taken not to sanitize the news.  The Panel draws a distinction between a news item that is, by its nature, sensational and the broadcast of a news report that, otherwise having the ability to stand on its own, has been sensationalized.  In the case at hand, the criminal act is the story.”

The eyewitness video in question was deemed to be editorially relevant to the story – much like the Tour de France decision, the criminal act was the story.  The video became central to the police investigation and sparked important debate about the safety and security of schools throughout British Columbia.  Though difficult to watch, disturbing video has on many occasions been a catalyst for social or legislative change as well as government accountability.  Having been involved in these deliberations, you have my personal assurance that our decision was not made lightly.  There was great regard and sensitivity for the impact these images would have on the community.  In an effort to lessen that impact, in accordance with our JPP, we blurred parts of the eyewitness video prior to broadcast.

Regrettably, we failed to provide sufficient viewer warnings on our Global News Hour at 6 program and then again on Global News at 11.  We sincerely apologize for this and want to assure you that it was never our intent to cause the victims or the residents of Abbotsford any additional distress or harm.  We took these errors seriously, offering an on-air apology to all our viewers on November 30, 2016 at approximately 6:50 p.m. PST.  We initially broadcast the video because it was editorially relevant in the hours immediately following the attack, then discontinued its use as the editorial significance diminished and the focus of our reporting shifted from the criminal act to the judicial process and issues of school safety and security.  Likewise, the video was removed from Globalnews.ca where it would typically remain in our video archives.  Our goal was and is to adhere to the guiding principles of responsible journalism and journalistic ethics to provide the communities we serve with the full, fair and proper presentation of news and information in the public interest.

Global BC has a long history of deep community involvement beyond reporting the news.  We are extremely proud of our dedicated staff who commit themselves to dozens of community initiatives and the assistance we are able to render to hundreds of charities and other worthy causes in the province.  We are truly connected with our viewers and communities because our employees live and work all over B.C.  Our news team feels pain and outrage when horrible events occur, but as journalists we are governed by a code of ethical conduct that guides us to “remain professionally detached and objective when reporting the news so as not to influence the outcome of events.”

Your thoughtful criticism serves as an important reminder to Global BC staff to always provide appropriate warnings in advance of disturbing content so that audience members may choose to watch it or not.  Your feedback will most assuredly be considered in planning coverage of future news stories.

Additional Correspondence

File 16/17-0553

This complainant filed her Ruling Request on December 19 with the following note:

I do not find Global’s response to be satisfactory.  It does not accept wrongdoing but simply denies they did anything inappropriate and defends their actions, even though every other BC news outlet made the decision to not air the content, as requested by the RCMP.

I am requesting a ruling, so that there can hopefully be some reassurance that when faced with this decision again, they will think harder about making a more appropriate choice about their on-air content.

Global needs to learn that the news can be presented in a way that does not glorify the death of a child in exchange for ratings.  As exhibited by the other news outlets, the story was “newsworthy” but airing the depiction of said crime was not something that the majority of the public wanted to see or felt they needed to see to understand the story.

Thank-you for your time.

File 16/17-0563

This complainant filed her Ruling Request on December 16 with the following note:

The response indicates that the video that was shown “was editorially relevant in the hours immediately following the attack”; however, the suspect was never at large, but was taken into police custody within minutes of the incident, and there was no information seen in the video that was not already known to law enforcement and journalists.  Furthermore, the response makes a comparative reference to CBSC Decision 00/01-0982 regarding a news report covering an attack at the Tour de France, but this incident did NOT involve the stabbing murder of a child, among her peers (innocent bystanders), in full view, who could be easily re-traumatized by the sights and sounds of the video being aired in the hours immediately following the incident.  Furthermore, this incident was within the community of Greater Vancouver (Global BC’s audience), where there are hundreds of viewers who have been directly impacted by this incident, which is unlike the Tour de France example.

File 16/17-0606

This complainant filed his Ruling Request on December 17 with the following note addressing Global:

To whom it may concern,

I would like to firstly thank you for taking the time to respond to my concerns.

For what it is worth, I never thought your releasing of this video was a decision that was taken lightly, a message you seemingly wanted to make very clear in your response.

With that being said, please do not reference journalistic integrity or insinuate that you had a social obligation to spread the news to your viewers.  You played this video to gain viewers, period.  Despite the Abbotsford Police Department pleading with news organizations to not publish the video, you decided to anyways.  In your response you also cited assisting the police investigation.  This makes me think that you really are not as serious about responding to my concern as you say.  Do you think APD did not have the video, or that they were not taking the investigation seriously?  In the short amount of time it took you to publish this video following the incident there is no chance you were able to come to this conclusion.  So safe to say, your publishing of the video was fear mongering and in actual fact a detriment to the investigation (as cited by the Abbotsford Police Department).

In conclusion, if there are no ethical, or social justifications for airing this video, this leads me to believe what I already knew.  That Global News carefully deliberated and came to a decision to exploit a 13-year-old girl being murdered in order to draw viewers to their website and news program.  For that, you should be ashamed and at the very least, I will no longer turn on Global News.  Pertaining to CRTC [sic, CBSC] protocol, to say that I am unsatisfied with your response would be an understatement.

PS:  While you are thanking your staff for their due diligence in putting aside personal feelings to uphold their journalistic duty to report this story to the fullest, you should probably know that they were extremely rude and blatantly trying to exploit grieving people for the purposes of your story.  This also includes students who had just found out that someone walked into their school and killed a student, by the way.  When respectfully asked to stop harassing students in particular, they responded by essentially saying they have a right to be there, and that staff can try and make them leave (I am paraphrasing, just so you know.  I will not repeat the expletive filled response).