Inclusion of Irrelevant and Inaccurate Information in Report Violates Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, July 24, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a report broadcast on CTV British Columbia’s (CIVT-TV) late evening newscast on February 22, 2011.  The CBSC concluded that the report about a fire at a Vancouver restaurant contained inaccurate and unfair information contrary to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Code of Ethics.

The report was breaking news about a fire at a local tandoori restaurant.  The news anchor informed viewers that no one was injured and the cause of the fire had yet to be determined.  The anchor then mentioned that the restaurant had been in the news in the past due to a dispute between its owner and the owner of a similarly-named restaurant in the same neighbourhood.  The report included video footage of separate interviews with the two restaurant owners about that dispute.

The complaint came from the owner of the damaged restaurant.  He complained that it was inappropriate that the report had mentioned the previous dispute because it had long been resolved and was irrelevant to the story about the fire.  The CBSC’s British Columbia Regional Panel concluded that CTV British Columbia violated Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics because it had inaccurately made it sound like the conflict between the two tandoori restaurant owners was ongoing.  The Panel also concluded that, while the broadcaster had not violated anyone’s privacy, it had unfairly included irrelevant background information because the story about the restaurant name dispute was unrelated to the fire.  That element of the report violated Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab