On-Air Errors Must Be Corrected On-Air

Ottawa, August 7, 2013 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning news reports broadcast on CTV News Channel on February 25, 2013.  Two reports erroneously stated that a Palestinian man being detained in an Israeli prison had been participating in a hunger strike when he died.  The CBSC concluded that the station broadcast inaccurate information contrary to the Codes of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA).  It also concluded that the error should have been corrected on television because that is where the error occurred.

CTV News Channel broadcast two short news reports entitled “Clashes Erupt in West Bank”.  Both segments reported that tensions had risen following the death of Palestinian man in an Israeli jail and that “the prisoner died while taking part in a hunger strike”.  The CBSC received a complaint from an organization called Honest Reporting Canada which noted that the prisoner had not, in fact, been on a hunger strike and that the official autopsy report was inconclusive regarding the cause of death.

CTV News Channel acknowledged that the reports contained this error.  It explained that it had not broadcast any further reports on the subject and had corrected the story on its website.  The CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel found breaches of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1 of the RTNDA Code of Ethics, both of which require accuracy in news reports.  The Panel commended CTV News for quickly correcting the error on its website, but stated that CTV should also have provided that correction on television as required by Article 7 of the RTNDA Code.

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 760 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