NTV Evening Newshour is CJON-DT’s (NTV, Newfoundland & Labrador) 6:00 pm newscast. On April 26, 2021, NTV aired a short report about a convicted murderer whose parole had been revoked. The report was presented by the news anchor and went as follows:
It has been nearly twenty years since Brian Doyle was convicted of killing Catherine Carroll. Last April, he was granted parole. On Friday, the parole board revoked his day parole as concerns were raised after Doyle failed to report that he was in a relationship with a woman. As part of his parole, Brian Doyle was required to disclose any relationships, sexual or otherwise. The parole board took a dim view that it took him six weeks to tell officials of his most recent relationship, causing them to question his honesty and transparency throughout Friday’s hearing. Doyle was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to eighteen years without parole in 2002. Catherine Carroll was stabbed to death New Year’s Day 1994. Her son Greg Parsons was initially convicted of her murder, but years later DNA cleared him of that murder. A panel will be held within ninety days to reconsider Friday’s decision.
Words at the bottom of the screen read “Parole Revoked” and the visuals consisted of scenes of Doyle in a courtroom, talking to a lawyer. At the mention of the victim’s name, a photograph of her appeared on screen.
The CBSC received a complaint about the report on May 6. The complainant pointed out that Doyle had actually been convicted in 2003, not 2002 as NTV had reported and that Ms. Carroll had in fact been murdered in 1991, not 1994. He asserted that the “whole story was riddled with inconsistencies”. He also argued that the reference to “twenty years” gave the false impression that Doyle had served his time, but he had really only spent 5½ years in a maximum security prison and then the remainder in first a medium security and then a minimum security facility. The complainant was a member of the victim’s family and indicated that he had tried to contact NTV to rectify the inaccuracies, but had received no response.
NTV responded on June 14. The station acknowledged the errors it had made with respect to the dates and apologized. It also insisted that it had tried on numerous occasions to set up an interview with the complainant, but had not been successful. NTV also pointed out that it had covered this matter over many years and always aimed to provide fair and balanced coverage of the story.
The complainant replied to the station on June 14 and copied the CBSC. He asserted that NTV’s description of what transpired during attempts to set up interviews was not factual and that the broadcaster had not returned his messages when he had contacted them about fixing the inaccuracies in the April 26 broadcast. He then filed a Ruling Request on June 22, reiterating this point.
The broadcaster provided the CBSC with additional information on August 25. It wrote that it took full responsibility for the errors and explained that they were due to the story being rushed to air. NTV explained that the reporter confused the date of Parsons’s acquittal with the date of the actual murder, and the year of Doyle’s arrest with the year of his sentencing. NTV indicated that it had reminded its journalists of the importance of being accurate and reliable. (The full text of all correspondence can be found in the Appendix.)
The English-Language Panel examined the complaints under the following provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada’s (RTDNA) Code of Journalistic Ethics
CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 5 – News
1) It shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy and without bias. Broadcasters shall satisfy themselves that the arrangements made for obtaining news ensure this result. [...]
RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics, Article 1.0 – Accuracy
We are committed to journalism in the public interest that is accurate and reliable. Journalists will strive to verify facts and put them in context.
1.2 Accuracy also requires us to update and correct news and information throughout the life cycle of a news story as we become aware of relevant and reliable information.
1.3 Errors and inaccuracy that affect the understanding of a news story will be unambiguously and promptly corrected.
The Panel Adjudicators read all of the correspondence and viewed a recording of the challenged broadcast. The Panel concludes that CJON-DT breached Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1.0 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics for including inaccurate dates in its report.
The question posed to the Panel is presented below:
Did NTV violate Clause 5(1) of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1.0 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics for broadcasting inaccurate information?
The CBSC has, in the following decisions, determined that material and obvious inaccuracies will violate the aforementioned codes.
In CITY-TV re “You Paid For It!” (Immigration) (CBSC Decision 95/96-0088, December 16, 1997), the Council dealt with the issue of accuracy in terminology. In that decision, the Panel found that the broadcaster had failed to make the material distinction between immigrants and refugees in a report which required such a distinction to be made. It found that this inaccuracy went beyond a mere lack of “tightness”, as had been noted in a previous decision. In addition, the Panel noted that the “serious inaccuracies, contained in the report […] combined with the reporter’s overall tone, created an unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate report” which “preyed on the negative feelings which some Canadians have towards immigrants.” The Panel concluded that, by airing this report, the broadcaster had breached the RTNDA1 Code of (Journalistic) Ethics:
The Council notes that, throughout the report, newcomers to Canada were referred to most often by the designation “these people” or “them”. The word “immigrants” is used sparsely and the word “refugees” was not used at all in either the 6 or 10 p.m. broadcasts of the report. There is, however, no doubt that some of the comments made by the Reform Party M.P. were directed specifically at refugees. He states that “these are the ones who are sponsored by the government of Canada.” In the Council’s understanding, “sponsoring” refers to various categories of refugees, not to “immigrants” to Canada.
In this case, the Council considers that CITV’s failure goes further than merely lacking “tightness”. The report on the issue of government spending in the area of immigration confused money spent on immigrants, i.e. foreigners who are accepted into Canada in the hopes that they will spur economic growth for the country, with money spent on refugees, i.e. people who are accepted into Canada out of humanitarian compassion. The confusion of money spent with respect to both groups in the context of the statement that a treasury critic “doesn’t believe that many of the bills paid by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration are paying off” was grossly misleading and had the overall effect of portraying all newcomers to Canada are “free-loaders”.
The issue of accuracy was also considered in the context of a segment of a public affairs program called J.E. in TVA re J.E. (Entreprises Pendragon) (CBSC Decision 97/98-0390, August 14, 1998). The report included a mathematical error which was considered by the Panel to be a “gross miscalculation on the reporter’s part [which] created unfairness in the report.” In finding a breach for the failure to present the news with accuracy and fairness, the Panel stated:
The reporter attempted to calculate “a conservative estimate” of the amount of money Pendragon could have collected from local small businesses in its failed attempt to publish a visitor’s guide. He stated (and the numbers were put up on the screen) that, if 180 clients each paid the minimum of $200, Pendragon should have collected $360,000. While the Council understands that the addition of the extra zero (making the relatively small sum of $36,000 the rather huge sum of $360,000) may have been inadvertent, it was a reckless error on a centrally material issue in the report. Moreover, the error was compounded by the reporter who relied on the exaggerated number as the basis for his questioning of Pendragon’s president.
In two news reports about safety issues on the Scarborough Bluffs provoked by the rescue of three teenagers from a crumbling cliffside, the broadcaster focussed the reports on the state of the Bluffs near a particular condominium housing development (CIII-TV (Global Ontario) re Global News reports (“Bluffs Danger”) (CBSC Decision 05/06-0500, May 18, 2006). In particular, the reports pointed out that a crumbling parking lot in the development had not been repaired and that other dangerous areas near the development were easily accessible to young people and pets. The complainant lived in the housing development and was a member of condominium board. She objected to numerous aspects of the reports, including the fact that the property owners had been inaccurately identified. The Panel made a finding that the inaccurate material violated the code provisions regarding accuracy:
Where, for example, the broadcaster asserted tha the “property [is] owned by Newton Trelawney Management”, it appears that the report was in error. As the complainant explained, the property “is collectively owned by the unit owners of a condominium corporation, governed by a volunteer board of directors who serve the community in their spare time, without renumeration of any kind.” The Panel assumes that this factual assertion could easily have been verified before broadcast. If it could not have been, making the statement was at risk of being inaccurate […].
The CBSC dealt with a complaint from the company, Translink, that runs the SkyTrain public transportation system in Vancouver in CKWX-AM re news reports about SkyTrain (CBSC Decision 06/07-1127, August 19, 2008). The company complained that the all-news radio station had broadcast misleading and inaccurate reports about statements made by SkyTrain’s CEO about safety on the transportation system. On two occasions, the station identified Doug Kelsey as the “head of TransLink” when in fact he was the CEO of SkyTrain, not TransLink. The Panel found that the inaccurate identification of Kelsey’s position at SkyTrain was a breach of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1 of the RTDNA Code of (Journalistic) Ethics.
CTV’s news specialty service broadcast erroneous information related to mourners marching in a funeral procession for a Palestinian prisoner who was reported to have died in an Israeli jail while taking part in a hunger strike (CTV News Channel re news reports (“Clashes Erupt in West Bank”) (CBSC Decision 12/13-1134, August 7, 2013). A group calling itself Honest Reporting Canada complained that the prisoner had not in fact been participating in a hunger strike; rather, autopsy reports showed that the cause of death was inconclusive. CTV acknowledged that it had relied on an American television network as the source of this information, but had not aired any further reports on the topic and had ensured than an accurate account was posted on its website. The Panel made a finding of breach of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics for airing inaccurate information and stated that the station should also have broadcast a correction on air.
A CBSC Panel examined reports about a female teacher who had been accused of inappropriate sexual comments made towards a 16-year old male student in CKCO-DT (CTV Kitchener) re a report on CTV News at Six (“Inappropriate Conversation”) (CBSC Decision 14/15-1508, April 7, 2016). The first report, during the 6:00 pm newscast, informed viewers that the charges had been dropped because there was not enough evidence to go to trial. The reporter stated that the judge had ordered the teacher to quit. During the 11:30 pm newscast, the station revised its story to state that the teacher’s lawyer had informed CTV that the teacher had voluntarily resigned from the Ontario College of Teachers. The following day, CTV aired a correction, explaining that it had erred in its 6:00 pm newscast of the previous day by stating that the teacher had been ordered by a judge to quit; rather, the teacher had voluntarily resigned and this was an important factor in the judge’s decision to drop the charges. The complainant was the teacher involved in the report and, despite the correction aired by CTV, she was concerned that the original report had contained inaccurate information about her resignation. The Panel concluded that CTV did breach Article 1 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics and Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics for its initial inaccurate statement regarding the teacher’s resignation, but met the requirements of the RTDNA Code of Ethics by airing a correction the following day.
Global Edmonton aired a report during its 5:00 pm newscast about a pilot who had pleaded guilty of attempting to fly an aircraft with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit which was examined in CIVT-DT (Global Edmonton) re Global News at 5 report (Sunwing pilot) (CBSC Decision 16/17-1868, December 20, 2017). The report centered on his sentence and stated that he had been banned for operating any aircraft for two years when in fact the ban was actually for one year. A viewer pointed out the error and the station acknowledged its error and aired a correction 17 days later on both its 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts. The Panel found a breach for inaccuracy since the focus of the story was on sentencing and therefore the error was material. It also acknowledged that the broadcaster had met its responsibilities under Article 1.3 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics by airing a correction. As a result, Global Edmonton was not required to air a CBSC decision announcement.
In 2021, two separate CBSC panels considered the issue of accuracy. First, CJOH-DT (CTV Ottawa) re a report on CTV National News (Woodward’s Trump tapes) (CBSC Decision 20.2021-0062, January 27, 2021) dealt with the airing of a news report about United States President Donald Trump, which informed viewers that recordings had been released of an interview conducted by journalist Bob Woodward with President Trump. The recordings had the President admitting that he downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 virus because he did not want the American population to panic. The report included a statement by the CTV reporter, “Calling the virus a hoax, Trump continued to hold packed rallies, minimizing the danger to young people when he knew better.” A viewer complained that Trump had never called the virus itself a hoax; rather, what he characterized as a hoax was the Democrats’ efforts to politicize Trump’s approach to the pandemic in 2020. CTV acknowledged that the “hoax” comment had been taken out of context, but felt that it did not affect the main message of the report. The majority of the Panel concluded that the mischaracterization of what Trump had actually called a “hoax” was a material inaccuracy that constituted a breach of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1.0 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics:
President Trump’s comments on the “hoax” were made more than six months previous to the CTV news report at issue. This means that CTV had ample time and opportunity to do the necessary checking to ensure the factual accuracy of Trump’s remarks, which in reality were associated to the Democrats’ efforts to politicize the President’s response to the pandemic.
The essence of the CTV news report was not the characterization by President Trump of the COVID-19 virus as a “hoax” but rather was to focus on taped conversations between Bob Woodward and the President which demonstrated that Trump knew the severity of the pandemic, but chose not to publicly aknowledge it for fear of creating a panic response in the US population. In its response to the complainant, CTV acknowledged “that the statement in question in our report was used out of context and should not have been included in the report” and that the complainant was correct about its original context. CTV was of the view that this constituted an inadvertent error and that the overall sense of the story was that the President had purposely withheld important medical information about COVID-19, which was correct and accurate.
A majority of the Panel disagrees with CTV that the use of the term “hoax” in the context of this news report was not a material inaccuracy. The correspondent was not reporting on the use by Trump of the term “hoax” on the day of the news report at issue but rather on the COVID-19 revelations contained in the Woodward interview with President Trump. Given that the use of the term “hoax” by the President was used in an entirely different context months earlier, it was incumbent on the reporter to make sure the use of “hoax” in the context of the news report was factually correct. […]
Given that the “hoax” characterization was not the main thrust of the story, its use gave a more negative impression of how Trump was dealing with the pandemic. In these politically charged times, using the term “hoax” out of context to demonstrate that Trump was being dismissive of the pandemic does constitute a material inaccuracy […]. When listening to the report about how Trump was downplaying the pandemic to avoid a panic, the use of the term “hoax” gave the news story a whole different twist and painted the interview much differently and led to what constitutes a material inaccuracy.
The second 2021 decision dealing with accuracy examined a complaint about a headline ticker on the 24-hour news channel CP24 (CP24 re a news headline about COVID-19 (CBSC Decision 20.2021-1392, September 15, 2021). The news service repeatedly aired a headline in its ticker/banner that read “Premier Ford says an announcement coming tomorrow about plan to loosen restrictions in Grey zones.” Another headline read “Premier Ford tells residents to ‘stay tuned’ for an announcement tomorrow on tougher restrictions.” A news report that aired during this time was about Premier Ford’s press conference at which he hinted that tougher COVID-19 restrictions would be coming soon. A viewer complained that the “loosen restrictions” headline was the exact opposite of what was true and that CP24 should have caught the error, as the mistake aired repeatedly on a loop. CP24 acknowledged the error, but pointed out that a correct headline and other content gave the correct information during the same time period. The Panel concluded that the error constituted a breach of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1.0 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics and stated as follows:
The Panel understands that newsroom writers have to service multiple media platforms simultaneously including broadcast news, social media sites and websites and that therefore ensuring that the news information provided is accurate at all times can be challenging. However, the Panel has taken particular note of the type of service offered by CP24. This discretionary service provides what is known as an “at a glance” news service. Accordingly, the Panel considers that viewers will often pay less attention to the video portion of the newscast because in many circumstances the broadcast is seen in spaces where the audio is turned off, such as bars, doctors offices and airport lounges.
Moreover, the Panel is mindful that it should consider the accessibility of this content for all viewers including viewers that may be hearing impaired. In such a context, the viewer would not be able to discern what is accurate between two separate headlines that provide completely opposing information. Even with the video on and where the viewer is at home, this type of service is often consumed while doing other activities. In these circumstances, the crawl can readily become the primary source of information rather than a secondary or even a tertiary source of information. Accordingly, the accuracy of the banner information becomes all the more significant and is therefore at least as important as the video component if not even more important given the manner in which this service is often consumed.
Although the Panel accepts that this is not an instance of deliberate misrepresentation, there is no doubt that the issue of whether COVID-19 restrictions were going to increase or be relaxed was crucial to the news report. The inaccurate banner was seen multiple times during the hour reviewed as was the banner which contained the accurate information. The two banners were diametrically opposed to one another. Therefore the Panel believes that the incorrect banner was a mistake, but it was a mistake regarding very material information. This was not nuanced interpretation of a news item which happens to deal with what is and has been for more than 18 months the top news story worldwide – the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the case at hand, NTV has readily admitted in both its June 14, 2021 response and in an additional email dated August 25, 2021, that the news report did not provide the correct date for the actual murder as well as the sentencing date of the murderer who was convicted in this case. NTV explained that the editing for time process was responsible for the error and that its reporter should have checked the information contained in the news report to ensure accuracy. The broadcaster took full responsibility for these factual errors and apologized to the complainant. NTV also stated that it had reminded its “journalists of the importance of being accurate in all matters.”
Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics requires that news be represented with accuracy and without bias. The Panel considers that there was no deliberate attempt by NTV to change the narrative of this story which focused on the revocation of the parole of the convicted murderer. It understands that in a rush to get the story to air, incorrect pieces of information were used in the report. However, both the CAB Code of Ethics and the RTDNA Code of Journalilstic Ethics require accuracy and even stress that journalists should strive to verify facts and put them in context. The RTDNA Code of Journalilstic Ethics also requires that news be updated and corrected throughout the life cycle of a news story which NTV did not do in this case.
Although NTV admits its error, it made no attempt to make corrections on air. Notwitstanding this, the Panel does not consider that these errors were intentional and, therefore, it does not consider that there was bias in this news report. However, the details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts of this long standing case that could have been readily verified by the reporter prior to airing the news segment. Accordingly, the Panel considers that these inaccuracies constitute breaches of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics solely as it relates to accuracy and is also in breach of Article 1 of the RTDNA Code of Journalilstic Ethics.
In previous CBSC decisions, broadcasters have been encouraged to ensure accurate fact checking but also to air corrections in accordance with the requirements of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics. The Panel considers that this is good journalistic practice and strongly encourages broadcasters to air corrections on air as this demonstrates their commitment to journalism that is in the public interest and which provides accurate and reliable news information.
In addition, much of the correspondence between the complainant and the broadcaster focussed on their attempts to contact one another to set up interviews. The two parties had conflicting views on what had transpired in this regard. The CBSC has neither the means nor the mandate to determine the veracity of these claims. The CBSC is not an evidence-gathering body. Its role is solely to assess on-air broadcasts for compliance with the codes, not the steps that were taken in a program’s preparation. Moreover, the Panel considers that, given that this particular report focussed solely on Doyle’s parole, it was not necessary to present comment from the murder victim’s family in order to achieve fairness or balance.
In all CBSC decisions, the Panels assess the broadcaster’s response to the complainant. The broadcaster need not agree with the complainant’s position, but it must respond in a courteous, thoughtful and thorough manner. In this case, CJON-DT provided a lengthy reply to the complainant, acknowledging its errors and presenting its side of the story with respect to the preparation for this report. Although the complainant had a different perspective, the broadcaster fulfilled its obligations of responsiveness and, subject to the announcement of this decision, nothing further is required on this occasion.
CJON-DT is required to: 1) announce the decision, in the following terms in audio and video format, once during prime time within three days following the release of this decision and once more within seven days following the release of this decision during the time period in which NTV Evening Newshour was broadcast, but not on the same day as the first mandated announcement; 2) within the fourteen days following the broadcasts of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant who filed the Ruling Request; and 3) at that time, to provide the CBSC with a copy of that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by CJON-DT.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that NTV breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Radio Television Digital News Association’s Code of Journalistic Ethics in a broadcast of April 26, 2021. A news report contained inaccurate dates about a murder and sentencing. That violated the code provisions regarding accuracy.
This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.
1In 2011, the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) changed its name to the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA).
The CBSC received the following complaint via its webform on May 6, 2021:
Name of Television or Radio Station: NTV News Newfoundland and Labrador
Program Name: NTV News Hour
Date of Program: 26/04/2021
Time of Program: 6:00PM
On the date of this broadcast, NTV published a story about parole being revoked for Brian Joseph Doyle. This whole story was riddled with inconsistencies. He was charged and convicted in 2003; they reported 2002. They said my Mom was murdered in 1994; it was 1991. They said that Doyle had SPENT 20 YEARS in prison; he only spent 5½ years in a max security prison then went on to med and then min. This left some of the audience believing that he served his time and this is false. I reached out to NTV numerous times to do an interview and [an NTV reporter] was supposed to get back to me. The lack of coverage by NTV was appalling to me. My face and the word Matricide was covered hundreds of times and I truly believe played a part in my wrongful conviction. The least my family, my Mom and I deserve is accurate information being giving to the Newfoundland people as it directly contradicts my statements to other media outlets. There have been many major new developments in this case and work being done by American law officials and documentary programs. We are fighting hard for justice in this case and we do not need the negative impact stemming from inaccurate news reporting. I did contact NTV directly after this story aired to rectify the inaccuracies and provided them with my contact information but received no response.
The broadcaster replied on June 14:
I have received your message of May 14, 2021 from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) about a report referencing Brian Joseph Doyle on the NTV Evening Newshour on April 26, 2021.
First I want to thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about what you have seen on NTV. I want you to know that I take your concerns seriously. It has always been NTV’s objective to provide responsible news and entertaining programming for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On May 14, 2021 [sic, April 26], as part of the NTV Evening Newshour, a news story aired that was intended to update our viewers regarding parole being revoked for Mr. Brian Joseph Doyle. Mr. Doyle had been convicted and is serving a sentence for the murder of your mother Catherine Carroll.
As for the content of the story, we admit there was an error made in the news story regarding the date of the actual murder. In the editing for time process, the date was replaced with the date you were acquitted. We sincerely apologize for that error.
Also, in the report that aired, we indicated that Mr. Doyle was sentenced in 2002. Mr. Doyle was arrested in 2002. According to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland documents, Mr. Doyle was found guilty of the second degree murder of Catherine Ann Carroll and sentenced to imprisonment for life on February 20, 2003.
We apologize for that error also.
I have spoken with our News Director [M. D.] and Video Journalist [B. F.] regarding your complaints. They were both very sympathetic to your concerns.
As a background, I would like to provide the following information provided to me. Over the past year, the NTV News department has reached out to you on several occasions. On February 13, 2021, NTV Video Journalist [B. F.] requested an interview with you and provided you with his cell and office phone number.
When the Parole Board made its ruling, [B. F.] again requested an interview with you for your reaction. Understandably you responded that you were “not in a good place” and indicated to Mr. [F.] that possibly the following day might be better. Our reporter did not hear back from you.
In March 2021, you publicly posted on social media that NTV was not interested in your story. It is my understanding that on March 15, 2021, our reporter [B. F.] again reached out to you. Forty eight hours later an interview was agreed upon and a time was set. I am told, for some unexplained reason, you didn’t actually show up for the interview at the location agreed upon. [B. F.] followed up with phone calls and online messages. Again, there was no response. I also understand that you have called our reporter, [B. F.], at least twice after regular business hours requesting to do an interview the following morning but neither time did you follow through and provide the interview to our reporter.
On April 20, 2021, I acknowledge that you sent our reporter [B. F.] an online message. [B. F.] was in court at that point covering other matters and indicated to you that he would get back to you. However, after previous interviews that did not materialize and a busy work schedule, he admittedly decided not to follow up with you.
For the record, NTV News has covered the injustice done to you with numerous stories over the years. From court cases, appeals, parole board hearings and inquiries NTV has, whenever possible, always been ready to tell this tragic story. Even though public interest in this story may have dwindled over the years, NTV News has always been there to provide our viewers with any further developments that we feel they should be aware of. NTV News will continue to be an avenue to provide fair and balanced news coverage of your story and the situation you and your family are dealing with going forward.
In summary, although we do not believe that our coverage of this story was in breach of any industry guidelines or codes, we understand that every individual may view news material or programming from a different perspective.
NTV is a member in good standing of the CBSC and adheres to all of its codes and guidelines as well as the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA Canada) Code of Ethics.
I hope this explanation addresses the item you have brought to our attention and once again I thank you for watching NTV and for writing us with your concerns.
The complainant replied to the station on June 14 and copied the CBSC:
These facts for [sic, from] [B. F.] are not factual. There was [sic, were] 4 mistakes in the story and I reached out to NTV to fix the story ASAP and to call me and you didn't. I am not satisfied with your response and I will be continuing with my complaint. You have done little to nothing to inform the public what is now happening with this case and it is very unprofessional.
The complainant filed his Ruling Request on June 22:
I am not satisfied with the response as it is not factual. I did not at anytime miss any scheduled interview. There wasn't one and even the most recent developments last week were not reported as well. Why????
Once it has determined that a file requires Panel Adjudication, the CBSC gives the broadcaster one last opportunity to provide comments. CJON-DT did so on August 25:
Thank you for your email.
I appreciate the opportunity to send along this information.
We have already acknowledged in our letter of response that the reporter did NOT use correct dates in the report in question regarding Brian Doyle.
A copy of my response letter is attached. Below is an excerpt from the letter referencing the dates apology.
On May 14, 2021 [sic, April 26], as part of the NTV Evening Newshour, a news story aired that was intended to update our viewers regarding parole being revoked for Mr. Brian Joseph Doyle.
Mr. Doyle had been convicted and is serving a sentence for the murder of your mother Catherine Carroll.
As for the content of the story, we admit there was an error made in the news story regarding the date of the actual murder.
In the editing for time process, the date was replaced with the date you were acquitted.
We sincerely apologize for that error.
Also, in the report that aired, we indicated that Mr. Doyle was sentenced in 2002.
Mr. Doyle was arrested in 2002.
According to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland documents, Mr. Doyle was found guilty of the second degree murder of Catherine Ann Carroll and sentenced to imprisonment for life on February 20, 2003.
We apologize for that error also.
I spoke with our reporter regarding the dates error again.
In a rush to get the story prepared and on the air, the wrong dates were used.
NTV News reported that the murder occurred in 1994 when in fact it was actually 1991.
Completely our error. Our fault.
The information by our reporter should have been checked to ensure accuracy as stated in Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1.0 of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics.
That obviously didn’t happen.
The reporter confused the date of the murder (1991) with the date of Mr. Parsons’ acquittal of the murder charge (1994).
That issue was addressed with the reporter. No excuse. We got it wrong.
As for the second date error, again our reporter was not correct.
Mr. Doyle wasn’t sentenced in 2002 as we reported as well as other media (Not an excuse – but our reporter thought he had it correct as did other media)
Mr. Doyle was arrested in 2002 as the result of a sting operation. He plead guilty in 2002.
But Mr. Doyle wasn’t sentenced until February of 2003.
While I understand that many in the media have used 2002 as the year Mr. Doyle was sentenced, possibly because that was the year he was arrested and plead guilty, he factually wasn’t sentenced until 2003.
Again it was our error.
Out of curiosity, a web check on this item led me to a story from the CBC who also appear to have gotten the information wrong.
Doyle was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 18 years without parole in 2002, and served the most recent portion of it in a minimum-security facility outside Victoria.
We did not report the correct information as it relates to those two dates in the news story.
I feel I addressed that in my letter of response.
We are not making excuses. We are taking full responsibility for those factual errors. I sincerely apologized for those errors.
We have taken the step to remind all of our journalists of the importance of being accurate and reliable in all matters.
I am not sure at this point what other information I can pass along but I am more than willing to answer any further questions regarding this complaint and hopeful positive resolution.
Please feel free to contact me at any time.