Inaccurate Dates in News Report Result in Code Breach,Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, October 20, 2021 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a news report broadcast on CJON-DT (NTV, Newfoundland & Labrador). The April 26, 2021 report contained inaccurate dates regarding a murder and sentencing, which the CBSC found to be in contravention 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.

The report, entitled “Parole Revoked”, was broadcast during the 6:00 pm NTV Evening Newshour. It was about a man whose day parole had been revoked because he had failed to disclose a personal relationship. It explained that the man had been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a woman. The report stated that the murder had occurred in 1994 and that the man had been sentenced in 2002. A member of the victim’s family complained that these details were inaccurate – the murder had actually occurred in 1991 and the sentencing in 2003.

In letters to the complainant and the CBSC, NTV acknowledged the errors and apologized. It explained that incorrect information had been included due to a rush to get the story to air.

The CBSC’s English-Language Panel examined the complaint under the News provision of the CAB Code of Ethics and the Accuracy provision of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics. While the Panel recognized that the errors were not intentional and did not demonstrate bias, the report nevertheless included inaccurate information which was material to the story. NTV therefore breached both code articles.

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 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence. Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, codes, and related information are available on the CBSC’s website. For more information, please visit www.cbsc.ca.