The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has updated its “ethical framework for just about every decision we make,” which is embodied in its “Journalistic Standards and Practices” book.
“Given the extra scrutiny applied to journalism, there’s never been a time when standards in journalism have mattered more,” CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson told iMediaEthics by e-mail.
The update was announced in an April 17 CBC blogpost by CBC editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire, who noted that the guidelines hadn’t been updated since 2010.
“At the very core are the most fundamental principles of who we are as journalists and as a public broadcaster: Accuracy. Fairness. Balance. Impartiality. And integrity,” McGuire explained. The guidelines now include advice for using social media, new technologies like drones and bots, and expand upon “the importance of respect and transparency,” she wrote.
The social media guidelines call for “civil discourse” when discussing issues with the audience, for journalists to avoid sharing “personal opinions on controversial subjects” on social media outlets that mention employment with the CBC, to be careful when interacting with anyone under 15 on social media, and to verify user generated content.
Other updates, the CBC spokesperson Thompson told iMediaEthics, included data journalism, polling, product testing and corrections and clarifications. “The JSP also remains a major accountability and transparency mechanism, and a demonstration of our commitment to strong journalism,” he added.
With respect to corrections, the guidelines state the CBC typically doesn’t unpublish — or delete — articles and call for journalists to quickly correct any errors and clarify any misleading information. “In many cases the program or platform on which the error was broadcast or published is best placed to broadcast or publish the correction,” the guidelines state. “But the choice of place to broadcast or publish the correction will depend on the importance of the error and the seriousness of its consequences.”
McGuire further pointed the CBC audience to the CBC’s ombudsman, who independently handles complaints.