The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has named Guy Gendron its next ombudsman for French Services, CBC / Radio-Canada. CBC also has an ombudsman for English-language programming, Esther Enkin. Gendron’s term will last five years, CBC Radio Canada confirmed to iMediaEthics.
In a Jan. 27 press release, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada Hubert T. Lacroix said, “At CBC / Radio-Canada, accuracy, integrity and journalistic fairness are at the heart of our business. We want to demonstrate exemplary rigor and, as such, the Ombudsman is essential. It ensures compliance with our Journalistic Standards and Practices by providing Canadians with the opportunity to obtain an independent reading of the Standards.”
The CBC explained the job role is independent and handles complaints. The press release states:
“The Ombudsman is independent of the programming staff and reports directly to the Company’s Board of Directors, through the Chairman and CEO. The Ombudsman examines complaints from the public when it deems the response of members of the unsatisfactory information sector.There are two ombudsmen to CBC / Radio-Canada: one for French Services and one for English Services.”
Gendron will be ombudsman effective March 8. The previous ombudsman was Pierre Tourangeau.
Tourangeau told iMediaEthics from his time as ombudsman — almost five years — his advice would be: “Stay cool, and take time to ponder each argument from the plaintiff, even if it looks foolish at first sight. And make yours these thoughts from Descartes: ‘In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate‘ and ‘To reach the truth, we need to get rid of all the opinions we received, and rebuild our whole system of knowledge.'”
Once his term is over at the end of March, Tourangeau plans to stay involved in journalism, he told iMediaEthics. “I’ll find a way to keep a foot in the profession: teaching a bit, maybe a column somewhere, maybe some involvement in NGOs dealing with freedom of press and engaged in the training of young journalists in newly democratizing countries,” he wrote.