Archive for category Journalism Ethics

Exclusive: Monia Mazigh Responds To Omar Khadr Settlement

(Monia Mazigh Human Rights Advocate and Author Best Known For Her Advocacy of Her Husband Maher Arar Responds to Omar Khadr Settlement)

 

Mind Bending Politics sat down with Monia Mazigh this week to discuss the Omar Khadr settlement and her thoughts on the future of human rights in Canada.  Before that interview we wanted to recap what has taken place over a very polarized week in Canadian politics.

This past week we’ve seen a very polarized political atmosphere regarding the Trudeau government’s settlement of $10.5 million to ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. The settlement comes as the highest court in the land (The Supreme Court of Canada) landed 3 court decisions in Khardr’s favor stating over the past decade that his rights had been violated.  The federal conservatives lead by new leader Andrew Scheer, spearheaded opposition to the settlement, calling it disgusting and a slap in the face to those serving in military and to taxpayers.  The Trudeau Government for its part, have been very quiet on the issue, only issuing very brief statements rather than attacking the opposition to this settlement head on.

The lack of response from the Liberals has fueled a lot of anger by misinformed Canadians, and fear used by the conservatives to project far right wing reform party ideologies against our constitutional rights, and to wedge the issue for political gain.  We’ve seen this before 5 years ago with the conservatives, most notably from then conservative public safety minister Vic Toews comments that you either let government in on your internet communications, or you side with child pornographers.  That sparked intense backlash from Canadians who stood up for their civil rights to #tellviceverything (even from conservatives) which saw the eventual scrapping of the internet snooping legislation, and eventual withdraw from public life by Toews.  The same argument is being made by the conservatives again regarding Khadr.  If you support Khadr’s settlement, than you side with the terrorists and are against our Canadian armed forces.

The majority of media for its part has been happy to play along, rather than providing proper information and facts surrounding our constitutional rights, how they are enforced, and more importantly question the motives of those who are not putting out factual information towards the general public.  There is an excellent article from the National Observer regarding the media’s role in allowing misinformation, false facts, and baited fear to go unanswered.  To quote the article:

So many media outlets are telling you what you ought to think. But you deserve thoughtful analysis to make up your own mind on an issue as fraught as this one.

To that end we at Mind Bending Politics thought it would be a great idea to connect with Mazigh and get her thoughts over this past week to what has transpired. Here is that interview in full:

MBP: Ms. Mazigh thank you for taking the time to sit with us today. There has been a lot of talk about the government awarding Omar Khadr $10.5 million over the past week at various media outlets. Can you provide your initial thoughts on the Khadr settlement? Do you think justice has been served?

Mazigh: For years, as a human rights advocate and as someone who went through injustice with my entire family, I closely followed the case of Omar Khadr. I signed petitions for his return, wrote several articles about him, attended rallies and organized event for his lawyer to speak about the case. So when I recently heard that Omar Khadr reached a settlement with the government, I was very pleased and I felt that finally justice has been served for this citizen who has been imprisoned in the infamous Guantanamo prison when he was 15 years old for almost 10 years, who has been abused by Americans officials and by Canadian officials. Omar Khadr was never given the chance to due process. He was basically dehumanized through false claims, and became the target of legal vendetta by the previous Canadian government. He had to pay for the mistakes of his family and used as “scarecrow” for anyone who dares to criticize the war on terror or issue any doubt about its efficiency.

MBP: This issue regarding the Khadr settlement has been very polarizing for Canadians. Why do you think that is, and also do you think a lack of information regarding what rights are afforded to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and how they are upheld could also be contributing to that polarizing debate around the settlement?

Mazigh: Unfortunately, this polarization was influenced by political partisanship, by emotional reactivity and by some media outlet with political and social agenda. In some inflamed discussions, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was rarely considered and the facts were totally and deliberately ignored. Actually, rather than real facts, false claims or distorted facts took over and became the norm. We heard things like “Omar Khadr is a convicted terrorist”, “Omar Khadr was brought to court”, and “Omar Khadr killed a paramedic”. For years, those distorted facts were challenged explained around Khadr left some citizens feel cheated or betrayed by the government. Indeed, it is false to say that Omar Khadr is a convicted terrorist. He was brought in front of a military commission that was considered by many experts as “Kangaroo court”. This presumed “conviction” was nothing than a “sham”. People look at the US and think that it is the country of freedom and constitution so how possibly can we have a “sham” there? It is important to remember that Guantanamo is a military prison. In 2002, 779 prisons were flown from Afghanistan to Guantanamo. By 2011, 600 prisoners were released most of them with no charges. Today there are 41 detainees left and many of them are cleared to go home but still imprisoned.

The successive American administrations had hard time to convict these prisoners. There is a flagrant lack of evidence at the first place and a documented use of torture. Also, some people keep repeating “Omar Khadr killed a paramedic”. The sergeant was not acting as a medic when he was at the battlefild. He was tragically killed in the battle and there is no evidence that Omar Khadr killed him.

MBP: You were instrumental in bringing your husbands case forward to the Canadian government, and to us Canadians. I remember following his situation and eventual resolution for some time. Some Conservatives commentators have raised your husband’s payout when speaking on the Khadr settlement as legitimate because your husband was found innocent of any wrong doing, and are arguing that Khadr’s settlement isn’t legitimate because of a conviction by a US military tribunal. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has come out publicly supporting the Khadr settlement stating that “It’s a legal truism that a right without a remedy is no right at all”. I was just wondering if you would be willing to respond to the way the some are using the settlement your husband has received to delegitimize Khadr’s?

Mazigh: Unfortunately, once again, it is a political partisanship war. My husband, Maher Arar, was compensated under Stephen Harper government and the public announcement about the apology and compensation at that time was also demonized by some groups and individuals. My husband was called “ a terrorist” even after the settlement and up to today some people are resentful to his settlement. When, my husband was in a Syrian dungeon some conservative MPs, rose in the House of Commons and denounced the security laxness of Canada and praised the seriousness of the US administration after arresting a “terrorist”, my husband. People tend to forget and turn a blind eye on the stigma ones go through even after the settlement. People look at the dollar figure and forget that it is impossible to find a job when you were once labelled a terrorist, despite your numerous degrees and skills. Money won’t bring back your life, your name or your reputation.

Today, the individuals and groups attacking Omar Khadr, don’t think about his future, his career, his family, his children. It is the least of their worries. They are so angry that he received money, period. And by the way, that 10.5 millions settlement isn’t even exclusively for Omar Khadr. His lawyers are sharing it with him.

MBP: There was a recent poll done by Angus Reid, in which 71% of Canadians surveyed believed that the Trudeau Government did the wrong thing by paying Khadr money and that the courts should have decided whether his detention was illegal. Missing from this poll was anything regarding the actual reason why Khadr was paid out, and that’s the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 3 times that Khadr’s rights were violated. If you were part of a polling agency, what question would you ask to Canadians regarding the Khadr settlement?

Mazigh: The polls are dangerous for our democracy. I am not saying they shouldn’t exist but we can’t govern according to them. The rule of law isn’t a popularity contest. Actually, it can be the total opposite. Courageous governments around the world were always attacked and criticized for controversial decisions. Take issues like: abortion, same-sex marriage…The Supreme Court ruled on these issues and the government had no choice than to accept these decisions. In the case of Omar Khadr, it is the same situation. The Supreme Court ruled three times in his favour and today the Canadian government had no choice than to accept and reach a settlement. This decision will never make everyone happy and comfortable but this is why we live in a democracy. We constantly disagree but the Supreme Court is our ultimate test. Take the example of “banning the Niqab at the citizenship ceremony” in 2015. This political wedge issue was used by politicians to win votes. It literally divided voters across the political spectrum but the court ruled that Ms. Zunera Ishaq, the lady at the centre of the controversy, was allowed to keep her Niqab. Many Canadians disagreed and felt uncomfortable but today it is the past.

MBP: Do you think as a result of the polarized political environment in Canada that our constitutional rights as citizens could be at further risk of being infringed upon in the future? If so, could you explain what can be done to get accurate information regarding our constitutional rights out to Canadians at large, and what you would like to see politicians do to ensure that government respects the rights of all Canadians through successive governments?

Mazigh: I am afraid that this polarization we live through is complex and the result of multiple factors. It is not only a matter of getting the accurate information about our constitutional rights. People are becoming less and less trusting of political elites and more and more ready to accept any information that would reassure them in their beliefs, be it false. This polarized environment is exacerbated by a hard and precarious economic situation for many citizens. The monetary settlement received by Omar Khadr make many Canadians feel uncomfortable because many Canadians are being laid off their jobs, many young people are unemployed or have unpaid internship. So they feel cheated and left out by the government.

When, Canada decided to join the so-called “war on terror”, the politicians narrowed it down to a “national security” issue but in reality it is far beyond that. The so-called “war on terror” eroded our civil liberties and rights. They made us accept things like “it is OK to spy on us”, “it is OK to use torture to gain useful information”, “a terrorist doesn’t deserve due process”. On the other hand, people don’t see the increase in the military budget, the billion of dollars to buy military equipment and join wars and the cuts in the social services and in education. We need to have a public discussion on these issues but unfortunately; we are made to feel that we should join on side or the other. In reality, we will never enjoy security if we don’t accept that we have international obligations and rules to respect and that our population need to see the full picture and not just one citizen receiving 10.5 million dollars as if he won a lottery ticket.

MBP: What do you see as the greatest challenge to civil and human rights, now and in the future and Canada?

Mazigh: The greatest challenge to civil and human rights is fear. We think that this happen elsewhere and not in our backward. But it is a slippery slop. When people are afraid of losing their jobs, losing their identity, losing their comfort, losing their kids, they become irrational and they can accept fake news and they can even welcome totalitarianism. Civil and human rights were instituted after the Second World War after the humanity experienced the worst. After 9/11, some politicians are trying to play the fear card again. Guantanamo was justified through fear and a need for security. Military courts were justified by fear.

In Canada, we shipped citizens to torture and deprived them for their rights because we were afraid of them, of their beliefs and we collectively presumed they were dangerous to our security. Security became an illusion being sold by some politicians to obtain more votes. Meanwhile, our social programs are being cut and defunded, our economy still rely on non-renewable energy, the economical inequalities are increasing and the politicians are not offering any serious plans to tackle them.

MBP: What do you see as recent steps forward in advancing civil and human rights in Canada? What would you like to see happen, both nationally in Canada and internationally to advance civil and human rights?

Mazigh: Canada must live up to its international reputation. For centuries, Canada has let down its indigenous people. It is time to build new relationships based on respect and equality. We can’t have human rights for some, it is a recipe for social uprising. Last year, Canada announced its intent to finally ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture after ignoring it for years; I hope this matter would be expedited. This way, cases like Omar Khadr would be less likely to happen in the future. In Canada, we need to have more accountability when it comes to issues like policing and national security. There were new announcements by the federal government that are very promising but we have to remain vigilant as abuses are not only committed by individuals but also by institutions. Internationally, we should partner with other countries to advance human rights in other place of the world. We can’t be happy of what we are achieving in Canada, we live in a globalized word and abuses in other part of the world would eventually affect us. So we have to help alleviate oppression overseas and make our global impact as “lighter” as possible.

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Legacy News is Threatened By Lack of Ethics Not Subsidies

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(CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais still clueless on journalism ethics)

This week CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais ripped into journalism industry executives for asking for subsidies all while owning private yachts and helicopters. This statement has come while the CRTC has been holding hearings on the future of local journalism and TV, however spoiled executives are only part of the problem. A lack of enforcement by the CRTC on ethical regulations seems to be the other part of the problem with broadcast journalism.

From a recent CBC article:

Blais said he is “not convinced” that citizen journalism and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook will ever be able to challenge the supremacy of legacy news organizations.

“If the journalist — trained to professional standards, who subscribes to a particular code of ethics, and who aspires to the highest standards for gathering and interpreting facts to create valuable, intelligent news analysis — disappears, in the absence of a proven alternative, I fear the future of the fourth estate as a pillar of democracy will be at risk,” he said.

The problem with Canadian journalism is it has become an arm’s length political propaganda machine rather than informative, fact driven reporting. We saw a lot of this during the election and with the debate over the debates. The main reason for this is the fact we do not have an independent body to investigate complaints around journalism ethics.

Most TV and legacy news organizations (the exception is the CBC) are part of an industry owned organization that is tasked with investigating its own conduct under CRTC regulations on complaints of false and misleading facts, inaccurate reporting, or failure to adhere to ethical standards. This self-investigating organization is called the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). What’s worse is that there are no ethical regulations for legacy print media news, only for broadcast news.

If Canadians are that concerned about the fourth estate, than we need to properly regulate ethical standards in news. Blais should look no further than in the mirror for that, and not pivot the blame towards technological diffusion which is far easier to do than to admit the CRTC holds a huge part in the downfall of journalism ethics due to lack of enforcement of those ethical regulations, especially with the CBC. The fourth estate isn’t a pillar of democracy anymore; this is in part due to the CRTC not acting like a regulator and more like a “protector” to the industry elite since 1976.

In 2014 I reported that all the major networks including the CBC lead their newscasts in an effort to mislead Canadians on a matter Canadian law in which this consortium of broadcast journalists moved way outside their regulated ethical standards and intentionally attacked a political party by way of intentionally falsifying facts in their news reporting for corporate gain.  I broke this story on the blogosphere.

I complained to the CBSC, in which nothing was done. I also complained to the CRTC regarding CBC’s role in misleading Canadians. CRTC didn’t investigate even after the CBC somehow misplaced the newscast in question, and a huge e-mail chain was provided to the CRTC displaying intent from some of CBC’s elite news reporters and news editors to mislead the public in order to protect its corporate interests. This eventually led to the Conservative Party of Canada pulling out of the consortium debates. How’s that for citizen journalism challenging legacy news.

On top of this, CBC’s news editor continued her misleading campaign on a matter of Canadian law threatening to take down CBC owned content during the election period including material considered fair use by journalists and bloggers. This news editor is still employed at CBC. I’d love Blais to explain to Canadians why this news editor is still employed at the CBC when the CRTC has direct oversight of this public broadcaster.

Throughout the election it was quite clear that Canadians trust in legacy news was quite rightly eroded, whether you were a Conservative looking down at major networks behavior towards the party and intentionally misleading facts in top news stories, or Liberal, NDP and Green looking at the conservative approach to only agreeing to conservative friendly debate hosts. Either way you look at it, we have a failure of legacy news both in broadcast and in print to uphold the standards necessary for the survival of that pillar of democracy at the very time when it is so important for them to uphold ethical standards in news.

People have lost faith and trust in the fourth estate. Blais is rightfully concerned; however I’m not sure that blame lies on the industry elite looking for tax payer’s handouts, but rather the inability or inaction of their regulator to take meaningful action when ethical standards are quite clearly broken.

Here’s a news flash Blais. Most of our audience now takes in content from several sources including citizen journalists to formulate their own opinions. The supremacy of legacy news is already being challenged due to the way these organizations handle ethical standards. In many respects the void that has been left by the CRTC’s inability to do anything on the organizations it oversees, is being filled by citizen journalists, bloggers and by “ethical journalists” who have left the industry in disgust. That’s not going to change if these organizations continue down the path they are now. In fact it’s likely to fragment the legacy news industry even more which is what I think the CRTC is just starting to see through these hearings.

If anything the CRTC should have identified the problems with legacy news during the last election. The CRTC is still very much tone deaf to the problems it has created regarding journalism ethics in this country. This regulator doesn’t seem to be watching very closely if it has to conduct hearings on the matter and rake industry executives over the coals, rather than act within their own mandate when called upon.

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US Press Pool Can’t Figure Trump Out

 Most Canadians are very familiar with “shock” politicians.   We had one of our own, and Americans need only to look at former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to understand the political similarities of republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  Trump has said many shocking things as of late; most recently wanting to ban Muslims from entering the US.  A statement that is so wrong many in the media and us following politics just can’t resist the need to comment.  But that’s the point, to get us all talking around the world about Trump and what a Trump Presidential win would look like for the US.

I saw this video today, and just had to post.  Very good satire on Trump’s campaign thus far.

(Darth Vader’s Voice Dubbed by Trump Quotes)

It’s worthy to note that throughout human democratic history, people vote in extreme ideologies in times of economic uncertainty, and or through fears.  It is possible (however unlikely) that Trump could win the white house if his poll numbers hold.  He’s quite the master manipulator of the press.  The press doesn’t seem to be doing their jobs in the US, unlike our press in Canada regarding Rob Ford.  It almost seems that the press in the US is extremely confused on how to deal with Trump and holding him to account.  That seems more worrying to me, than Trumps comments.  The press in the US needs to stop allowing Trump to manipulate them.  They are supposed to be a pillar of democracy, otherwise:

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Election Called, Media in Crisis, International Observers Called In

Yesterday Prime Minister Harper dropped the election writ, and Canada is now in it’s 42nd election since confederation.  There has been much speculation around the timing of the writ dropping.  This election will be one of the longest and most costliest elections in modern times, which could cost Canadian tax payers close to $1 billion+ when all is said and done at a time of economic instability, and recession.

The majority of those costs (an est. $500 million) will be dished out to Elections Canada to handle the longer election cycle for staff, offices, and supplies.  The rest will be the tax payers shouldering costs to political parties.  50% – 75% of the expenses political parties incur during this election will be reimbursed by the tax payer.  With the longer campaign parties can spend a lot more money on advertising.  When Harper was questioned on the expenses to Canadian tax payers, he replied that there will be no cost to tax payers as a result of the length of the election period.  What?

The political influence in media is becoming a very interesting side story to the debates.  I’ve posted extensively on this here, here and here.  Over this past week the NDP dropped out of the consortium debates, and issued a list of demands for future debates. The NDP demands (emphasis added) are:

  • The host organization is credible and non partisan
  • The proposed topics to be discussed are varied and relevant to a large number of Canadians; and
  • The Prime Minister and other political party leaders are invited and have agreed to participate
  • The NDP will participate in an equal number of French and English language debates

This is an interesting update.  While many in the media focused on the NDP decision not to attend the consortium debates was explicitly due to Harper’s refusal to attend; from the above demands it looks like NDP want to debate ALL parties leaders including Steven Harper.  It also looks as though the NDP are having issues with the Consortium being bias towards the Liberal party, to which I’ve discussed in great detail in other blogs.

That bias was very visible especially with the CBC coverage of the election call which pointed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau being the most “ready” for the election, while Trudeau seemed extremely uptight, reading from cue cards, and late to his speech.  NDP leader Thomas Mulcair looked a bit rattled as well during his speech reading from a teleprompter and not answering any questions.  The leader that looked more ready out of the bunch to me was Green Party leader Elizabeth May.  May seemed rather relaxed, ready to go, and the only leader out of the opposition parties not reading from cue cards, or teleprompters.  I’m very curious as to why CBC pointed towards Trudeau as being the most ready out of the bunch, when that’s not clearly the case.

While the NDP hasn’t come out fully accusing the consortium of bias, the political messaging around their demands looks to be quite clear.  The Consortium debates are essentially dead now and other debates may fall by-the-way-side as well. From the looks of the last line of the NDP demands that might actually happen.  So far there has been only one French language debate confirmed.  That means right now the NDP will only commit to one English language debate, to which the first of those debates is scheduled for Thursday August 6th, and all political parties will be attending that debate.

On top of the media consortium having a crisis of ethics, we now have confirmation that the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be monitoring our federal election. The OSCE is an international body that specializes in monitoring elections, and their presence in this election is to ensure that the election laws recently passed by the Conservatives allow for a free and fair election, and to ensure that these laws are consistent in ensuring democracy can take place.  The OSCE will release it’s final report to the Canadian public eight weeks after the election.

The Fair Elections Act which was passed by the Conservatives will not allow Canadians living abroad to vote in the next election.  Actor Donald Sutherland recently posted an op-ed in the Globe and Mail in which he blasted the Conservatives in taking away his right to vote.  Sutherland stated:

It’s very sad. And this new “Canada,” this Canadian government that has taken the true Canada’s place, has furiously promoted a law that denies its citizens around the world the right to vote. Why? Is it because they’re afraid we’ll vote to return to a government that will once again represent the values that the rest of the world looked up to us for? Maybe.

There was also a court challenge on the fair elections act.  The courts decided not to strike down the law so close to an election, stating that it might appear the courts would be influencing the vote if they did.  The courts determined that the issues with the fair elections act were extremely serious, and likely to be dealt with after the election.  This means that if there are any court challenges on the election (look to that also coming from Canadians living abroad), this will be one of the most costliest elections in Canadian history to Canadian tax payers.

While the Conservatives shoulder a lot of the blame for this, the media shoulders the other half.  If in fact we have media being influenced by any political party and not fully educating Canadians on the facts due to political influences and favors, than we’ve already lost our democracy, and I think that will play out with the OSCE report and substantive court challenges that are sure to follow as a result.

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Big Media Influencing Canadian Election For Political Favoritism

As the debates over the debates has raged on over the past several months, one thing is becoming increasingly clear.  Journalists in Canada seem to be throwing out their duty of independence and holding our political parties to account for political favors; thus Canadians can’t rely on the media to do their traditional role of independently reporting on the election and providing the public with proper facts on policy to make an informed choice at the voter booth.  Due to this, our democratic system looks more like a 3rd world two bit operation than a thriving democracy which depends on a free independent press as a major pillar to the democratic system of government.

I’ve reported extensively on this blog about how the consortium colluded together against the Conservatives, and how that collusion is highly illegal and has yet to be dealt with in law.  On the flip side, last week award winning Toronto Star journalist Paul Watson quit his job in protest after being silenced by the Star while trying to report misinformation on the Franklin expeditions and how the expeditions were being purposely influenced by ties to the Prime Ministers Office.  Facts during the expedition according to Watson were left out of this feel good story to purposely mislead the public in favor of the PMO’s preferred version of events.  According to Watson he was punished by the Star executives in trying to confront his superiors with misinformation on this story with a 6 week reporting ban.

It’s not just the Toronto Star or the broadcast consortium looking for political favors.  This week, the Globe and Mail responded to stark criticism of it’s readers not allowing Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in the Munk Debates.  The Globe replied to angry readers with this following statement:

The Globe & Mail is hosting a federal election debate in September in partnership with Google Canada.  The debate, to be hosted in Calgary, will be streamed live on The Globe’s website and distributed on YouTube, and will focus on the Canadian economy.

We have invited the major party leaders to this debate  – those who have official status in The House of Commons.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have been asked to take part, because we believe a more streamlined, effective conversation about the Canadian economy will take place in that format.

David Walmsley, The Globe’s editor-in-chief says,  “We’ve set up the debate this way because we believe that by limiting the format to Canada’s three main party leaders, we will create a truly focused, successful discussion about the state of the Canadian economy.”

There are now at least three independently organized leaders’ debates in the works. Politics reporter Steven Chase writes:

“Mr. Harper’s Conservatives kicked off a spat with major broadcasters including the CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV and Global when they announced they would refuse an invitation to participate in debates organized by the broadcasting consortium, instead opting for a variety of independent debates.‎ Kory Teneycke, a spokesman for the Conservative Party campaign, said in a statement that he hopes major broadcasters will cover the independent debates.”

Industry Minister James Moore yesterday announced the federal government will be forwarding $9 million in tax payers money to support the Munk School of Global Affairs.

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The “Munks”  are disallowing Green Party Elizabeth May to debate in their debates as well.  Most Canadians believed that the last time May got her time in the federal elections debate during the 2008 economic crisis, that she won that debate hands down regarding the economy and other election issues.  While I’m not a Green Party supporter, I remember those debates very well, and May brought forth an independent non-partisan view towards the facts, including the fact that we were in a recession in 2008, which all parties at that time were denying we were in.  Enter 2015, and all indications are pointing to the fact we are in a recession with the Conservatives dodging the bad economy at every step.  Readers can draw their own conclusions.

The story that’s emerging here is one where media executives who are in charge of overseeing our election debates seem to be acting without independence.  Watson in a recent interview had this to say regarding political interference over our “independent” media:

This is a symptom of a broader disease that is eating away at the core of our democracy. Experts on climate, on medicine, on things that are central to our society are being silenced by a government that does favours for the politically connected. And that is just very dangerous for our future.

Due to the current partisan nature of the politics in this country facts are being left out.  Media independence is not a left vs right or right vs left issue, it’s both.  The broadcast consortium back in October threw journalism ethics out the window with solid evidence  that the CBC was colluding with the other broadcasters against government regarding political advertising which is a highly illegal offense under the competition act.

At heart was the attack ad scandal, and the broadcasters threatened to not air political advertising using broadcast consortium materials.  The broadcasters claimed journalism ethics and independence was being threatened by misleading advertisements.  Today the CBC is still threatening to illegally take down any content that anyone uses without their permission.  The law allows the use for such material under certain circumstances.  This is called the “fair use” copyright exemption.  In some of my comments on my recent blog posts, I compared internationally accepted journalism ethics to that of the broadcasters used to justify not airing or interfering with political advertisements:

From the society of professional journalism’s code of ethics (ethics listed is here are the ones the consortium has been in breach of):

http://www.spj.org/ethicscode….

“- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.”

Original reports in October 2014 on the copyright issue neglected to take into account on the record comments (provided links to internal CBC e-mails and cited those comments in a previous blog here’s the link http://www.scribd.com/doc/242543668/CBC-Political-Ads-ATIP Pg. 112) from legal experts disputing that fair use for political ads was stealing. Instead they went to air knowing the facts were wrong.

“– Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story”

As a result of not reporting on the legal experts in original news reports, context was not provided and facts were misrepresented.

” Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.”

This was done the day after, however CTV decided only to correct this information on CTV news channel, and went to air on their nationally syndicated newscast again without the context of legal sources throughout the life of this story back in October.

“– Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

No explanation needed regarding the content of political ads.

“– Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.”

CBC misplaced their original lead story on this to avoid being punished by the CRTC

“– Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.”

Fair dealing is stealing is a stereotype often used by copyright extremists and copyright trolls.

“– Label advocacy and commentary.”

Original consortium newscasts were not labelled as such further misrepresenting the facts when reporting on the political advocacy and commentary of the stations own views.

“– Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.”

Again legal sources left out of original stories in October 2014, and CBC is again deliberately distorting the facts and context of copyright law in it’s most recent release.

This is a big one: “Act Independently

The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

Journalists should:

– Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”

Never happened. Conflicts of interest is the fact they are rights holders.

” – Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment,
and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise
integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.”

Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang the biggest CBC personalities to throw this out the window, yet they fired Evan Solomon for this.

And my favorite:

” – Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.”

Most recently: http://canadalandshow.com/arti…

Role for broadcasters is to allow all parties equal air time in advertisements regardless of how distorted or distasteful the ads might be. CBC cites journalism ethics regarding the fair use of those materials, but the entire consortium has breached a fair amount of accepted ethics by the journalism community, to stop political attack ads that are pretty much backfiring anyway. Question is why? That needs to be answered.

Jessie and I were pretty much the only bloggers calling the CBC to account on political interference. Add Paul Watson to the mix, and a story is starting to emerge that Canadian newsrooms are no longer politically independent and are being sold to the public as such. That’s the story, and these news directors and editors would just love for the public to focus on the partisanship rather than what’s before us, and that is news is changing in Canada and becoming way too politicized and as a result, unreliable, and unpredictable.

Question is; if the traditional role of the media is to independently over see our election, and media executives are acting in a way that is bias to any political ideology and or party, who is going to fulfill the role of independently overseeing our election and ensure that Canadians get independent facts on matters of public policy to ensure that they make an informed choice on election day?  I think this media problem needs to be dealt with by all party leaders, or I think Canadians are within their rights to call for UN observers over our federal election.

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