Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Upholds HRC Complaint: CTV’s “On-Air Errors Must Be Corrected On-Air”

August 9, 2013

On August 7, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) upheld HonestReporting Canada’s concerns finding that CTV News breached the CBSC’s Code of Ethics by failing to issue on-air corrections to remedy its erroneously reporting that a Palestinian “hunger striker” died in an Israeli jail.

HonestReporting Canada had asked the CBSC to arbitrate our concerns with CTV News due to the network’s reluctance to publicly atone for twice falsely reporting on February 25, watch here and here, that a Palestinian inmate who died in Israeli jail, Mr. Arafat Jadarat, was taking part in a hunger strike. Instead, Jadarat was only an inmate who died of what Israeli authorities suspect may have been a heart attack, while Palestinians accuse (without evidence) that he was “tortured”.

The following is a release which the CBSC circulated to Canadian media about their panel’s decision which was picked up by Broadcaster Magazine:

“The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning news reports broadcast on CTV News Channel on February 25, 2013. Two reports erroneously stated that a Palestinian man being detained in an Israeli prison had been participating in a hunger strike when he died. The CBSC concluded that the station broadcast inaccurate information contrary to the Codes of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA). It also concluded that the error should have been corrected on television because that is where the error occurred.

CTV News Channel broadcast two short news reports entitled “Clashes Erupt in West Bank”. Both segments reported that tensions had risen following the death of Palestinian man in an Israeli jail and that “the prisoner died while taking part in a hunger strike”. The CBSC received a complaint from an organization called Honest Reporting Canada which noted that the prisoner had not, in fact, been on a hunger strike and that the official autopsy report was inconclusive regarding the cause of death.

CTV News Channel acknowledged that the reports contained this error. It explained that it had not broadcast any further reports on the subject and had corrected the story on its website. The CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel found breaches of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Article 1 of the RTNDA Code of Ethics, both of which require accuracy in news reports. The Panel commended CTV News for quickly correcting the error on its website, but stated that CTV should also have provided that correction on television as required by Article 7 of the RTNDA Code.”

To read the CBSC’s decision in full please click here.

HonestReporting Canada would like to express its appreciation to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and its panel of arbiters for judiciously reviewing our concerns and for holding CTV News to account to the standards set by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada.

We look forward to viewing CTV’s unambiguous on-air correction on a prime time slot and are hopeful that this ruling will encourage CTV News to be accountable to complainants.


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