Radio-Canada Anchor Apologizes for Equating Israel with Iran and Sudan (December 13, 2010)

By Mike Fegelman

December 13, 2010






Radio-Canada Anchor Apologizes for Equating Israel with Iran and Sudan

                                                     December 13, 2010

Dear Friends,

HonestReporting Canada (HRC) and the Quebec Israel Committee (QIC) are pleased to inform you that Radio-Canada host Simon Durivage recently issued an unequivocal on-air apology to atone for past comments he made which drew an obscene equivalence between democratic Israel, the Iranian terror state and the genocidal regime of Sudan.

To recall, Mr. Durivage, a veteran anchor of our French-language public broadcaster, made this inappropriate comparison on the political talk show Le match des élus” on October 15:

                                    (Click here or on the pictures below to view video)


Subsequent to our efforts, on the November 26 edition of the program, Simon Durivage commendably acknowledged that Israel is a democracy that cannot be compared to countries like Sudan or Iran:

                                     (Click here or on the picture below to view video)


Before introducing my guests, however, I’d like to return to the Match des élus broadcast of one month ago, where we discussed with our Ottawa panel the reasons that might have led to Canada losing a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council. Among the reasons for this defeat, I raised the fact that Arab and Muslim countries surely had a hand in it, and had voted against it, because of the Harper government’s unconditional support for Israel since coming to power in Ottawa. And I asked our four MP’s whether it wasn’t dangerous for the Harper government to get too close to Israel, a country whose actions and policies are sometimes controversial, and I added that I would have asked the same question if Canada was too close to other countries, like Iran or Sudan. In this case, I acknowledge that the two examples were very poorly chosen. Israel clearly bears no resemblance to Iran and Sudan when it comes to controversial policies, not to mention that Israel is a democratic country, and that the other two are not, or at least not by our criteria. Incidentally, it was not my intention to compare Israel to those two countries, but it appears that some viewers took it that way and were offended by it. I would therefore like to sincerely apologize to anyone who may have taken offence. I promise to be more careful in my choice of examples next time.”
– Simon Durivage, RDI, 26/11/2010 (Translation from French to English)

Additionally, Radio-Canada’s Ombudsman promptly carried out a journalistic review which noted that:

“Radio-Canada acknowledged that it was inappropriate to use Iran and Sudan as examples to illustrate the dangers of Canada’s unconditional support for Israel.”

“… by erroneously associating Israel with Iran and Sudan, Simon Durivage did not adhere to one of the central principles of CBC/Radio-Canada’s Journalistic Standards and Practices, that of accuracy.”

“Associating Israel with Iran and Sudan in this way constituted a journalistic error.”
– Julie Miville-Dechêne, Ombudsman French Services, Radio-Canada, 01/12/2010

We appreciate that Mr. Durivage publicly apologized for his own journalistic error and in doing so, set an important precedent that these types of comparisons are not acceptable. We also welcome the findings of Radio-Canada’s ombudsman which vindicate our joint concerns that Mr. Durivage’s comments did not meet the journalistic standards set by Radio-Canada. Nevertheless, we remain concerned about the quality of coverage that Radio-Canada has produced regarding Israel and the broader Middle East and we’ll be vigilantly monitoring their reporting to ensure that it adheres to their own codes of conduct.

For more information, please contact:

Mike Fegelman, Executive Director
HonestReporting Canada
(416) 915-9157


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