CAIR-CAN asks Ontario Press Council to investigate CanWest policy
Friday, September 17, 2004 6:52 pm
CAIR-CAN ASKS ONTARIO PRESS COUNCIL TO INVESTIGATE CANWEST POLICY -END-
Policy permits substantive alterations to wire stories on the Middle East
(Ottawa, Canada - 17/9/04) - The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today filed a complaint with the Ontario Press Council against CanWest and the Ottawa Citizen for altering words and phrases in wire copy stories regarding the Middle East.
Today, the CBC reported that both the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen have altered stories originally submitted by wire services such as Reuters and the Associated Press.
The Ottawa Citizenís alteration, for example, was of an Associated Press story that was published last week. The Ottawa Citizen inserted the word "terrorist" seven times when referring to Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah.
To view the CBC report, please see: http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/09/17/canwesterrorist040917.html
In its letter to the Ontario Press Council, CAIR-CAN wrote:
"The recent revelations of CanWest's previously undisclosed policy that permits substantive alterations to wire service stories strikes at the heart of a newspaper's obligation to provide fair and accurate news.
"An analysis of the substance and frequency of CanWest's alterations suggests a troubling bias against Arabs and Muslims. The policy of designating people and groups as terrorists has been used arbitrarily and selectively.
"Critical and unanswered questions include how long this practice has been taking place, how many reports have been altered, and how pervasive is this practice in CanWest publications across Canada. A full and thorough investigation is, without doubt, necessary."
CAIR-CAN will also be calling on the Standing Senate Committee on Transportations and Communications to investigate CanWest's policy. CAIR-CAN testified before the Committee on February 26th, 2004, during the Committee's hearings on the Canadian media.
Contact: Riad Saloojee at 613-254-9704, 613-795-2012