Annual report, management response, reviews released

This week at the CBC board of directors meeting in Montreal, the annual reports of the CBC and Radio-Canada ombudsmen were presented, along with the responses from the CBC and Radio-Canada news organizations.

The CBC Ombudsman annual report reflects the findings from public complaints in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and it includes my first reviews starting last November and the final reviews from my predecessor, Vince Carlin, who retired at the end of 2010. The CBC News response addresses the report.

The Radio-Canada Ombudsman report reflects the work of Julie Miville-Dechene, who left in July; a new Ombudsman, Pierre Tourangeau, this month assumed the role.

The annual report outlines the volume and nature of the complaints. The complaint total doubled year over year, but two-thirds of them concerned two issues. There were 62 reviews in the year.

In the report I suggested four areas for refinement of policy: documentary financing, online public comments, scope of the policy, and conflict of interest. In its response CBC News accepted the documentary suggestion and clarified the matter involving scope.

Since my last post three other reviews were released.

The first review involved a segment September 27 on CBC Radio's The Current involving a proposal to reopen an asbestos mine. While I did not find a violation of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices, I found some room for improvement and noted the opportunity for future segments if the proposal proceeds.

The second review involved a segment October 4 on CBC Radio's The Current involving the "one-state solution" to territorial disputes between Israelis and Palestinians. I did not find a violation of policy and noted the program's ongoing commitment to exploring the issue.

The third review involved remarks September 19 on CBC News Network's The Lang & O'Leary Exchange. I did not find a violation of journalistic policy, although I noted there might have been a better choice of words.