Journalists’ organization won’t retract false statement about pipeline protest arrests

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A journalism organization refuse to retract false statements he made about last year’s RCMP arrests of anti-BC LNG pipeline activists.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), which bills itself as the “national voice of Canadian journalists”, issued a statement in November accusing police of making an unlawful arrest.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the statement not only violated the CAJ’s code of ethics, but also contained allegations disputed by the Department of Public Safety.

On November 20, the CAJ accused the RCMP of unlawfully detaining two journalists working for CBC-TV and The Narwhal after the couple locked themselves in a shack with anti-pipeline protesters.

“The RCMP exceeded the law in its efforts to prevent the press from covering the events,” the CAJ wrote. “This militarized police force and others continue to arrest journalists despite it being illegal.”

According to the Department of Public Safety, the RCMP acted lawfully by executing a court order.

“On November 25, a journalist released a video showing the arrests. However, the video does not show what happened before the structures were breached by RCMP members,” the memo reads. “RCMP officers read the injunction at each structure and made multiple calls for over an hour for the occupants to vacate the structure. The only responses from within the structures were of a derogatory and denial nature. It was not until RCMP officers entered the structures and arrested the individuals that they identified themselves as journalists.

When asked to respond to the memo, the CAJ stood by its assertion that the arrest was unlawful.

“The published words reflect the consensus of the Board of Directors. All statements issued by the Canadian Association of Journalists are made on behalf of the Association and do not reflect the opinion of any one person,” said CAJ President Brent Jolly. “As president, I am the spokesperson for the association.”

According to the CAJ’s ethics guidelines, the organization’s journalists “should verify all facts” and “distinguish between claims and facts” as well as “independently corroborate facts”.

“When we make an error, whether in fact or in context and regardless of platform, we correct it quickly and transparently, acknowledging the nature of the error,” the guidelines say.

Retractions are rare but not unknown to news outlets.

Earlier in March, the CBC publicly retracted a report about trucker Freedom Convoy that falsely claimed support for the protests came largely from outsiders.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the claim was made by CBC radio show The World This Hour.

“On February 10, in a report on the protest convoy, CBC Radio’s The World This Hour incorrectly stated that GoFundMe had ended a fundraiser for protesters due to questionable donations to the group,” it read. in a statement from the public broadcaster.

According to GoFundMe executives who testified before a House of Commons public safety committee on March 3, foreigners made up a very small portion of donors.

“Our records show that 88% of donated funds came from Canada and 86% of donors came from Canada,” said GoFundMe President Juan Benitez.

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