Conference of news ombudsmen: upholding journalistic standards on all platforms

May 12, 2011

The International Annual Conference of news ombudsmen will be held at the Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal from May 15 to 18, 2011.

Over 40 conference participants from Brazil, France, England, Denmark, United States and Australia, among others, will come to Montreal to address topics related to their professional field, including challenges that they face in the current media environment. The ombudsmen work within a news organization to represent the public. They have the independence to be able to publically evaluate the work of journalists.

Program highlights include a keynote speech by Craig Silverman, journalist and author of Regret the Error, and Senator Hugh Segal, on the question of media reliability. The conference will also focus on opinion journalism, WikiLeaks’ impact, and the process of correction of errors. For the detailed conference schedule, please visit ONO’s website.

“Media have a lot of power in our societies, and the ombudsmen offer a free resource to citizens who feel prejudiced or have perceived a bias or an error,” said Radio-Canada Ombudsman Julie Miville-Dechêne. “Social media have become an inevitable source of information, but are we using them responsibly in the media? We’re going to compare our experiences on this topic.”

“An ombudsman is a moral compass for a news organization,” added CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe. “Our meeting will raise awareness of the importance of strong journalistic standards and public representation in the digital age, here and abroad.”

Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO) Executive Director Jeffrey Dvorkin will be attending the annual conference. “Citizens are ultimately the ones who benefit from common standards and practices among ombudsmen. Fair and balanced reporting is a core value, no matter where we live. I think that by organizing these kinds of conferences we’re making an investment in improving our members’ skills and the value of their profession.”

Held between Europe and the Americas on a rotating basis, the annual ONO conference will be attended by the organization’s members, including the two CBC/Radio-Canada ombudsmen. The last conference held in Canada was in Montreal, in 2000.

For additional information, please contact:

Kirk LaPointe, CBC Ombudsman
Cell phone: 604-353-6228

Julie Miville-Dechêne, Radio-Canada Ombudsman
Cell phone: 514-953-2774

Jeffrey Dvorkin, Executive Director, Organization of News Ombudsmen
Cell phone: 647-401-5330

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada is celebrating 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.

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