Corrections and Clarifications: Principles
We make every effort to avoid errors on the air and online. In keeping with principles of accuracy, integrity and fairness, we correct a significant error when we have been able to establish that one has occurred. This is essential for our credibility with Canadians. When a correction is necessary, it is made promptly given the circumstances, with due regard for the reach of the published error.
The fact that a situation has evolved so that information that was accurate at the time of its publication is no longer accurate does not mean that an error was committed, but we must consider the appropriateness of updating it, taking into account its importance and impact.
In some cases, material isn’t inaccurate per se, but risks misleading the audience. In such cases we can consider publishing or airing a clarification.
The form and timing of a correction or clarification will be decided by a senior newsroom or program manager. In the most serious cases, a proposed course of action will be referred to the Director, who will among other factors consider the legal implications.
In many cases the program or platform on which the error was broadcast or published is best placed to broadcast or publish the correction. But the choice of place to broadcast or publish the correction will depend on the importance of the error and the seriousness of its consequences.
When we make corrections and clarifications online, we should include on the story page an explanatory note to the audience.
Correcting Archived Online Material
In the world of digital on demand, material may be accessible long after its original publication or broadcast. A dated story is not necessarily wrong. It is a reflection of the facts known at the time of publication. It can be an important part of the historical record.
To change the content of previously published material alters that record, and could undermine our credibility as well as the public’s trust in our journalism.
But there may be times, in the light of new information, that archived material is substantially wrong. In those cases we review the material and take appropriate action that could include revising the original material, including a correction box or writing a fresh story.
Any changes to the original material will be noted to preserve the transparency of the process.
The decision to alter a story or its status should be made by the Managing Editor, preferably in consultation with the journalist involved.
Removal of Content
Because much online material remains accessible indefinitely, we receive requests to remove stories by audience members who are either principals in stories, or are affected by them.
We generally do not agree to requests to remove published material from our web pages.
Our published content is a matter of public record. To change the content of previously published material alters that record. Altering the record could undermine our credibility and the public’s trust in our journalism.
There can be exceptions to this position – where there are legal or personal safety considerations to the person named.
A decision to remove content would be an extremely exceptional case and should be referred to the Director, or the senior manager of the programming area whose page is involved. They will, among other factors, consider the legal implications.
There are other remedies to consider; correcting inaccuracies or updating a story to provide details about its resolution can often address requests for deletion.