Quality and precision
CBC is a language model for its audiences. Good usage and accuracy are essential to high quality journalism. Our language should be simple, clear and concrete.
Journalistic style is accurate, concise and accessible. Our purpose is to make complex subjects understandable. When specialized or technical vocabulary needs to be used, it is explained and put in a context that makes it easy to understand.
The description of facts, however concise, must provide the nuances necessary to ensure that the account is faithful and easy to understand.
Clarity is also essential when numbers and statistics are involved. It is essential to avoid confusion and to take care to properly grasp the numbers used.
The use of certain highly charged words can undermine credibility and merits special consideration. Language is constantly evolving. We will be attentive to shifts in the meaning of words. We consult language resources and editorial management as needed to grasp the impact of expressions that are open to multiple interpretations and capable of offending some audience members.
Language level and good taste
We use the language of accessible, articulate everyday speech.
We respect and reflect the generally accepted values of society. We are aware that the audiences we address do not all have the same definition of good taste. We choose a tone that will not gratuitously offend audience sensitivities. In particular we avoid swearing and coarse, vulgar, offensive or violent language except where its omission would alter the nature and meaning of the information reported.
Respect and absence of prejudice
Our vocabulary choices are consistent with equal rights.
Our language reflects equality of the sexes and we prefer inclusive forms where they are not prohibitively cumbersome.
We are aware of our influence on how minorities or vulnerable groups are perceived. We do not mention national or ethnic origin, colour, religious affiliation, physical characteristics or disabilities, mental illness, sexual orientation or age except when important to an understanding of the subject or when a person is the object of a search and such personal characteristics will facilitate identification.
We avoid generalizations, stereotypes and any degrading or offensive words or images that could feed prejudice or expose people to hatred or contempt. Criminal matters require special care and precision.
When a minority group is referred to, the vocabulary is chosen with care and with consideration for changes in the language.
Words that shock: usage and audience advisories
To describe certain realities or report adequately on certain situations, it is sometimes necessary to use expressions or quotations that may be shocking to part of the audience. In these circumstances, we limit ourselves to what is necessary for understanding, we attribute the statements where applicable and we take care to present them in proper context.
We ensure that, taking into account the context in which the words are published, they are not likely to expose anyone to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or physical or mental disability. We refer to senior editorial management in case of doubt.
We respect the audience’s degree of tolerance, with due regard for society’s generally shared values.
When we find it necessary to use words that could shock part of the public, we give a clear audience advisory.