Production (Digital Media): Principles
We apply the same set of policies and practices to online and digital journalism as we do to any news and information content created by CBC.
We are aware that we perform in an online and digital space that provides unfiltered information and uncensored opinion. We stand out by our commitment to all our values. We will be active participants in the online space, and will always be clear about where material comes from, and whether it is news, analysis or opinion.
We consider our audience as partners in the creation of online and digital content. We clearly identify material when that is the case.
Journalism in the online and digital environments raises specific issues, arising from the speed of communication, interactivity, and the permanent and accessible nature of the material, among other characteristics. These issues are addressed in this section.
We enrich the experience of our online users by providing links from our news stories to other sites.
The links reflect the pertinent views on an issue.
We take reasonable steps to avoid the impression that hyperlinks included in our stories represent endorsements on our part. We ensure that links to individual businesses or organizations serve a journalistic purpose. Links to fundraising campaigns should generally not be used.
We give users enough information about the site we are linking to, so they may decide whether they wish to do so.
Third party Material on CBC Sites
CBC online news pages may include material from external sites.
This material is clearly labeled, noting the original source or contributor.
CBC Presence on Third-party Sites
When CBC creates profiles or accounts on third party sites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, MySpace or Flickr, the comments or material we place there conform to our journalistic standards and practices.
To maintain the integrity of the brand, any material we publish on third party sites will be clearly branded as CBC material.
Requests for Deletions
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.
Requests to remove material should be referred to the Director.
There are other remedies to consider; correcting inaccuracies or updating a story to provide details about its resolution can often address requests for deletion.
We sometimes conduct online surveys as a tool of audience engagement.
Because these surveys do not fulfill the criteria set out in polling policy, the questions and the results should not be characterized as polls.
We report the results by giving the number of votes cast for each option. We do not give the results as a percentage, as we normally do with bona fide polls.
If programs refer to online questions, the results are reported in a way that clearly indicates it has no scientific validity and are not meant to represent the accurate range of either public opinion nor the opinion of our audience.
Concealment of Identity as a Journalist
We generally practice our reporting openly. However, there are times, while investigating a matter of public interest, a reporter will conceal his or her occupation and true purpose and pose as an ordinary citizen. We will consult with the Director before doing so. Our overriding priority will be sound public service journalism. Whatever the means used to contact a source without identifying oneself as a journalist (in person, by telephone, by email, through social networks), we will attempt to confront the source and take his or her reaction into account in our report.
When the investigation bears on illegal or antisocial behaviour or abuse of trust and the gathering of information of public interest, the journalist may need to infiltrate an organization to get first-hand information. We take into account possible safety issues for the journalist involved.
Before resorting to infiltration we will ensure that the following conditions are met:
- We have a credible source that gives us reason to believe a subject of our reporting is behaving illegally or antisocially or abusing a trust;
- An open approach would have little chance of obtaining the information sought or of confirming the behaviour we seek to report;
- Infiltration allows us to gather the best evidence of the behaviour in question.
Any plan to infiltrate will be submitted to the Director for prior approval.
Many organizations share data with the public through websites and online databases.
Our Journalistic Standards and Practices apply to journalists, developers and programmers who gather, analyze, visualize and report on this data.
Web scrapers can be used as a way to extract publicly available information from websites in a short time frame.
When using web scrapers, we strive to be transparent toward the organization hosting the data.
We also take reasonable steps to minimize any performance impact our web scrapers may have on servers and other public users of a website.
When we judge it to be in the public interest, we may also decide to use clandestine methods to obtain the data (see chapter Principles – Clandestine methods). This may involve legal considerations. Before doing so, we obtain approval from the Director.
Use of Social Media: Principles
Social media like Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat can be powerful and important communication tools. They can be useful for gathering information as well as disseminating it.
We are consistent in our standards, no matter what the platform, in disseminating information. If we would not put the information on air or on our own website, we would not use social media to report that information.
When using social media as an information-gathering tool, we apply the same standards as those for any other source of newsgathering.
We bring these principles and values to bear in our personal use of social media as well.
See also: Personal Use of Social Media
Interaction with the AudienceCBC endeavours to engage with Canadians, especially on digital platforms. We promote civil discourse. When that is not being observed, our employees may consult with their supervisor about discontinuing interactions with certain individuals. When possible, we do so without unduly restricting access to our journalism.
Children and Social Media
We take care to protect the privacy of children involved in the use of social media.
We are especially careful to assess the impacts when dealing with those aged 15 and under, who may lack the judgment required to consent to interviews and publication of their information.
We avoid providing information that could identify them because this puts them at risk from online predators.
When contacting children through their Facebook or other public sites, we follow the standards set for children’s participation applicable to all other platforms.