Production (online and 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 out news stories to other sites.
The links reflect the pertinent views on an issue. Links should reflect the journalistic principle of balance.
We take care that the sites we link to are legally sound, and we take into consideration matters of taste.
We give users enough information about the site we are linking 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.
Online surveys are a tool of audience engagement.
Since it does not fulfill any of the criteria set out in polling policy, the questions and the results are not 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 senior news management 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. There may also be consideration for the journalist’s safety. On rare occasions, this might involve taking on a false identity. In such a situation, we will first consider the legal implications of the proposed scheme.
In addition, before resorting to a false identity 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 or the use of a false identity allows us to gather the best evidence of the behaviour in question.
A plan to infiltrate or use a false identity will be submitted for prior approval to the General Manager and Editor in Chief.
Use of Social Media: Principles
Social media like Twitter, Facebook or Flickr 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.
Children and social media
We take care to protect the privacy of children involved in the use of social media.
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.