Verification of User Generated Content (UGC) in news stories
CBC is responsible for all content on its news sites. This policy covers text, image, video or audio contributions from the public which are incorporated into news coverage on any platform.
Material that originates from a non-CBC source is clearly identified as such.
Before text, image, video or audio is published, we try to verify the information with a second source. There may be times when a third source is required.
We are clear with the audience about what we do and do not know. This could include explaining the user’s relationship to the events.
In exceptional circumstances, it may be difficult to authenticate a contribution. There may be times where because of timeliness or as a matter of public interest, we decide to publish without full verification. The decision to publish material without full authentication must be referred to the Managing Editor. We should disclose such decisions to the audience.
Depiction of Violence
We reflect the reality of the situations we report. We also respect the sensibilities of our viewers, listeners and readers.
Scenes of violence and suffering are part of our coverage of wars, disaster, crime and conflict.
We respect our audience by assessing the impact of our images according to time of day and the context of the program where such material is appearing.
If it is necessary to use graphic images, we will add a warning ahead of their use.
We should familiarize ourselves with any laws or regulations about the depiction of violence.
Explicit Sexual or Violent Content
Violence, nudity and sexuality are never presented without good reason. They may be justified when they are important to an understanding of the world we live in. Where they are necessary, we present them without undue exploitation, voyeurism or sensationalism and without trivializing, encouraging or glorifying.
We treat painful scenes with discretion and restraint and without prolonging them unduly.
When it is necessary to present explicit content that some could find shocking, we provide an audience advisory.
The same principles apply to disturbing video/audio on our digital platforms as on our conventional broadcast platforms.
We strive to notify audiences in advance of them seeing such material, including – if possible – when it is seen on third-party platforms.
Payment to Sources
To ensure we maintain our independence, we do not pay for information from a source in a story.
However, payment of fees at recognized rates to specialists for an expert report or a scientific analysis is acceptable. This is not chequebook journalism. In this context the payment of fees need not be reported on air.
Increasingly, audience members are becoming contributors; providing photos or footage of news events. As CBC does pay for freelance content, it may be appropriate, in rare circumstances, to pay for authenticated content. A decision to do so must be referred to the Director.