CBC Ombudsman Admits Article on Eritrea Contains Factual Errors, Violates Policy

CBC Ombudsman Recommends to Consult CECCO for Fairness and Balance of Story

CBC's Ombudsman Esther Enkin's decision today on the review appeal acknowledges that CBC article on Eritrea lacks balance and states it would have been better served if CBC had found a way to reach organizations like CECCO to provide some Eritrean response.
CBC’s Ombudsman Esther Enkin’s decision today on the review appeal acknowledges that CBC article on Eritrea lacks balance and states it would have been better served if CBC had found a way to reach organizations like CECCO to provide some Eritrean response.

By TesfaNews,

CBC Ombudsman, Esther Enkin, today rendered her decision on a review appeal filed by the Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organization (CECCO) on an article written by CBC staff writers on Eritrea titled “Despite sanctions, Deputy Mayor celebrates conflict-prone state of Eritrea”.

According to the Ombudsman, the story consists of some factual errors that violate CBC’s Policy on Journalistic Standards and Practices as accuracy, balance and fairness are the core of its values and guidelines. 

As of late, notable Canadian media outlets like the CBC and National Post have intensified unprovoked attacks on a country and people they know nothing about using few mentally enslaved Eritreans as manufactures of evidence.

In all instances, the media purposely avoided the voice of the majority of Eritrean Canadians to influence public opinion on the subject matter. For that, all the stories lacks fairness, partiality and balance that haven’t benefited the ordinary Canadians.

The Ombudsman decision is therefore recommends for the sake of fairness and balance, it would have been better served if CBC had found a way to reach organizations like CECCO to provide some Eritrean response.

The Ombudsman is an appeal authority for complaints made against CBC.

Here are some of the points Ombudsman Esther Enkin highlights in her decision:

1) There were two errors of facts in the original article, which is a violation of CBC policy.

2) The CBC article provided no evidence or attribution to support the fact that Canada’s lack of diplomatic presence in Asmara is a reflection of the state of relations between the two countries. The ombudsman believes that it does not serve balance in the piece and she disagrees with the Management justification given.

3) Even though it is legitimate to narrow the scope of the article, the CBC still has a policy requirement to provide facts to enable a member of the public to form an opinion based on a range of perspectives.

4) There is nothing inaccurate in the way the article is written. But to have done so more effectively requires explaining what the foreign policy is and that is where there is difficulty in this article.

5) The article would have been better served with detailed explanations or data to back up the allegations made.

6) Eritrea is universally seen as totalitarian and aggressive but context on why it might see the world the way it does would have increased Canadian understanding and provided balance.

7) It is true that the ICG does say Eritrea has a grievance in that the boundaries agreed upon were never acted on by Ethiopia, but it also very clearly states that the country is defined by a culture of militarism.

8) It would have been better served if CBC had found a way to reach CECCO to provide some Eritrean response about relations between both countries when the consul was not available for comment.

Below is the decision in its entirety:-

Download (PDF, 107KB)