CBSC finds NTV in breach for story rushed to air

A new Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) decision reaffirms that getting the story right is more important than getting it first.

The decision concerns a news report broadcast by NTV in St. John’s, NL on April 26. 

The report, which aired during the 6 p.m. NTV Evening Newshour, contained inaccurate dates regarding a murder and sentencing, which the CBSC found to be in contravention of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada’s (RTDNA) Code of Journalistic Ethics.

Entitled “Parole Revoked”, the story concerned Brian Doyle, whose day parole had been revoked because he had failed to disclose a personal relationship. Convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Catherine Carroll, the story stated that the murder had occurred in 1994, followed by sentencing in 2002. A member of the victim’s family complained that those details were inaccurate – the murder had actually occurred in 1991 and the sentencing in 2003.

NTV acknowledged the errors and apologized, explaining that the incorrect dates reflected a rush to get the story to air.

While the CBSC English-Language Panel recognized that the errors were not intentional and did not demonstrate bias, the report nevertheless included inaccurate information material to the story and NTV was found in breach of both code articles.

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