By Tamara Baluja, Associate Editor
The CBC has made several changes to its policies about paid speeches following the recent controversy of prominent journalists Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy accepting payments from members of the oil industry.
The public broadcaster said it will reject all requests from companies, political parties or lobby groups, “even if the speech or event seems innocuous,” and will also track all paid and unpaid speeches made by its on-air journalists.
“Starting in May, we'll post regularly online a list of appearances by our reporters and hosts—both paid AND unpaid. This will allow you to judge for yourselves how well we're living up to our commitments,” CBC editor-in-chief and general manager Jennifer McGuire said in an article published on the CBC Editor’s Blog.
The contracts of freelance hosts, such as Rex Murphy, will also be updated so that they are compelled to disclose their paid events to the CBC, McGuire added.
“We're confident that these measures will answer the concerns about perceived conflicts of interest,” she said in the article. “And rest assured that CBC has strong editorial controls already in place to prevent any genuine conflict from seeping into our journalism.”
Some media watchdogs have said it’s inappropriate for journalists to accept money from groups or industries that are the subject of their reports. CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin also weighed in on the issue, saying that even a perception of conflict, whether warranted or not, is problematic.
Related content on J-Source:
- What Peter Mansbridge’s CAPP speaking fee says about his news judgment
- CBC responds to Dan Rowe’s column on Peter Mansbridge
- CBC ombudsman: Perception of conflict of interest over Mansbridge and Murphy speaking fees matters