The reality of the permanence of online news stories leads to requests for removal of articles.

The right to control over one’s information and the right of free expression can sometimes clash. The norm in most news organizations is to resist requests to remove stories. “Unpublishing is rare.” Masse Sahar asked that a story about him published in 2015 be removed. CBC management declined, and their decision conformed to CBC policy.

COMPLAINT

In June 2015, CBC News in Calgary published a feature story about you. You had just bought a halal butcher shop in the city. Your debut as a butcher began during Ramadan. It is a short article, noting that you were learning on the job in a time of high demand. You have asked that the story be removed. You pointed out that you sold the shop and no longer work there. You said it is affecting your ability to find another job “as well as some personal privacy issues.” You stated that someone is “bullying to defame you”, based on the photo and your name being online.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSE

You received responses from two programmers at CBC Calgary. Christine Boyd, the senior Digital Producer in Calgary, told you that it is only in extraordinary circumstances that stories are removed from the website because “it is a matter of the public record and public trust.”

Selectively changing stories or removing them altogether diminishes transparency and trust with readers. You can read our policy, which falls under our Journalistic Standards and Practices, here under the “Requests for deletion” tab:

http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/reporting-to-canadians/acts-and-policies/programming/journalism/complaints/

I might add that although I can only speak for CBC News, I think you will find this policy is common to credible print and electronic news organizations around the world. If a story is inaccurate, we will correct it and advise readers that we have changed it.

Continue reading this on the CBC website, where it was first published.