CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe has released a new review in response to a complaint that a series of late June Sunday Edition segments on the police handling of the G20 protests were unbalanced and anti-police.

CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe has released a new review in response to a complaint that a series of late June Sunday Edition segments on the police handling of the G20 protests were unbalanced and anti-police.

Lapointe concluded there was no violation of CBC Journalist Standards and Practices, ruling the focus of the programs were sound — and that police and political officials were given a fair chance to appear on the show, choosing not to.

You can read the full decision here, but it's worth noting LaPointe's thoughts on the concept of balance.

He writes:

The concept of balance is not easily defined. It doesn’t involve mathematical equivalence or even necessarily one supporting voice for every opposing voice. Rather it is a blend of conditions that permit a range of views to be equitably expressed and challenged. That includes a line of inquiry that is equitably challenging and permissive of guests.

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When balance is not achieved in a single segment or program, the CBC policy affords the achievement of balance through other programs and platforms over an undefined period of time. This concept is often difficult for the non-journalist to comprehend or accept, and the complainant and others have expressed a strikingly similar tone of frustration in concluding that a policy that permits long-term balance is less than immediately satisfying.

Not surprisingly, he adds, many viewers feel a wide range of views should be shown within a single segment, or piece. When their expectations are not met, writes LaPointe, their confidence in journalism is undermined — even if evidence of long-term balance exists.

"Unfortunately," he adds, "there is no remedy for this. Not every story can contain perfect balance. A form of consolation comes in the long-term consumption of a news organization’s journalism that approaches and explores issues from different perspectives in different places."