By Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman
The complainant, Mr. Marco Mura, objected to the characterization of the government of Turkey as “fundamentalist.” I agree that the term is too broad to be accurate in this context. Adjectives are seldom a news writer’s friend.
On December 7, 2016, The World at Six ran a feature about women fighting for their rights and protection under the law in Turkey. You had concerns about the piece. I note the length of time it has taken to come to review due to an unfortunate set of circumstances. You first sent your complaint to another CBC department for response, and when you were not given a satisfactory answer, in April you submitted your concern through the CRTC, who forwarded it to my office. I regret the difficulty.
You stated that the introduction of the piece, presented by The World at Six host Susan Bonner, contained “false and misleading” information when it described the Turkish government as “fundamentalist.” You said “defining the Turkish government as “fundamentalist” is grotesque and baseless.” This raised concerns for you that CBC was “responding to a political agenda by vilifying another country without proven reasons.”
Definitely CBC could express its disagreement or concern about any political choice of a foreign country, but without calling it with vilifying and misleading names. We all know what “fundamentalist” means in the current lexicon. This is even more concerning, as this is a radio funded by taxpayers.
You noted the Turkish government is elected democratically every five years, has been taking a leading role in the fight against ISIS and has the largest refugee population in the world. You asked that the statement be retracted.