CBC Ombudsman: The Rohingya Story
The complainant, Meer Sahib, thought the phrasing of a reference to the insurgent attacks that sparked the current action against the Rohingya people left the impression that the host of The National was “blaming the victim.” The visuals and the account of the military response provided a broader context in a very short report. There was no violation of policy.
You thought an item which aired on The National on September 3, 2017 about the Rohingya fleeing Burma left the impression they were to blame for their persecution. You pointed out they have been the subject of “atrocities” perpetrated by the Burmese regime for many years. The script, which was read over visuals of the fleeing refugees, stated:
This all began when insurgence of the Rohingya Muslim minority attacked Myanmar security posts.
You thought this implied the military operations about them began because of the insurgency. It provided no context nor mention that the Rohingya have been a persecuted minority for a long time. You said this was an “atrocious lie that it was all the fault of the victims.”
… it is praiseworthy that some Rohingyas have decided to fight back. CBC should not have ignored all the history of oppression, cruelties and butcheries of the Burmese Buddhists, and focus only on a relatively recent phenomenon of self-defence struggle by a tiny group.
You considered that this broadcast caused irrevocable harm to the Rohingya people and asked that CBC prepare an unbiased report outlining their predicament and history of oppression.
The acting Executive Producer of The National, Raj Ahluwalia, responded to your concerns. He told you he reviewed that evening’s coverage. He pointed out that it was a very brief segment with a short script to accompany visuals which had just emerged. He cited the commentary in its entirety:
To a dire situation in Myanmar, also known as Burma, where more than 70,000 people have crossed the border over the past ten days. They are fleeing violence and pouring into neighbouring Bangladesh. The U.N. says relief camps are almost full. This all began when insurgents of the Rohingya Muslim minority attacked Myanmar security posts. In response, the military of the majority Buddhist country began what it calls clearance operations. People say their villages are being bombed and burned. Nearly 400 people have been killed.
Continue reading this story on the CBC website, where it was first published.