Memo: CBC Field Harassment & Guidelines
“CBC has been consulting with our own staff, outside experts and other media on how to deal with this problem.”
CBC has been consulting with our own staff, outside experts and other media on how to deal with this problem. Our aim is to set up a training course as quickly as possible to help staff deal with all types of harassment in the field.
In the meantime we wanted to provide some immediate guidance based on our research. So please find attached a document you can share with staff in your location. Key to this is a link which allows field staff (or supervisors) to file a report on each incident which will allow us to track the problem across the country.
FIELD HARASSMENT SUGGESTED PRACTICES/GUIDELINES
When assigned to a public event at a venue, if you have time, call ahead. Tell the organizers or the venue management that you’re coming and let them know that security is a concern. Some venues and event organizers are now aware of the problem and are interested in helping prevent incidents.
At other public locations, where possible, feel free to approach security guards or police officers to watch your back. Authorities have advised us that having someone in uniform nearby can act as a deterrent.
Try to take note of your surroundings when setting up for live hits. If you sense that a would-be harasser is lurking, alert the control room and suggest a look-live instead.
If the assignment involves an event known for large, rowdy crowds or heavy alcohol use, discuss the possibility of adding a staff member to ensure security.
Write down what was said, when and where it was said, what the person looked like, a license plate if you see one etc. Try to get as much information on the perpetrator as you’re able to safely. Some camera operators at CBC Toronto are now putting Go-Pros on their cameras to capture a wide view of the area.
Make sure to inform your supervisor so the CBC can document these incidents and take whatever action is deemed necessary/appropriate. Please use the link below to access a simple form to be filled out after each incident. This will automatically build an accurate central record which will provide a good picture of where, when and under-what-circumstances these incidents are occurring. This in turn will help us devise more focused strategies for combatting the problem and, equally important, determine whether our strategies are succeeding.
In addition, a Crown attorney has advised that you write a clear statement as to how the incident made you feel and why. This could be helpful in the event of criminal proceedings.
Your personal safety is the number one priority. If you feel in any danger, call your supervisor and leave the area. No story is worth getting hurt.
*We do not encourage our crews to engage the abuser. We don’t want to escalate the situation. Your safety is paramount, and it’s hard to predict how individuals might react to words or gestures which could be seen as provocative.
*It has been suggested that social media be used to shame people caught in the act of abusing our staff. This tactic comes with its own perils and is highly contentious. We are recommending AGAINST it at this time.
Should incidents be reported to the police? This is a difficult question to answer in a blanket way. The answer may be yes. But it really depends on the specific circumstances including the judged severity of the incident, the degree to which our staff member or members felt genuinely threatened, our ability to identify the assailant, etc. Going to the police is essentially a personal decision but it should be made in consultation with local CBC managers.