CBC reporter 'violates' ethics code for lamenting 'all white' editors at rival newsroom

In the complaint, Anam Latif claimed the Valentine's Day story and related letters to the editor were 'offensive,' 'Islamophobic,' and 'harmful.' Editors stood by the story but 'out of sensitivity to the concern' removed references to Pakistan and Iran.

CBC reporter 'violates' ethics code for lamenting 'all white' editors at rival newsroom
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CBC reporter landed in hot water Friday after she allegedly breached the public broadcaster's ethics code for campaigning against "all white" editors at a rival newsroom.

Anam Latif, a reporter with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo, disparaged content from rival Waterloo Record on Twitter and filed a formal complaint with the National News Media Council, reports Blacklock's Reporter

"I should start a list of all the insensitive bullshit published in The Record," tweeted Latif.

A CBC Journalistic Standards And Practices guide in a chapter entitled "Personal Use of Social Media" urges employees to keep their opinions to themselves. "When we use social media, we should remember two of our principles: impartiality and integrity," it said.

As a Muslim, Latif tweeted and filed complaints with the Media Council, accusing The Record of discrimination over a February 1 article headlined, "Kitchener School Has Cancelled Valentine's Day." The story reported a local elementary school had banned children from exchanging cards or candy on February 14.

The story noted Valentine's Day is named after a Catholic saint. According to Blacklock's Reporter, school managers said, "It is not celebrated by all students or families in our community," such as those from Pakistan or Iran. 

In the complaint, Latif claimed the Valentine's Day story and related letters to the editor were "offensive," "Islamophobic," and "harmful." Editors stood by the story but "out of sensitivity to the concern" removed references to Pakistan and Iran.

"It is so irresponsible for a newspaper to publish inflammatory statements as The Record did. I worry for all the brown kids," she tweeted. "It's just plain inflammatory, Islamophobic and offensive." 

The CBC reporter called it "harmful reporting" that personally upset her. "I am just so personally offended by this article." 

"Our journalists, including casual and temporary staff as well as interns, should consider the following: In our social media activity, we are mindful of our professional association with the CBC," reads Standards And Practices. "We maintain professional decorum and strive to do nothing that would bring CBC into disrepute."

"We understand that what we say and do on social media can reflect on ourselves, our colleagues and the CBC. In particular, the expression of personal opinions on controversial subjects including politics can undermine the credibility of CBC journalism and erode the trust of our audience."

"An incredibly infuriating article about one Kitchener elementary school's decision to cancel Valentine's Day somehow became conflated with Islam and new immigrants," wrote Latif. "How did this comparison make it past editors? Maybe it's because they're all white."

In February, a 2022 Ombudsman report unveiled the Crown Corporation had violated its ethics code by slandering elderly Caucasians for their voting preferences, according to Blacklock's Reporter.

On October 25, 2021, CBC News initially published an opinion editorial incorrectly labelled as "First Person" storytelling by an Elections Canada poll worker, Zeahaa Rehman, who claimed numerical evidence of rising "xenophobic politics" by some conservative candidates.

"On Election Day, I greeted incoming voters, determined if they were at the correct polling address and helped count votes after the polls closed. During the first hour of my shift, an elderly white woman came in with a walker," wrote Rehman. "After she left, I couldn't help but wonder whether, despite our pleasant interaction, she was one of the people who hate people like me."

Despite the CBC breaching its ethics code, the broadcaster did not appear before an upcoming Senate hearing on 'Islamophobia.' They claim to do so would undermine their "journalistic independence." 

"Our journalists regularly report on issues like Islamophobia and must do so independently," wrote Shaun Poulter, executive director of government relations at the CBC, to the Senate human rights committee. 

"They cannot risk being perceived as advocates or agents subject to a committee's scrutiny and recommendations."

While not mentioning the CBC Ombudsman's report from last August 8, Poulter writes, "I hope you can appreciate that senators questioning news leaders about their editorial decisions and practices undermines the journalistic independence guaranteed in the Broadcasting Act."

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