Journalists free to choose sources they deem credible, press ombudsman rules

No need for transparency in the mainstream media, as a National NewsMedia Council spokesperson says 'generally speaking journalists are free to choose the sources they deem credible,' even if that source is in a conflict of interest on the issue.

Journalists free to choose sources they deem credible, press ombudsman rules
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The national press ombudsman has ruled reporters do not need to disclose conflicts of interest with the sources used in their reports.

A complaint was made by Blacklock’s Reporter about an article by Anja Karadeglija, a reporter and former journalism instructor, who fabricated her report utilizing a sole-source Twitter contact.

The June 14 National Post report, headlined “Sued For Sharing Your Password? A Federal Court case is deciding if you can be” claims to have covered a three-day legal proceeding involving a Blacklock’s lawsuit against Parks Canada for sharing passwords without payment or permission in breach of the Copyright Act, according to Blacklock’s.

Blacklock’s Reporter sued Parks Canada for buying a one-person subscription and then sharing a password so multiple government employees could access the site's news stories,” the article by Karadeglija reads.

Blacklock’s alleges that Karadeglija did not attend the court proceedings, did not read the motion record or affidavits, did not interview either counsel in the case, and that her sole source and interview was Twitter contact Howard Knopf.

The article denoted Knopf as a “retired copyright lawyer,” and made no mention of him spending “more than a decade in the Canadian federal government,” according to his biography as former counsel with Ridout and Maybee LLP in Ottawa.

Knopf self-identifies as a “policy provocateur” according to his LinkedIn.

Blacklock's further notes that “the newspaper failed to disclose Knopf had a solicitor-client relationship with Parks Canada lawyers. The Department of Justice in 2017 Access To Information documents censored 172 pages of correspondence with Knopf, citing ‘solicitor-client privilege.’”

When Blacklock’s inquired to have this conflict disclosed, the outlet claims the National Post refused to issue a cautionary note.

“We are comfortable that he is in no material conflict of interest,” Kevin Libin, executive editor with Postmedia Network, responded to Blacklock’s, further stating that Knopf had “no conflict of interest that warranted disclosure.”

According to Cara Sabatini, spokesperson for the National NewsMedia Council, the complaint had “insufficient grounds to support a breach of journalistic standards,” saying that “generally speaking journalists are free to choose the sources they deem credible.”

The mainstream media has repeatedly amplified and unquestionably featured sources in their reporting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that contained experts and profiteers riddled with conflict of interests.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, had a declared conflict of interest with Pfizer when he advised Premier Doug Ford's government to institute coercive vaccine mandates.

To this day, the mainstream media has ignored this unethical, albeit newsworthy, conflict.

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