Fri, 07/21/2017 - 04:38

Posted by Tamara Baluja on April 24, 2014

By Tamara Baluja, Associate Editor

The CBC has made several changes to its policies about paid speeches following the recent controversy of prominent journalists Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy accepting payments from members of the oil industry.

The public broadcaster said it will reject all requests from companies, political parties or lobby groups, “even if the speech or event seems innocuous,” and will also track all paid and unpaid speeches made by its on-air journalists.

“Starting in May, we'll post regularly online a list of appearances by our reporters and hosts—both paid AND unpaid. This will allow you to judge for yourselves how well we're living up to our commitments,” CBC editor-in-chief and general manager Jennifer McGuire said in an article published on the CBC Editor’s Blog.

The contracts of freelance hosts, such as Rex Murphy, will also be updated so that they are compelled to disclose their paid events to the CBC, McGuire added.

“We're confident that these measures will answer the concerns about perceived conflicts of interest,” she said in the article. “And rest assured that CBC has strong editorial controls already in place to prevent any genuine conflict from seeping into our journalism.”

Some media watchdogs have said it’s inappropriate for journalists to accept money from groups or industries that are the subject of their reports. CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin also weighed in on the issue, saying that even a perception of conflict, whether warranted or not, is problematic. 

Related content on J-Source:


A Duncan Kinney comment on the CBC Editor's Blog post gets it right: "I don't think you could have struck a more patronizing tone but congratulations on your policy change."

Interestingly, one can't comment on this CBC blog (or even 'like' a comment there) without having a Facebook account. As far as I know, Facebook is a) not Canadian, b) a commercial operation, and c) helpful to U.S. spy agencies.

Looks like the CBC Editor's Blog, at least, still has some work to do disentangling itself from commercial links and becoming something befitting Canada's public broadcaster.


J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.