From: Chris Bassett <Chris.Bassett@globalnews.ca>
Date: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 2:57 PM
To: Weng <email@example.com>
Cc: Jill Krop, Christopher Pang, Chethan P. Lakshman
Subject: RE: Letter of Protest: Globals News, April 30, 2020 story on United Front groups, by Sam Cooper
Dear Mr. Ng,
This letter was forward to myself for a response. Please find this attached.
National Director, Content & Editorial Standards
Global News | Corus Entertainment
May 15, 2020
Ng Weng Hoong
Dear Ng Weng Hoong,
We appreciate having the opportunity to address the concerns outlined in your email from May 4,
2020, regarding a Global News investigative report by Sam Cooper entitled “United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies”.
We can assure you that our Global News teams uphold the highest level of journalistic integrity and ethics at all times. We make editorial decisions thoughtfully and with sensitivity, to produce news content in accordance with industry codes and standards, as well as our own Global News Journalistic Principles & Practices (JPP). Global News does not formulate news content based on personal cultural beliefs, opinions, partisan politics or corporate influences. We are acutely aware of our responsibility as journalists to provide impartial and unbiased journalism that serves the public interest and respects the diversity of our nation.
Journalistic and broadcasting guiding standards differentiate between necessary references to race, national and ethnical origin, from material that is clearly abusive or discriminatory. These codified standards and Canadian law provide wide latitude for Global News to advise the public on events of importance so that they can be informed and draw their own conclusions about the news of the day.
As journalists, we have an obligation to report on serious social problems, solutions and change.
As uncomfortable a subject as it may be, criticism surrounding the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) conduct – as undertaken through organizations controlled by it – during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak is at the forefront of current international conversations and should be dealt with honestly and transparently by all journalists. While we are highly sensitive to our responsibility to ensure that none of our coverage is unconsciously contributing to any xenophobia, equal care must also be taken to ensure that the reality of the human condition is not sanitized to the point of censorship – real or perceived.
In examining your concerns, there is no evidence that this investigative report breached applicable Canadian laws, our own editorial guidelines, industry standards, or those of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters or the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Canada. We stand behind our decision to post this article and support Sam Cooper’s investigation and reporting. We do not believe that any of the information included shows prejudice by our reporter or Global News.
Regulations administered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) expect that broadcasters, as part of their service to the public, will cover controversial public issues. The Broadcasting Act states that the programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should, among other objectives, “ provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern” [section 3(1)(i)(iv)].
The purpose of Canadian journalism is to serve the public interest, acting independently and fairly, while reporting the facts. We are dedicated to journalism in the public interest that is accurate and reliable and remain committed to conducting our reporting without distortion or misrepresentation. Whether or not the government of China was concealing the extent of the pandemic’s risk at the same time as members of the United Front Workers Department (UFWD) were actively sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) from around the globe is an important matter of public interest. Criticism of those actions and the response from our own Canadian government, is an essential component of free speech and permitted in a free society, just as is holding all political figures and political positions accountable for their decisions.
Our only intention with this news story is to provide information about the controversial infiltration in our Canadian society of certain organizations directed or controlled by the CCP, specifically the operation to secure PPE spearheaded by organizations linked to the CCP including the UFWD.
At no point in this article or subsequent coverage does it state or imply that all Chinese Canadians are loyal to or controlled by the CCP, nor would we allow such a prejudiced perspective in our reporting. The story was the result of months of investigative work sourcing documented facts. According to multiple experts and the evidence cited, the CCP – through certain organizations – is attempting to direct the actions of certain ethnic Chinese people in other countries, and amplifying its influence in diaspora communities including those in Canada. It also reveals, as many news outlets have also since reported, that the CCP controlled and manipulated information about the potential international risk while purposefully directing the UFWD to mobilize a large-scale inbound flow of PPE to China from other countries, including Canada.
To be clear, Global News has recognized in a variety of coverage the important efforts that Chinese Canadians have made in contributing to the fight against the pandemic here at home within Canadian communities. However, this was not the focus of this report. Not all perspectives on a topic needs to be included at one time nor can they be. The absence of such context does not imply an absence of balance or a bias on the part of Global News or our reporters. Balance is achieved through the overall body of works covering relevant issues and not based solely on one news story.
Indeed, because this was not the focus of the article, it did not go into great length about what we are hearing from other Chinese Canadians who see UFWD activities as invasive and harmful. In extended Global News radio interviews about the issue, Sam Cooper has had the ability to further discuss this perspective and has done so repeatedly. Likewise, a quote from author and journalist Jonathan Manthorpe was included in the article in an effort to articulate this point and express the need for the Canadian government to provide support for those who share this view:
“To me, it is utterly unconscionable that here are Canadians who are being intimidated and pressured in their own country by foreign agents,” Manthorpe said. “These are assaults on our sovereignty, and they are assaults on our national interest. And they are assaults on our citizens. We should not allow that.”
We understand that not everyone will agree with our editorial choices. Viewing and dissemination of the news is accompanied by an individual’s own life experiences and viewpoints. There is no question that this is a controversial topic, which will continue to arouse debate in Chinese
Canadian communities as more news outlets continue to examine UFWD activities (and activities of similar CCP-related organizations) and the Canadian government’s response. We can assure you that there is no malicious intent behind our journalistic efforts and this was only one of a series of articles on this and related topics. One only needs to look to Sam Cooper’s article entitled, “Chinese-Canadians ‘suffering in silence’ as China’s United Front reaches into Canada” (https://globalnews.ca/news/6920433/chinese-canadians-communist-party-influence/ ) to gain insight into the perspective of Chinese Canadians who are concerned about CCP-related actions in their communities, as well as impacts on their family still in China.
That being said, your feedback did give us an opportunity to re-examine a specific quote and graphic used within the article that has raised some concerns for you. We have confirmed that the quote in question was translated as-is from a sub-title within a March 2, 2020, state media
report. Global News did not intentionally abbreviate the quote and the article transparently attributed it to the applicable source within our coverage. However, while we believed that the caption included with this graphic clearly reflected the editorial intent of the article as described above, we appreciate that not all readers may have fully read the description provided. We have
therefore removed that graphic and replaced it with one we believe better aligns with our objective.
Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion on this matter with us. We recognize the importance of audience feedback, good and bad, and truly appreciate all comments that help us to meet, with the goal of exceeding, our commitments to the many communities we serve across
Canada. We regularly apply all learnings to decisions regarding future reporting and if you have any additional concerns or questions encourage you to contact me directly at:
National Director Content & Editorial Standards
CC: Jill Krop, BC Regional Director of News, Global News
Christopher Pang, VP, Associate General Counsel, Corus
Chethan Lakshman, Shaw Communications Inc.