Editor's Blog - How we work, how we make decisions, how we serve Canadians.

Jennifer McGuire

General Manager and Editor in Chief

Why CBC isn't naming all 450 Canadians in offshore leak

Categories: Canada

SI-HavenMap-CBC-220.jpgEarlier today we launched this Editor's Blog where my colleagues and I will be sharing our views about journalism at CBC News. Of course this isn't the first time that I have communicated with you about our decision-making process.

Just last week, CBC - along with a consortium of international journalists - came into possession of confidential information about Canadians who are involved in offshore banking and tax havens. We provided in-depth information about this ground-breaking story but we also decided not to name all the Canadians who held those accounts. You can read the reasons why we made that decision.

There was more coverage again yesterday when Revenue Minister Gail Shea repeated her call for the CBC and other media organizations to hand over the list of names. This morning The National Post published a front-page opinion piece questioning our need to even do these kinds of investigations. The inside headline read "Investigating fraud not part of CBC's mandate." Like The National Post and all news organizations in this country, we are committed to covering issues of concern to Canadians. Sometimes that is simply coverage of events as they happen, other times we strive to provide as much context as we can to the stories we cover and sometimes we mount investigations and uncover stories that others do not want to see covered. Our journalistic tradition is based on major investigations like this, be it within the Boy Scouts organization, government, or our medical system (like our stories about Hospitals rolling out this week).

The mountain of information we collect when we mount these investigations does not always make the light of day. It is used to inform our coverage and to make editorial choices. In that way, it is the foundation of our work. Like The National Post, we adhere to the fundamental principle of protecting the information we collect and the sources we collect it from. Unlike Terence Corcoran's opinion piece on this subject, our editorial choices are not guided by ideology. The selective focus on this story as an example of a left wing ideology ignores all the other stories we cover day in and day out on all our platforms in all parts of the country and around the world. In the days and weeks to come, I hope this blog will be a place where we highlight those stories.

We often are called on to release information or video to help with police investigations and legal proceedings. There are several avenues to ensure that each request is addressed and proper legal processes are followed. As of this post, we have had no legal request to release the information to Revenue Canada officials.

Our colleagues around the world have taken the same position. You might be interested in reading this strongly worded editorial in today's Le Monde.

Later today, I will be posting more about how we got the story and why it is important for CBC News to lead the way on investigations.

Tags: Policy

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