British Columbia

Editor's note: Why CBC News is not publishing or airing the Abbotsford stabbing video

CBC received a copy of a cell phone video on Tuesday afternoon, just as news was breaking that two people had been stabbed at an Abbotsford high school, but chose not to air or publish it. Here's why.

CBC received a copy of a cell phone video on Tuesday afternoon, just as news was breaking that two people had been stabbed at an Abbotsford high school. 

The video appeared to the show the incident in progress, filmed by one of the many students who witnessed it. 

After confirming the identity of the source of the video and its veracity, senior editorial leaders in our newsroom discussed posting the video and airing it on our TV newcast as part of our coverage of the story.

We chose not to do so for several reasons.

We were extremely concerned that the people in the video were potentially minors and they were clearly in distress. In addition, it appeared the video showed both the victims and the perpetrator of a crime, which later resulted in a murder charge.

As required by our journalistic standards and practices, we considered issues of taste, as well as our obligation when depicting violence to do it "without undue exploitation, voyeurism or sensationalism."

We believe the video does not add to the public's understanding of the story and that broadcasting it has the potential to do more harm than good.

We will continue to cover the story of this crime and its investigation, as well as the community response and ensuing discussion, including that around the sharing of the video.

We welcome your thoughts on this.

Did we do the right thing? Does the public have a right to see this video? Does it matter that the video has been shared online by others?

Comments

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