Bell Media President Kevin Crull Publicly Apologises for CTV News Interference

by Istvan Fekete on March 26, 2015

Following media reports of his “intrusion” into CTV’s CRTC coverage, Bell Media president Kevin Crull has publicly apologized for his action and says he has “relearned a valuable lesson” from the incident.

The “fire” was started by the Globe and Mail (partly owned by Bell Media) on Wednesday, alleging that last Thursday Crull influenced CTV’s news coverage of the latest CRTC decision forcing broadcasters to introduce “pick and pay” packages by 2016.

Following the Globe report the CRTC published a strongly worded statement from Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO of the regulator, on journalistic independence. While the statement does not name Bell, the timing suggests that these words target Bell Media and Crull’s action.

“One of the pillars of Canada’s broadcasting system—and, in fact, of our country’s democracy—is that journalists are able to report news stories independently and without undue editorial interference. This principle, along with other fundamental journalistic values, is enshrined in the Code of Ethics that was developed by RTDNA Canada (The Association of Electronic Journalists). Further to section 2(3) of the Broadcasting Act, the CRTC has been entrusted by Canadians, through Parliament, to defend the principles of fair comment, freedom of expression and journalistic independence.”

At the end of the day, Bell Media issued a statement signed by Kevin Crull, who apologised for his action and praised CTV’s news team, calling it “the best news team in the business.”

“It was wrong of me to be anything but absolutely clear that editorial control always rests with the news team. I have apologized to the team directly for this mistake. Indeed their strong and straightforward reaction to my intrusion only heightens my appreciation of their independence, integrity and professionalism. It is crucial to note that CTV’s coverage of the CRTC’s decisions was fair, balanced and extensive, and stands up in comparison to coverage of the issue by any Canadian news organization.”

“In short, I’ve re-learned a valuable lesson from the best news team in the business,” Crull wrote.

Well, he has one good reason to call them the best: The news team complied immediately, as they feared for their jobs. That’s not what we can call “freedom of expression and journalistic independence.”

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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