I am writing to inform the Record’s readership of the journalistic code of ethics that we should be able to expect our local media to uphold.
Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability are highly important elements of reporting.
I found these principles sorely lacking in an article printed May 27 2011 entitled “Coal protest ‘disgusting.'”
This brief piece is based solely on the opinions of Cumberland Mayor Fred Bates and Coun. Leslie Baird.
A few individuals attended Empire Days dressed as lumps of coal to raise awareness about Compliance Energy’s coal mine proposal for Baynes sound and the Cumberland area. Bates’ opinion is that these people tried to “ruin” Empire Days by bringing politics into a “public event.”
Regrettably, we have no idea what the thoughts and motivations of the “coal protesters” were, as Record staff did not include any perspectives other than those of two Cumberland politicians.
The “coal protesters” had no voice in this piece, and Mayor Bates was able to slander a few members of his constituency without recourse. How does this fit in with journalistic principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability?
Further, Mayor Bates claims that “coal protesters … verbally assaulted Vancouver Island North Conservative MP John Duncan” and stated that the “parade is not about politics.”
I’m sorry, Mayor Bates, but as a politician, politics will follow you wherever you go. It is your duty, as a representative of your electorate, to listen carefully to their values, whether they are dressed as coal lumps or wearing a business suit.
It is every Canadian’s right to speak in person to their mayor, or their local MP. Shame on you for characterizing this as “verbal assault.”
And shame on you, too, Comox Valley Record staff, for not representing more sides of the story on this event.