Panel pontificates on pain of being a reporter in Canada

CBC Connect reporters weigh in on the disconnect between Canadians, Ottawa and the news media

CBC Radio journalists say Ottawa won't talk to them, and neither will Canadians. 

On Wednesday, during the monthly program CBC Connects, senior journalists shared personal and professional challenges in getting news at home or abroad.

Carol Off, host of CBC’s long running current events show, As It Happens, thinks journalists face huge challenges when it comes to free expression in Canada.

“We have a situation … where our Prime Minister had people removed from an airplane for asking an unauthorized question,” Off said.

“When journalist cover things in Ottawa they are kept as far away off the podium as possible, to keep them from asking questions or challenging the government.”

Panelist Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC’s morning news show, The Current, added that even in Canada’s recent history journalists have been targeted, some have died, covering issues such as the bombing of Air India Flight 182 or Hell’s Angels.

The threat of violence, she said, intimates news publishers to commit resources to covering such stories.

“It’s not just about getting the fact it’s about going somewhere that somebody doesn’t want you to go,” Tremonti said.

CBC’s John Lancaster noted that there is an element of risk in covering the news but he still feels lucky to be a journalist in Canada.

“In some foreign countries journalists are murdered and their families have been kidnapped,” Lancaster said. “Considering those facts I feel myself fortunate.”

Adrienne Arsenault, correspondent for The National highlighted other difficulties. She said that people in Canada are reluctant to share their thoughts or views.

“It is easier to ask for money on the street than to ask for an opinion,” Arsenault said.

“In Canada people are closed about how they genuinely feel. So in order to cultivate a source in this country and follow through a story they deliver is brutally difficult.”

Agreeing with Arsenault,  David Common, host of CBC Radio’s World Report, described how easy it is to get the public’s view in other countries.

“In the United States people will talk about anything,” Common said. “You stand on a street corner, people run through traffic and say what do you want me to talk about?”

About this article

By: Amirul Islam
Posted: Dec 14 2013 5:13 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life Opinion