POLITICS

Foreign Affairs Department Changed Press Release Without Issuing Correction

10/27/2011 03:59 EDT | Updated 12/27/2011 05:12 EST
AP

OTTAWA — In the print and online news world, when you make a mistake, you issue a correction. But that doesn't appear to be the new practice at Canada's Foreign Affairs department.

The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a news release last week that erroneously stated a group of educators had been imprisoned in Iran since the spring of 2008. A day later, the department realized it had made a mistake and that the group had in fact been arrested this May after a raid by Iranian Government officials.

Instead of issuing a correction, however, as was a standard practice at Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the statement delivered on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was simply changed on the Internet. Officials kept the same original date stamp and made no mention that a previous release had been sent out with incorrect information.

Baird's press secretary Joseph Lavoie told The Huffington Post a correction wasn't needed because the department chose not to issue a new updated statement.

"Our perspective on this is that we were updating an existing release we were not creating a new one," Lavoie said.

"In the past, (the policy) has been to issue a correction, if we are issuing a new release which we did not do this time around," he added.

There was no need to publish a correction on the website noting the error, because, Lavoie said, "if they pull up the release now, what they see is the correct version.”

"Anyone going to the website right now has access to the most current up to date factually correct (information)," he said.

The minister's office is currently reviewing the department’s policies and practices with regards to ministerial statements, he added.

Huffington Post's policy is to post a correction explaining what was changed whenever an error is discovered. Readers can send corrections by pressing the "Send Corrections" link at the bottom of every story.

Can you spot the difference?

THE ORIGINAL

THE UPDATED VERSION