CBC Says Amanda Lang Met Journalistic Standards On RBC Story

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CBC News Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire said the results of an investigation surrounding host Amanda Lang and her involvement in a 2013 story about the Royal Bank of Canada adhered to the broadcaster's journalistic standards. | CBC

TORONTO - The CBC says business reporter Amanda Lang abided by journalistic standards during her involvement in a 2013 story concerning the Royal Bank of Canada.

CBC News Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire sent a memo to staff on Thursday with the results of a review into Lang's involvement in the story on RBC's use of temporary foreign workers.

In early January, media website Canadaland alleged that Lang had a conflict of interest in the story and tried to "sabotage" it.

McGuire said the review was led by Jack Nagler, the CBC's director of journalistic public accountability and engagement.

He looked at journalistic content, conduct, and an employee's obligations to disclose any potential conflict of interest.

"This review re-affirmed that all of CBC's journalism relating to the RBC temporary foreign workers story met CBC's journalistic standards," said the memo.

The review also looked at Lang's coverage of RBC on other stories and found she "adhered to CBC's journalistic standards."

McGuire said the review also included an external analysis by a third party, Cormex Research.

"Cormex examined media coverage of the major Canadian banks including specifically Ms. Lang's coverage of RBC. Their analysis found that CBC's coverage of RBC '… was in keeping with observed norms among other comparable broadcast outlets covering the banks,'" McGuire wrote.

She added that the review did uncover problems with the CBC's conflict of interest policies, in that they were found to be too open to interpretation.

"There is a range of interpretations around CBC's policy regarding disclosure of real or perceived conflict of interest. The policy states that 'the duty to disclose and remove conflicts of interest rests with the employee,'" McGuire said.

"Going forward, CBC News will ensure that all of our staff adhere to the most rigorous interpretation of this standard."

The report suggests that any policy changes ensure there "be no grey area" when it comes to assessing whether a conflict of interest exists.

"Whether a given situation requires recusal from a story, or perhaps a full public disclosure, the audience should have all the tools they need to assess the fairness, balance and integrity of CBC journalists. Therefore, the bias should be tilted toward tighter rules and more disclosure, in particular more formal, written disclosure protocols for both employees and supervisors," the report states.

Canadaland had also reported that Lang was in a relationship with an RBC board member — which she said she disclosed to the CBC.

The website also outlined instances when Lang was paid to speak at public events sponsored by the bank.

The CBC came to Lang's defence and said her paid speaking appearances were approved and did not violate any rules.

In late January, the CBC said it would no longer approve any paid appearances by its on-air journalistic employees.

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