Canadian Press acknowledges harmful language about Palestinians, pledges more editorial vigilance

On July 4, 2023, CJPME sent a letter to the Canadian Press expressing concern regarding a brief radio segment about Israel’s invasion of the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. The segment stated:

“Hundreds of Israeli troops are pressing ahead with their hunt for Palestinian militants and weapons in a West Bank refugee camp for a second day.”

This language that Israeli forces were “hunting” for Palestinians was used widely in Canadian media during the attack on Jenin, and particularly in articles from the wire service Associated Press (AP). CJPME considers this language alarming and defamatory. It is also misleading, as Israel’s attack led to the deaths of 4 Palestinian children and resulted in the destruction of public infrastructure and private property. There were also reports of ambulances not being able to enter the city. UN experts say Israel’s invasion may constitute a war crime.

In a letter responding to CJPME the same day, the Director of Broadcast News for Canadian Press, Rose Kingdon, wrote:

“I have reminded our newscasters that words matter and we always need to be aware of how a turn of phrase can be hurtful or inflammatory. Yes, it was the AP’s description, but perhaps we could have substituted the words searching or looking instead of ‘hunting’ – which evokes a hunter looking for humans.”

In a subsequent note, she reiterated:

“We understand this is a volatile issue and our goal is to maintain an objective perspective – The wording you objected to was lifted from The AP – and I might add the CBC used that exact same copy. As I said in my previous message, we are going to be extra vigilant regarding wording.”

CJPME considers this a positive outcome and commends the Canadian Press’ response. However, we are committed to monitoring their future coverage and providing critical feedback.