NCCAR and CAF Call on Ontario Press Council to Investigate Biased Reporting Against Muslims and Arabs

Ottawa, Sept. 17 – The National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR) and the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) are calling on the Ontario Press Council to investigate the troubling practice of biased reporting against Muslims and Arabs in CanWest publications.

In a radio report aired this morning on CBC Radio Ottawa, journalist Evan Dyer reported on how CanWest publications have been altering words and phrases and inserting biased qualifiers in wire copy stories dealing with the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is one example:

In one Reuters story, the original copy reads: “… the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.”

In the National Post version, printed Tuesday, it became: “… the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.”

“This is another troubling example of clear bias by CanWest publications like the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen in applying different standards towards Arabs and Muslims when reporting,” said NCCAR Executive Director Mazen Chouaib.

“We have complained repeatedly that there is a perceived anti-Arab agenda with these publications and we hope that this will force them to change their methods and expose to Canadians the validity of our point of view.”

The CBC story explains that Scott Anderson, editor of the Ottawa Citizen, said CanWest has a policy of renaming some groups as terrorists, primarily Arab groups.

“CanWest, one of the largest media conglomerates in Canada, is failing its rsponsiblity towards all Canadians, not just Arabs and Muslims,” said Omar Alghabra, CAF president. “The media has moral and ethical obligations to report the facts when it comes to news reporting, not the opinions of their editors.”

NCCAR and CAF will be addressing this issue with CanWest Publications and with the appropriate regulatory bodies.

For further information contact:

Annik Lussier, NCCAR media relations coordinator, (613) 238-3795
Omar Alghabra, CAF president, (905) 302-6787

To read or listen to the full CBC report, please visit the following link:

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