Monday, May 05, 2008

CBC Ombudsman Rejects Turkish Government's Denial of the Armenian Genocide

May 3, 2008
Armenian National Committee of Canada
It is a shame that Turkey resorts to denial tactics in order to project a clean image to the world. As said in this release “By its persistent policy of denial, the present Turkish Government is making itself automatically the inherent target of responsibility for the 1915 Genocide.”
Ottawa – A well-financed campaign to censor CBC Radio's ‘As It Happens’ program, orchestrated by the Turkish government and its agents, has been rejected by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Ombudsman Vince Carlin.

After a professional examination of the Turkish denialists complaint that CBC “did not give sufficient attention to Turkey’s official claim that the events of 1915 did not constitute a genocide,” Mr. Carlin said, “While not ignoring significant dissent from 'mainstream' views, the journalist must not distort the concepts of 'balance' by giving equal weight to any contending theory.”

The ombudsman added, “In the cases at issue, the preponderance of credible academic work has found that the Turkish government took deliberate action against the Armenian population and those actions fit what became the definition of Genocide.”

The ombudsman elaborated on the journalist’s ethical conundrum of “giving voice to those who deny events which were part of the historical consensus.” On this thorny issue, Mr. Carlin said, “the implications of such notion are evident when one thinks of giving substantial time to those who deny that there was a genocide directed against Jews during World War II.”

In the ombudsman’s view, “ while fairness and balance would impel journalists to be on the look-out for credible contradictory evidence, appropriate weight must be given to broad-based conclusion, in this case not only academic-based, but also endorsed by UN agencies and the Canadian Government.”

The CBC ombudsman concluded his findings by noting that “the concept of balance is not mathematical.” Accordingly, he found that “no violation of CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices in treatment of theses items.”

The latest campaign of silencing freedom of speech in Canada was launched after CBC's ‘As It Happens’ program interviewed United States Congressman Adam Schiff (Oct. 18, 2007), Turkish historian Taner Akçam (Oct. 12, 2007), and an official from the Toronto District School Board on the proposed Grade 11 Genocide Curriculum (Dec. 14 2007).

The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) cognizant of the campaign, responded to the Turkish government’s misinformation by making essential presentation (testimonies of historians' and scholars, books, and other relevant documents) to the ombudsman to refute the Turkish denialist fabrications.

Aris Babikian, Executive Director of ANCC, commended the CBC ombudsman's findings and conclusions. 'Once again CBC has demonstrated that it is not willing to compromise its journalistic integrity. We congratulate the CBC ombudsman and ‘As It Happens’ staff for not capitulating to the Turkish government’s propaganda machine, threats, intimidation, and bullying.”

“It is high time the Turkish government recognized that its Armenian Genocide denial policy is a bankrupt one and that Turkey can not muzzle freedom of the press and suppress freedom of expression in the civilized world, as it has done in Turkey,” Babikian said, urging the Turkish people to rise against the “Turkish Deep State” and utranationalists who are running the country's denialist policy.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, President of ANCC observed that “By its persistent policy of denial, the present Turkish Government is making itself automatically the inherent target of responsibility for the 1915 Genocide.”



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