The Ethics Advisory Committee of The Canadian Association of Journalists has published their Best Practices in Digital Accuracy and Corrections, which seek to provide guidance for online implementation of the CAJ’s ethical principle that “When we make a mistake, we correct it promptly and ungrudgingly, and in a manner that matches the seriousness of the error.” The guidelines include some thoughtful discussion regarding how the goal of “accuracy” should be achieved in a digital environment.
The guidelines identify three applicable principles:
1.Published digital content is part of the historical record and should not be unpublished.
2. Accuracy is the foundation of media credibility.
3. Transparency demands that we are clear with audiences about changes that have been made to correct/amend or update digital content.
Further, the guidelines identify three areas in which best practices can be implemented:
- helping readers report errors
- transparency in corrections
- placement of corrections
The guidelines also discuss the interaction between legal liability and corrections (such as with respect to defamation claims – in Ontario, Section 5 of the Libel and Slander Act effects a mitigation of damages for newspaper or broadcast libels where a retraction (meeting the prescribed requirements) has been published.