2016-09: Kelenc vs Squamish Chief

Issues: publication ban and naming accused

Download Complaint PDF

January 2016

The National NewsMedia Council has dismissed a complaint alleging that an article in the Squamish Chief violated a publication ban.

The complainant, Susan Kelenc, alleges the paper violated a publication ban by naming the accused in sexual assault charges. She also raised concern about the story’s impact on the family of the accused. The paper had not responded to the complainant’s concerns.

The newspaper responded by stating that the story was previously reported in the Sun and Province. The reporter spoke with the court about details of the publication ban, which relates to a specific charge. The paper did not run the story on its Facebook page due to their inability to monitor comments, and disabled comments when it ran the story on its web page.

The editor copied the NNC on details of the publication ban, which showed that the publication ban extends to a specific charge and does not include the name of the accused. The NNC therefore recognizes that the paper was not in violation of the publication ban by naming the accused.

The paper contacted the complainant to explain the publication ban and the steps taken to handle the story with sensitivity to the accused and family. The complainant was advised accordingly. The NNC was copied on the correspondence.

The complainant is unhappy with the publicity generated by the story, but understands there has been no violation of journalistic standards.