June 11, 2020 – for immediate release
The National NewsMedia Council finds corrective action has been taken on a complaint about accuracy in a court news report in a March 14, 2013 edition of the Kamloops Daily News.
Chris Hermanson filed a complaint with the National NewsMedia Council stating that the article, which was a brief about a charge of marijuana possession, was inaccurate in describing the amount of and purpose for the marijuana. He also pointed out that possession is now legal and asked that the online article be removed.
It is worth noting the complainant was granted an absolute discharge and that the stated difficulty of obtaining legal medical marijuana made the story newsworthy.
Glacier Media, the newspaper’s parent company, responded to the complaint and noted that the paper in question ceased publication in 2014.
The news organization said its policy is not to remove or de-index content unless there is a substantial error in fact whose impact cannot be remedied by a correction or update, or in special circumstances around youths.
It noted that the fact of the conviction was not challenged and said the change in laws about possession does not alter the fact. However, it said that due to the inability to verify the claims of inaccuracy under circumstances, the news organization was willing to remove the references to the amount of marijuana and health information.
In reviewing the complaint and the news organization’s response, the NewsMedia Council found the policy of the parent company is clear. It is evident from the current online version of the article in question that corrective action has been taken in regard to the complaint about accuracy in the original 2013 article.
The NewsMedia Council agrees with the view of the news organization that its criteria for de-indexing was not met in the case of this article. Likewise, the complainant had not indicated that publication of the article resulted in the type of extraordinary hardship that the NNC would view as prerequisite for the exceptional circumstances that might merit a case-by-case review.
As the complaint referenced issues of accuracy, and those were addressed by amending the online article, the NNC considers corrective action has been taken. The file will be closed.