Global BC says reporter breached journalistic principles
Published Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:58PM PST
Global BC says reporter Catherine Urquhart breached accepted journalistic principles when she didn't dispute an email that called her a "communications director" for the political campaign of Kash Heed.
Urquhart was taken off the air while the station conducted an internal review of the electronic correspondence with Heed's campaign manager, which was made public as part of a criminal probe into whether the Liberal MLA and his staff broke the law while campaigning in Vancouver-Fraserview during the last provincial election.
In a statement sent to media, the television station said Wednesday that an internal review found no evidence of an actual conflict of interest but Urquhart "breached accepted journalistic principles and Global News editorial standards related to the avoidance of real or apparent conflict of interest."
Global News' Senior Director of Editorial Policy said her reporting was viewed to be newsworthy, fair and impartial and the review did not find any evidence her reports gave any preferential treatment to Heed or his campaign.
But the review found that the reporter breached standards because she didn't dispute the "serious allegations" made in the email.
"In failing to do so, Ms. Urquhart created the appearance of a partisan conflict of interest and thus put at risk the reputation of Global News for balanced reporting," the statement reads.
The statement said disciplinary action has been taken against Urquhart, but she is expected to return to her regular duties on Monday.
The email being investigated by police is between the reporter and Heed's campaign manager, Barinder Sall on June 10, 2010.
"I can honestly say Kash would not be SG today if it hadn't been for some key people behind the scenes," wrote Sall. "There were truly three people that played a major role: Me, Peter Dhillon, and yourself and Kash knows this. Peter was the money guy, I'm the brown tanned James Bond strategy girl chasing guy, and you were like the communications director… your stories, coverage and timing gave Kash a lot of profile and built him a following from day 1."
"Hey, that's really sweet of you," wrote Urquhart. "Have to say -- there were a number of people along the way (cops and reporters -- mostly cops) who seemed to have it in for Kash. But I always believed he was a good guy. I'm truly glad it worked out! C"
Police are not investigating Urquhart's conduct as part of the investigation into Heed.