August 18, 2004 - reproduction of instructions issued to CTV staff following many complaints from the Polish community in Toronto:
Special Attention: CTV News Editors - Producers - Writers - Reporters - Anchors
Last November, during a story on a Holocaust survivor, CTV News used the phrase "Polish Ghetto for Jews." In April, during a story about Nazi war criminal Walter Demjanjuk, a script used the phrase: "...the Polish camp of Treblinka." CTV News has received dozens of complaints from Polish Canadians who say that such wording is offensive and inaccurate because it suggests that Poles were responsible for the "ghettoes" and "concentration camps" in Poland during World War 2. They want it clearly stated in any reportage on this subject, that Nazi Germany was responsible for the forced ghettoes and concentration camps in Poland.
After reviewing our stories, reading the correspondence and discussing the issue with Polish Canadians, I agree that our wording was unclear, and offensive.
CTV News Responsibilities:
1. To report with language that is precise, clear and accurate.
2. To be sensitive to words or phrases that are - or might have the appearance of
being - offensive, demeaning or hurtful to a religious, ethnic, or other group.
3. To ensure that historical context is included in our coverage. With the passage
of time, history is often forgotten by our viewers, or not learned at all by younger
generations. This point was made repeatedly in correspondence from Polish
Canadians to CTV News.
On this issue, it is our job to leave no doubt about the historical context of events in Poland during the Second World War: that Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, that Poland was occupied, that the Nazis forced Polish nationals into ghettoes, built prisoner of war camps, and brutalized and murdered millions of Poles - both Jews and non-Jews.
CTV News Policy:
CTV News programs must not use the adjective "Polish" when describing World War 2 concentration camps or ghettoes that were created, built and run by Nazi Germany.
Robert Hurst, President - CTV News