CNW in Canada, and its global affiliates, is one of the world’s most trusted sources of news and information. The Company facilitates the distribution of news and information on behalf of thousands of organizations globally. In doing so, we adhere to stringent content guidelines that are also used industry-wide and are similar to those used by mainstream media outlets to ensure the integrity of the information.
The integrity of the content we distribute is of utmost importance to us because of the trust that is put into our service by our customers, media, financial markets and influencers worldwide.
Every news release issued by one of our wire services is evaluated against our Accepted Content Guidelines prior to being distributed. This policy is in sharp contrast to online “aggregators of opinion” such as Facebook, YouTube, Google and others.
Cision, like other news organizations, maintains content guidelines for several reasons including:
- To maintain its reputation as a credible source of news and information
- To protect its customers and Cision against legal action
- To protect the reputation of its customers
- To comply with copyright, information privacy, and any other applicable laws
On November 28, Cision’s CNW subsidiary in Canada received a request to distribute a news release from the Canadian organization Ontario Proud. The release went through Cision/CNW’s standard review process. While the release itself was approved for distribution, an accompanying tweet as well as a video linked from the release did not conform to a certain component of our content guidelines including the following Cision content guideline surrounding defamatory information:
“Cision will not transmit defamatory information. Defamation can be defined as the publication of a false and damaging statement about another person or thing (including individuals and companies). It includes statements intended to damage the reputation of someone or something. It can, in extreme cases, expose the person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, and in more minor cases damage their reputation, brand or goodwill. Defamation covers both slander (ordinary conversation – broadcast and verbal) and libel (published or printed content). Libel and slander are both forms of defamation, the difference being the means of publication (written vs. oral / permanent record vs. no permanent record). Anyone who publishes or repeats a defamation is fully responsible for it, no matter what its source: each time the defamation is repeated, it counts as a new publication. Cision is legally ‘co-responsible’ for any content it chooses to distribute.”
CNW representatives recommended edits to Ontario Proud that would allow the issuance of the release: specifically, the adjustment of a term used to describe an alleged criminal event within the tweet and video or the removal of the tweet and video from the release text. These changes were recommended to decouple non-conforming content from the press release itself that would be distributed on our newswire and to ensure that the non-conforming tweet was not distributed via CNW’s Twitter feed. Ontario Proud declined to make the recommended changes. As a result, the press release from Ontario Proud was not distributed by Cision.
Cision and CNW take their responsibility as a leading distributor of news and information very seriously and have built a trusted reputation with customers and media outlets. The Company is an advocate of free speech and does not favor particular organizations or censor content based on political or other positions or beliefs. Nor does our organization involve itself in political issues.