The CBC’s Personal Attacks on Women

Death threats. Racist taunts. Vows of violence. Inside the increasingly personal attacks targeting Canadian female journalists who cover police, the government and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, CBC has learned about the challenges facing the country’s journalists.

This is the first in a series of stories on the challenges facing CBC journalists — from those exposed by anti-Muslim extremist groups and others who have faced threats on the job, to the growing problem of personal attacks against female members of the public

It started more than three years ago when two men — both officers — in a bar in Ottawa, threatened to have his wife beheaded and burned. The couple had their home raided by police in connection to possible drug trafficking. The men threatened to go after a CBC reporter.

CBC News learned the story from a friend’s Facebook page as it was unfolding, but was too afraid to alert the police.

“This is a real shame and an embarrassment to the CBC. I can’t believe that an unbiased, trusted reporter’s life is being threatened,” said a Toronto-based reporter. The man behind the Facebook page told CBC News he felt “betrayed” by the CBC.

“He’s actually a friend of mine. I was in a bar with him. The only reason he hates the CBC so much is the CBC did bad things to him.”

The man, like others CBC News and its news partners spoke with, told CBC News he thinks the CBC acted “morally” when it published the story to get the man in trouble.

In March, a female television reporter in Winnipeg was called a “slut” in the streets of Manitoba and told to “go back to your mom’s.” CBC News has learned the story began shortly after the CBC hired her.

CBC News is not alone in facing personal attacks.

A Winnipeg police officer’s son is facing a lawsuit that accuses the officer and his son of “perpetrating violent acts which were intended to inflict injury upon the plaintiff.” The lawsuit alleges they did not like the officer’s decision to sue, including threats to have the officer’s son killed. The officer has responded in court papers denying the allegations, as well as threatening to go after other CBC journalists.

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