TORONTO, December 4, 2013 – We have written to the CBC ombudsman and to the the host of CBC television’s ongoing news documentary series The Last Right, which explores euthanasia and assisted suicide, to express concerns about the strong one-sidedness of the first two episodes.
“(We are concerned) with the relative lack of coverage of the other side of the issue; the shows airing on October 28 and November 4 totalled almost 40 minutes, and yet I counted no more than three minutes of commentary that was opposed to legalizing assisted suicide, and perhaps 10 minutes that could be considered neutral. This would not be an issue for me if the program had been presented as a docu-drama or other standalone programming. However, the positioning of a program within a national newscast creates an expectation that all sides of an issue will be given at least roughly equal time,” the League said in a letter from Executive Director Joanne McGarry.
A third episode, broadcast after the letter was written, was even more one-sided than the first two. It remains to be seen if future episodes will cover the work of the many individuals and advocacy groups who oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia and articulate thoughtful and well-reasoned grounds for their position. We know of several who have been interviewed for the program but as of this writing none have been featured.