Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Another Global News site, Regina, sanctioned after budget embargo break

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Last week, I wrote about an a February 9 Budget Day embargo break by Global Edmonton that lost the network access to embargoed Government of Alberta material for the rest of this calendar year. This week, I came across a similar break at another Global station, Global Regina, in Saskatchewan.

As reported by Regina’s Leader-Post (owned by CanWest, as is Global News) last month about a March 24 post:

Due to what Global Regina is describing as a gap in its online training, the network broke the Saskatchewan government’s embargo when a story about the provincial budget appeared online about three hours before Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer began his budget address shortly after 2:30 p.m.

The story goes on:

Williamson said the story was created by a reporter in advance so it could go online immediately after Gantefoer began speaking. While the page was not linked to any of Global’s websites, it sat in a sort of Internet no-man’s land where it could be accessed via search engines. It is believed it was first discovered through a Google news alert.

The story was taken down within 15 minutes of it first appearing.

Earlier this month, The Star Phoenix of Saskatoon reported (third item) that the break would cost Global Regina six months of embargoed access, according to a letter from Downs to the network:

“The government is satisfied that this breach was unintentional,” the letter reads in part.

“Still, the budget is the most important document the government releases each year and, prior to its public release, also the most confidential,” wrote Downs, adding the breach had put the government and other media outlets “in a difficult and compromised position.”

The punishment may not hurt too much. Global will be denied documents such as Crown corporation annual reports this spring, but the ban will be over before the next throne speech.

The Star Phoenix is also owned by CanWest.

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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