Top general slams ‘toxic narratives’ in media coverage of Canadian Forces – The Globe and Mail 3

13 Feb 2017. This is certainly fair comment from General Vance, but surely this has been the case for much longer than his tenure. In talking to journalists, a frequent complaint is that the military isn't always receptive to requests for interviews and information. Also fair comment. The point, all too often overlooked, is that the Canadian Forces are not autonomous; they are accountable to the government and are required to implement government policies. When a government adopts a media policy of secrecy or constrains the release of information, journalists have to scramble for crumbs of information and thus speculate on situations. General Vance's remarks are merely reflections of the consequences of government media policy.


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3 thoughts on “Top general slams ‘toxic narratives’ in media coverage of Canadian Forces – The Globe and Mail

  • Howie Smith

    I agree entirely with the view presented that this is not a recent phenomenon and pre-dates General Vance’s watch. The constraint of information, particularly when dealing with criticism, which was a feature of the previous Government and now appears to have been adopted by the new one contributes to the media filling in a story without active participation by the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence. Reporting on naval and military affairs in Canada should not be comparable to filling in a puzzle without all the pieces. Given the significant sums of money devoted to naval and defence in Canada, much greater openness and information accessibility are essential. The Government must be prepared to have thicker skin and provide balance to the issues using factual data to counter some of the arguments and criticisms that are specious. An organization the size of the Canadian Armed Forces needs to be more proactive and open in addressing bad news and this starts by accepting that such news is inevitable.

  • Dave Shirlaw

    Has anyone on this list ever tried dealing with DND Public Affairs? I’ve been writing on the Canadian Navy for 25 years and gave up on the PAOs. A student from Venture was tasked to give the tour of HMC Dockyard in Esquimalt during 2010 Centennial. If not for me, the tour would’ve had NO narrative. Another example was an e-mail to had MARLANT PAO in Halifax, for which an e-mail “read receipt” took 16 days to arrive and NO response ever came. Unless DND contracts out Public Affairs or stops treating it like a posting to Purgatory, this is what they can expect from the media in Canada.