The shooting of Jared Lowndes by Campbell River RCMP has shaken the community’s foundations over the past few weeks.
On all sides of this story, there are people who are hurting. When the story first broke, all the Mirror had to go on were official releases from the RCMP’s media department, followed by information from IIO. As the story was developing, some people in the community were concerned that we were covering only one side of the issue, the RCMP’s.
Over time, more information became available and the family of the victim was reaching out to various media organizations. In the interest of covering all sides of this important story, we began covering further events and developments, particularly the statement from the National Police Federation and subsequent reaction from Indigenous leadership in B.C., and the procession and funeral event held last week where family members and friends of Jared Lowndes confronted the RCMP at the detachment.
Finally, a story about support for the Indigenous people affected by this event came out of Kelowna, and since it has a local connection we published that story to our website.
By this point, other people from the community thought that the Mirror was covering only one side of the issue, the family’s.
This tragic event was news. We report the news. We do not take sides, or favour one party over the other, rather our goal is always to show all sides of the news as it happens, and to do that unflinchingly, even when it is difficult.
Our goal is never to cause harm to the community. That is why when we made posts about the funeral procession on social media, we turned commenting off. We have a zero-tolerance policy for hateful comments, and comments that are libellous or slander can have legal ramifications.
We are not the only Canadian news organization to take this step, Global News and CBC have both made decisions to reserve the right to turn off commenting on sensitive stories, and it is becoming common practice in the industry. In order to not stifle any voices, we welcome any comments to be sent to our editorial desk, where if they meet our editorial guidelines they will be published as a letter to the editor. We reserve the right to not publish any letter we receive if we deem it does not meet these guidelines.
We recognize this is a sensitive issue, with people hurting on all sides. However, in order for our community to grow and be a wholesome and welcoming place for everyone, we need to shine a light on the difficult parts of our society so we can grow and learn.