Former CBC Journalist Tells National Citizen’s Inquiry That Public Broadcaster Censored Stories on COVID Vaccine Harms

Former CBC Journalist Tells National Citizen’s Inquiry That Public Broadcaster Censored Stories on COVID Vaccine Harms
A man leaves the CBC building in Toronto, in a file photo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Matthew Horwood

A former CBC journalist who testified at the National Citizen’s Inquiry (NCI) in Ottawa on May 18 said the public broadcaster failed in its coverage of the pandemic by barring journalists from writing stories on lockdown harms, COVID-19 vaccine injuries, and protests against vaccine mandates.

“I know that as a public broadcaster, you‘d expect us to be telling you the truth, and we stopped doing that,” said former CBC Manitoba reporter Marianne Klowak. “And it was a number of stories that I have put forward that were blocked, but it seemed to me as a journalist who’d been there 34 years, it’s like the rules had changed overnight. And it changed so quickly that it left me just dizzy.”

Klowak, who left the CBC in December 2021, told the NCI she was blocked from writing several pandemic-related stories she pitched to her editors, such as those highlighting protests against vaccine mandates, concerns with adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines, and problems doctors were facing with reporting vaccine injuries using the Adverse Events Following Immunization Surveillance System.

The NCI describes itself as a “citizen-led and citizen-funded initiative that is completely independent of government.” It has been examining how the COVID-19 pandemic measures put in place by all levels of government impacted Canadians in the categories of health, fundamental rights and freedoms, social well-being, and economic prosperity.

The inquiry ended in Ottawa on May 19 after holding eight hearings in cities across the country, including testimony from expert witnesses and members of the public.

Klowak said, from her perspective, the CBC betrayed the Canadian public’s trust by shutting down one side of the debate around COVID-19. She accused the network of portraying one side of experts as “competent and trustworthy,” while branding the side who questioned the effectiveness of public health restrictions and vaccines as “dangerous and spreading misinformation.”

“I had witnessed in a very short time the collapse of journalism, news gathering, investigative reporting—and the way I saw it is that we were in fact pushing propaganda,” she said.

“Not only had we shut down one side by silencing and discrediting anyone opposing the narrative, we had elevated and designated ourselves as gatekeepers of the truth. We no longer believed our audience was capable of thinking for themselves.”

Klowak said in the months leading up to her departure from the broadcaster the “complaints and criticism” from CBC viewers and listeners “continued to mount.”

“People [were] stopping me on the street and saying ‘what the heck is going on at the CBC?’ People [were] telling me they felt betrayed, lied to; a gut feeling that they weren’t being told the whole truth,” she said.

When contacted for comment, Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs at CBC, told The Epoch Times in an email that CBC News “covered all aspects of the pandemic thoroughly and fairly.”

“Over the course of the pandemic, CBC News had multiple stories sharing the perspective of those Canadians who opposed COVID vaccine mandates,” he said on May 18. “While we didn’t cover every protest, we covered many. And to be clear, there was no overarching directive banning our journalists from writing about them.”

‘This Is Unethical’

In June 2021, Klowak wrote an article about Canadian parents that were concerned about potential links between the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and heart inflammation in children. She said while everything in her article was factual, her editors asked her to drop the Canadian COVID Care Alliance from the story because they supported ivermectin, even though the article did not mention the drug.

“I could not believe that they were asking me to do this. I said, ‘This is unethical. This is immoral. You’re violating all the principles of fairness and balance and accuracy and being impartial and acting with integrity.’ And I said, ‘What you’re asking me to do is dishonest and it’s manipulative.’”

While another story by Klowak on a woman injured by the COVID-19 vaccine did get published, she said her editors modified the article until its meaning was completely changed.

“It should be just a straight story about someone who suffered an adverse reaction and we shouldn’t downplay it. Instead, the way I saw it, her story was buried in experts and health officials and stats, which sanitized it,” she said.

“We failed to hold power to account and no one was holding the media to account,” she later added. “We failed to serve the public, and we broke their trust.”