When impartiality is sacrificed for politics

In search of the truth, this column questions how Canada’s trash ended up in the Philippines as well as critically assesses an article that covered the dumping scandal in terms of journalistic concepts and principles.

Cut-off date: 11 December 2015

Filipino environmental activists hold a protest outside the Canadian embassy in Manila on 7 May 2015. Photo: AP Photo


When I first read Tristin Hopper’s newspaper article, I felt angry and ashamed. I didn’t want to believe that my native country had sent 50 shipping containers full of metro Vancouver waste to Manila. Over the past two years, Filipinos have been asking Canada to take back their trash. Whether the containers had actually been labelled “scrap plastic materials for recycling” or not, inspectors reported finding “rotting household waste and soggy paper” inside them.

After the initial shock, I took a closer, more critical look at the article. What was so important about this story that it made front page news? And why was it published on 13 October 2015 if the trash was sent to the Philippines two years earlier?

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