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The Globe and Mail

CBC accepts ruling to turn over sensitive papers

The CBC says it accepts a ruling that compels it to turn over sensitive documents to the federal information watchdog, and will not appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

President Hubert Lacroix says the public broadcaster is satisfied with Wednesday's decision by the Federal Court of Appeal because the ruling specifically protected journalistic sources.

Information commissioner Suzanne Legault went to court twice to force CBC to hand over 16 files that had been requested under the Access to Information Act.

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The Crown corporation refused to release the information to requesters, relying on a section of the Act that allows it to withhold material relating to its journalistic, creative and programming activities.

Most of the material was requested on behalf of Quebecor Media, which has pilloried the CBC in its newspapers, websites and television network for alleged extravagant spending and a lack of transparency.

CBC also refused to allow Ms. Legault to review the material so she could make an independent judgment about whether the decisions to withhold the sensitive documents were justified.

The three-judge appeal-court panel ruled in Ms. Legault's favour Wednesday, but conceded she had no right to inspect any material that revealed journalistic sources.

Mr. Lacroix said that element of the ruling satisfied CBC's primary concern, and that no further court action was necessary.

"We're satisfied with the judgment, which clarifies the lower court's decision with regard to most of our concerns, especially the key issue of protecting journalistic sources," he said in a statement Friday.

The Crown corporation said it "looks forward to working constructively with the Office of the Information Commissioner so that it can continue fulfilling its responsibility to be transparent, in the best interest of Canadians."

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Conservative MPs warned Mr. Lacroix against spending more taxpayer funds on legal fees during his appearance before a House of Commons committee on Thursday.

Tory MP Dean Del Mastro has also said the government wants an amendment in the Access to Information Act that would compel the public broadcaster to be more transparent.

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