Thursday, November 27, 2014

Judge orders Ezra Levant to pay Saskatchewan lawyer $80,000 in defamation suit

An Ontario judge who heard a defamation lawsuit against Sun News Network host Ezra Levant ruled Thursday that the controversial media personality libelled a Saskatchewan lawyer in a series of blog posts the judge said were "motivated by malice."
Justice Wendy Matheson ordered Levant to pay $80,000 in damages to Khurrum Awan and remove "defamatory words" about the man from his website within 15 days.
"I find that the defendant's dominant motive in these blog posts was ill-will, and that his repeated failure to take even basic steps to check his facts showed a reckless disregard for the truth," Matheson wrote in her decision.
Awan was completing his articling and looking for work as a lawyer when the statements were posted online by Levant. Awan was seeking $100,000 in damages.
Levant's posts centred on Awan's testimony at a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal case about a complaint regarding an article in Maclean's magazine from 2006, titled "The future belongs to Islam."
Awan was a law student when the article was published and was among a group of students who alleged the article was Islamophobic.
Entire CP story

CBC News website hacked as part of attack on international media, reportedly by Electronic Syrian Army

The Syrian Electronic Army is claiming responsibility for the hacking of multiple news websites, including CBC News. was affected Thursday by the hacking. the network's website reports.
Some users trying to access the CBC website reported seeing a pop-up message reading: "You've been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)."
It appears the hack targeted a network used by many news organizations and businesses.
A tweet from an account appearing to belong to the Syrian Electronic Army suggested the attacks were meant to coincide with the U.S. Thanksgiving on Thursday.
The group claimed to have used the domain, a company that offers businesses a customer identity management platform, to hack into other sites via GoDaddy, its domain registrar. Gigya is "trusted by more than 700 leading brands," according to its website.
The hacker or hackers redirected sites to the Syrian Electronic Army image that users saw.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi faces five charges in sexual assault

Former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi is facing five charges in relation to a sexual assault investigation.
Ghomeshi, 47, has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of “overcome resistance – choking,” Toronto police said in a news release.
According to the Criminal Code, anyone found guilty of attempting to choke someone to overcome their resistance to the commission of an indictable offence faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. Sexual assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Ghomeshi was charged on Wednesday morning after surrendering to police. He is scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. at the city's College Park courthouse, police said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi withdraws lawsuit against CBC; has to repay legal costs

The CBC says its lawyers have reached an agreement with former radio host Jian Ghomeshi and he has withdrawn his $55-million lawsuit against the public broadcaster.
CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson says "the civil suit has been dismissed with costs in favour of CBC."
He says Ghomeshi is expected to pay $18,000 in legal costs to the CBC.

G20 disciplinary hearing to resume Dec. 1

The disciplinary hearing for Toronto  Supt. David (Mark) Fenton charged in relation to G20 “kettling” incidents is scheduled to resume on Monday. December 1, at 10 a.m.
Retired Judge John Hamilton has been named to replace Peter Grossi who resigned because of illness.
The hearing began last Wednesday and is dealing with  five charges of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct for stemming from Fenton’s involvement in ordering mass arrests and kettling of protesters at the G20 summit in June 2010 in Toronto.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Judge presding over G20 hearing ill; proceedings suspended

Peter Grossi, the retired judge presiding over a disciplinary hearing for Toronto  Supt. David (Mark) Fenton charged in relation to G20 “kettling” incidents cannot  continue heading  the tribunal, it was announced on Friday.
Grossi has a medical issue that prevents him from continuing, the hearing that began on Wednesday and is dealing with  five charges of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct for stemming from Fenton’s involvement in ordering mass arrests and kettling of protesters at the G20 summit in June 2010 in Toronto.
Hearing officer Supt. Debra Preston told the Toronto Star that she learned about Grossi’s medical issue five minutes before the Friday session was to start. She declined to describe the medical issue.
Police are looking at other options over the weekend, said Preston. “Hopefully we’re able to continue with this hearing as scheduled,” she said, adding the chief’s office will be reaching out to other retired justices for a replacement.

Friday, November 21, 2014

TVO's Steve Paikin testifies at G20 hearing

Paikin being interviewed after testifying
“'I’ve never seen this much riot gear, I’ve never seen the kinds of hemming-in that officers did this time. I’ve never seen people sort of picked up while peacefully protesting and put in the back of a court services vehicle,'” Paikin told the tribunal, adding that he has covered hundreds of demonstrations throughout his three-decades-long career,." the Star quotes him as saying.
The hearing is dealing with disciplinary charges against Toronto police Superintendent Mark Fenton.
Full Star story

Thursday, November 20, 2014

If the CBC management hi-jinks make you dizzy, read this

Linden MacIntyre has not been barred from appearing on CBC News Network this week despite an internal public broadcaster memo to the contrary, the Star reports.
Jennifer Harwood, managing editor of CBC News Network, sent a memo late Wednesday stating that any interviews with MacIntyre on the network this week have been cancelled.
The memo said the move came about because of MacIntyre’s recent comments to the Globe and Mail comparing the workplace behaviour of Peter Mansbridge to that of ousted Q host Jian Ghomeshi.
CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said in an interview Thursday that Harwood did not consult with her before sending the memo and that it is not consistent with CBC’s editorial practices.
MacIntyre, the veteran host of The Fifth Estate who is retiring this week amid sweeping budget cuts at the public broadcaster, is still welcome to appear on CBC News Network, McGuire said.
Asked whether Harwood would issue a statement retracting the memo or be disciplined, McGuire said discussions were underway Thursday morning and she was not prepared to comment yet.
She described Harwood as a “long-time colleague” of Mansbridge. Many at the public broadcaster were deeply upset by MacIntyre’s “unsubstantiated” comments, she said.
In a statement, Mansbridge said he was not aware of the original story until MacIntyre wrote him a detailed and full apology Wednesday night.
(Maybe time for top management to take a hike? Just asking.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bell Media cuts 80 more jobs, citing challenging advertising market

Bell Media has cut 80 positions across several departments, the Star reports. It is the second round of reductions the broadcaster has made this year. In June, the company announced a reduction of 120 positions.
The affected positions are across a number of departments, including Local Radio and TV; Sales, Research, and Revenue Management; Marketing & Communications; Network Operations; and News.
“It amounts to 80 full-time positions in our national radio and television operations‎, or about 1.3 per cent of Bell Media’s entire workforce,” said a spokesperson.
In terms of on-air talent, Jacqueline Milczarek, morning anchor on CTV News Channel, is one of the people affected by the cuts. She joined the channel in 2007.
Also on the list to lose their jobs are Amanda Logan, a host on CHUM-FM, and Chitra Nawbatt, a host on BNN. Just last week, high-profile broadcasters Tanya Kim of eTalk and Teri Hart of The Movie Network were let go as part of the first round of cuts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Media man Dick Nielsen focused on fairness, intellect (Nielsen Obit)

Excerpt from a Globe and Mail  obit by Martyn Burke:
"He died in Toronto on Oct. 25, leaving his wife Donna (née Dunseith); two of his daughters, Camilla Brockhouse and Petrea McConvey; eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a third daughter, Marta Nielsen, a filmmaker. Right up to the end, at the age of 86, he was still producing shows about the First World War and dictating instructions to his assistants from his bed at Toronto General Hospital even as pneumonia overtook him."
Link to Globe and Mail obit

Newly hired producer to oversee ‘Today,’ is fired at NBC after 10 weeks

In a new round of turmoil at the long-roiling NBC morning show “Today,” Jamie Horowitz, a former ESPN executive brought in 10 weeks ago to supervise the show, was fired on Monday after what several people at the network said was a series of conflicts with members of the show’s staff as well as the management of NBC News.
In a memo sent to the staff Monday evening, Deborah Turness, the president of NBC News, said that she and Mr. Horowitz “have come to the conclusion that this is not the right fit.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Senior Toronto cop faces G20 disciplinary hearing starting Wednesday

A long-delayed disciplinary hearing is finally slated to start Wednesday for the most senior police officer charged in relation to the mass violation of civil rights during the violence-marred G20 summit four years ago.
Civil liberties groups said they would be keeping a close eye on the month-long proceedings against Toronto Supt. David (Mark) Fenton given the unprecedented detentions of more than 1,000 people and the heavy security expected at next year’s Pan-Am Games in Toronto.

The charges against Fenton under the Police Services Act will be heard starting on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, at the Toronto Police Service Auditorium, 2nd Floor, 40 College Street, at 10 a.m. Peter Grossi, a retired Ontario Superior Court judge, will preside over the hearing.
TVO's Steve Paikin is expected to be a witness.
Canadian Press story 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Radio-Canada staff protest job cuts by rejecting boss' award

Radio-Canada staff refused an award presented to them Wednesday by CBC President Hubert Lacroix in protest against ongoing job losses, the Canadian Press reports.
The Sherbrooke, Que. newsroom had been selected to receive the President's Award in the "Audience First" category — an internal newsroom honour — for their coverage of the Lac-Megantic disaster.
The newsroom of about 60 people had tied for the award with the Calgary office, who were honoured for their coverage of the massive flooding in June 2013.
Full Canadian Press story

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CBC calls back veteran to run Q temporarily

Jamie Purdon, a former veteran CBC news director is returning to the network to take over the radio show Q following the firing of host, Jian Ghomeshi and the transfer of executive producer Arif Noorani, the CBC announced.
Purdon, who currently works with a non-profit organization, will start Monday as interim executive producer, replacing Noorani, who asked to be reassigned.
According to his online profile, Purdon spent nearly 30 years with CBC, working his way up to director of newsgathering until he left in 2012.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CBC weather will be coming from the Weather Network

The CBC and The Weather Network have struck an agreement that will see forecasts from the privately owned weather channel appear on the public broadcaster’s flagship evening newscast, The National, while CBC news reports will air on The Weather Network.
The one-year trial, which goes into effect Dec. 8, means Weather Network meteorologists and other on-air contributors will supply weather updates through the day on CBC News Network, on CBC Toronto’s weekend broadcasts, and on CBC’s News Express airport network.
In exchange, The Weather Network will be able to pick up CBC’s weather-related news reports for use on its TV channel and digital platforms, the Globe and Mail reports..

Monday, November 10, 2014

Executive producer Arif Noorani quits Q to develop ‘new show for CBC radio’

CP's Colin Perkel reports: The executive producer of Q is leaving the CBC radio show in the aftermath of the ongoing scandal involving its former host, Jian Ghomeshi, the broadcaster said Monday.
Arif Noorani, who opted to take time away from the program last week, will return to work on Monday to work on a different project, the CBC said.
Noorani did not respond for a request for comment but a spokesman for the broadcaster said the change was at his request.
“He’s asked for a reassignment given all that has transpired over the last couple of weeks,” said CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson.
“When he comes back next Monday, he’ll be working on the development of a new show for CBC radio

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Union 'disappointed' by comments from CBC boss on Ghomeshi allegations

Sam Colbert writes in the Star:
"The Canadian Media Guild says it is “deeply disappointed” by comments from a CBC boss on the handling of allegations against Jian Ghomeshi ahead of an independent investigation.
"A statement released Friday by the union said Heather Conway’s account made “pained efforts to exonerate management and its handling of the matter.”
"Conway, the CBC’s head of English programming, spoke publicly for the first time about Ghomeshi in a pair of interviews on the broadcaster’s programs The National and As It Happens on Friday.
Conway described the CBC’s version of events that led to the firing of the Q radio host on Oct. 26. She explained that CBC management became aware of allegations against Ghomeshi in April, when the host approached them to explain that the Star was looking into accusations of abuse.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

CBC's Ghomeshi investigation a cover-up before it begins: Jesse Brown

Jesse Brown, the free-lancer who broke the Ghomeshi story, writes in his blog:
"The fix is in.
"Information released today by Chuck Thompson, CBC's Head of Public Affairs, reveals the broadcaster's impending 3rd party investigation of the Ghomeshi scandal to be a pre-determined cover-up and whitewash.
Lawyer Janice Rubin's report will never be released to the public. What's more, the CBC now admits that Rubin has been contracted only to investigate past and present employees of Ghomeshi's shows, Q and Play. Rubin has no powers to demand answers, and no mission to learn who knew what and when. Participation in the investigation seems to be entirely voluntary. "
The whole Jesse Brown's story

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NatPost columnist Robyn Urback sees conflicty of interest in CBC's Ghomeshi scandal hire

Robyn Urback writes:
“'We see no conflict of interest,'” said CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson when pressed on (Janice) Rubin’s CBC appearances. 'As a leading authority on workplace harassment, Janice has often offered her views on this subject to a number of media outlets.'
"The CBC may not see a conflict of interest, and indeed, there may not be. I don’t know Rubin personally, but by reputation I’m assured she is fully capable of separating her occasional CBC appearances from the serious task at hand. But my impression doesn’t matter, nor does the CBC’s, nor does it really matter if there is any tangible evidence of conflict of interest at play.
 "The perception of bias is enough. And it should have been enough to compel the CBC to consult its list of guest contributors before handing off the reins to its investigation."
The full column

Toronto Star to drop paywall, create tablet

Canadian Press 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

CBC names lawyer Janice Rubin to lead Ghomeshi investigation

The CBC has named employment lawyer Janice Rubin to lead an independent investigation into allegations of harassment or violent attacks against women by fired radio host Jian Ghomeshi, the CBC web page reports.
Heather Conway, CBC's executive vice-president of English Services, made the announcement Tuesday in an emailed statement to CBC employees, saying that Rubin is a "leading authority on workplace harassment" with a certificate in workplace investigation.
In her statement, Conway said current and former CBC employees who worked on shows where Ghomeshi worked as host — Play and Q — and who have "complaints, concerns or experiences they wish to share regarding harassment, discrimination, violence or other inappropriate workplace conduct during their work on these programs" are invited to contact Rubin.
Janice Rubin firm's web page

Monday, November 3, 2014

Court orders Jan Wong to repay $209,912 to the Globe

The Globe's Jeff Gray writes: "The Ontario Divisional Court has sided with The Globe and Mail in its dispute with Jan Wong, a former reporter ordered to pay back a $209,912 settlement with the newspaper after she revealed some of its confidential terms in a tell-all book.
"In a decision released on Monday, the court upheld a July, 2013, decision by a labour arbitrator to order Ms. Wong to pay back the settlement, even though she did not disclose the actual amount she was paid in her self-published 2012 memoir, Out of the Blue, which details her battles with depression and with The Globe.
"The Globe pursued the case after it objected to several phrases in Ms. Wong’s book, in which she wrote that the paper had paid her “a pile of money to go away,” and that a “big fat check [sic] landed in my account.”

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trudeau era scribes will enjoy "Thumper," memoir of Donald S. Macdonald

Written with Rod McQueen, "Thumper" is a good portrait of the Trudeau years. Interesting insights into PET himself and quite critical of John Turner. Great read too.

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