Friday, October 30, 2015

VICE Media to fight Mounties’ demand for notes on suspected ISIS fighter

The Star's Alex Boutilier reports:
 The RCMP is demanding VICE Canada turn over “all notes and communications” between the journalism outlet and a suspected Islamic State fighter, the outlet reported Friday.
The RCMP served VICE with a production order in February to turn over reporter Ben Makuch’s notes and instant message chats with Farah Mohamed Shirdon, a Calgary-born man turned Islamic State militant.
VICE Canada’s head of content, Patrick McGuire, said they intend to fight the Mounties’ demands in court.
“Complying with this production order would set a precedent that could deeply rupture the independence of the Canadian media,” McGuire said in an email Friday morning.
“Sources should be able to speak to journalists without fearing that the cops will turn around and try and request the records of those conversations. We are not here to assist the RCMP with their work.”
VICE began in Montreal in the early 1990s as magazine startup but, according to the Ryerson Review of Journalism, has quickly grown into a $2.5 billion international media enterprise.
The emphasis in VICE is on mostly youth-oriented content, ranging from a video series that interviews people who have just had sex to edgy investigative journalism.
Full story

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CBC president and board must go: Unions

The Star's Jacques Gallant writes:
"The two unions representing the vast majority of CBC and Radio-Canada employees across the country are calling for CBC president Hubert Lacroix and the entire board of directors to step down, and are launching a petition on the matter amongst its members.
"The petition, obtained by the Star, lists a number of grievances, including:
  • failure to defend public broadcasting and a shift towards privatization;
  • haste in imposing the previous Conservative government’s budgetary cuts;
  • the sale of CBC/Radio-Canada properties and an end to in-house production;
  • laying off more than 2,100 employees between 2009 and 2010, 1,300 between 2014 and 2015, and the planned departure of more than 1,000 workers between now and 2020;
  • “'We concluded that (Lacroix and the board) no longer have legitimacy,' Isabelle Montpetit, president of Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada, told the Star. That union represents most of Radio-Canada’s employees in Quebec and New Brunswick.
    "She noted that even while the incoming Liberal majority government has promised to reinvest in CBC/Radio-Canada, Lacroix and the board are continuing to move forward with cuts to staffing and production. "

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Trudeau’s ‘open government’ plan guaranteed to make waves in Ottawa: Bill Curry

    The Globe and Mail's Bill Curry writes:
    "Parliament Hill is in for a major shakeup should Justin Trudeau follow through with his ambitious pledge to reform Question Period, give more power to committees and allow all government documents to be available by default.
    "The e-mails of political staffers working in the Prime Minister’s Office and for cabinet ministers would no longer be exempt from the Access to Information Act. Parliamentary committees would be given more research money and chairpersons would be elected by secret ballot, rather than appointed by the PMO. Free votes would be the norm, rather than the exception.
    "Those are a few of the 'open government' promises that Mr. Trudeau, now prime-minister-designate, approved in his party’s election platform.
    The whole story

    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    CRTC Commissioner suing chairman

    The Globe and Mail's telecom reporter Christine Dobby writes:
    "A rift at Canada’s broadcast and telecom regulator has again spilled over into the legal system, raising questions about how efficiently and fairly the commission can make public policy decisions.
    "Raj Shoan, the commissioner for Ontario for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has commenced a legal action arguing that chairman Jean-Pierre Blais has overstepped his authority by naming panels of commissioners to consider and rule on telecom files.
    "Mr. Shoan is already fighting the chairman in a separate case, filed with the Federal Court in April, in which he is seeking a judicial review of Mr. Blais’s response to a third-party investigation that found Mr. Shoan had harassed a CRTC employee over e-mail.
    Full story

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015

    CBC/Radio-Canada nabs broadcast rights to Olympics in 2022, 2024

    The CBC will continue to be Canada’s official Olympic broadcaster through 2024, The Canadian Press reports.
    The public broadcaster says it has nabbed the broadcast rights to the Beijing 2022 Winter Games and the 2024 Summer Games.
    That makes CBC/Radio-Canada the country’s official broadcaster for the next five Olympics including Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018, and Tokyo 2020.
    They’ll be working again with broadcast partners Bell Media and Rogers Media.
    CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix says the deal is “fiscally responsible, and perfectly aligned with CBC/Radio-Canada’s current strategic plan.”

    Hungarian camerawoman says she plans to sue refugee she was caught on film tripping

    The Hungarian camerawoman who sparked international outrage when she was caught on film last month tripping a refugee carrying a child now says she plans to sue her victim, The Telegraph reports.
    Petra Laszlo appeared to intentionally kick two young refugees before tripping Osama Abdul Mohsen, a Syrian refugee who was holding his young son at the time.
    Mrs Laszlo was fired from her job and faces a criminal trial in Hungary for "breach of the peace".
    She has now told a Russian newspaper she will sue Mr Mohsen, whom she accuses of altering his testimony to the police investigating her. She also says she will sue Facebook for allegedly refusing to remove threatening content directed at her.

    Monday, October 19, 2015

    Andrew Coyne resigns as NatPost comment editor over election endorsement; stays as columnist

    Andrew Coyne has stepped down as the National Post’s editor of editorials and comment after what he called a “professional disagreement” over the paper’s endorsement of the Conservative Party in today’s election, Peter Edwards writes in the Star.
    Coyne explained his decision in a series of tweets posted Monday morning, saying he resigned “to protect my reputation and to preserve my editorial freedom as a columnist.”
    However, he said he will continue to write a column for the newspaper. “Postmedia executives and I had a professional disagreement,” Coyne wrote.
    “Their view was that the publication of a column by the editorial page editor…dissenting from the Post’s endorsement of the Conservatives would have confused readers and embarrassed the paper.
    “I don’t see public disagreement as confusing,” Coyne tweeted. “I see it as honest. Readers, in my view, are adults & understand that adults can disagree.”

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Sue Lloyd-Roberts, pioneering BBC journalist, dead of cancer at 62

    The BBC journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, a veteran foreign correspondent who specialised in getting into difficult places, has died from cancer aged 62.
    She spent decades reporting from dangerous areas around the world, and has been praised by colleagues, friends and viewers for her "extraordinary" determination and courage.
    Full story:

    Amanda Lang goes to Bloomberg TV

    Amanda Lang will host and produce a show for Bloomberg TV Canada, the company launching the new business channel said Thursday. Lang will host Bloomberg North, a half-hour show that will “dissect local and global business news with Canadian heavyweights,” according to a statement from Bloomberg. The show will debut in the first quarter of 2016 and air two days a week at 6 p.m. Bloomberg TV Canada, a 24/7 business network operated by Channel Zero, is scheduled to launch on Nov. 16. At CBC, Lang hosted The Exchange with Amanda Lang and was a correspondent for The National. Her last day on air there is Friday. (Star)

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Amanda Lang leaving CBC

    The National Post reports that Amanda Lang, the CBC’s senior business correspondent, is quitting the public broadcaster this week, according to a Tuesday announcement.
    Lang is pursuing “a new opportunity outside the CBC in television,” Jennifer McGuire, CBC News general manger and editor-in-chief, said in a memo to staff. She did not specify where Lang is headed.
    “Lang will also devote more time to her writing. Her second book on innovation and creativity will be published next fall,” McGuire said.
    Lang will host her CBC show, the Exchange, for the last time on Friday, McGuire said.
    She started at the CBC in 2009, hosting the Lang & O’Leary Exchange with Kevin O’Leary — who left the show last year.

    Saturday, October 10, 2015

    Bill Grogan, veteran radio guy and Stanfield speech writer, dead at 80

    William Douglas Grogan died on  July 4, 2015 at the Concordia health facility in Bella Vista, Arkansas, at age 80. He was born, raised and educated in Winnipeg, where he had a memorable career in radio, TV and the local entertainment scene until the late seventies when he became a Special Assistant to the late Hon. Robert Stanfield. On Stanfield's retirement, Bill joined the Public Service of Canada and served in several appointments at the Executive level until his retirement in 1994.
    In the 1970s, Bill was a gregarious regular at the old Ottawa Press Club.
    Ottawa Citizen death announcement

    Friday, October 9, 2015

    CBC introduces bullying helpline for staff in wake of Ghomeshi scandal

    The CBC has introduced a “bullying and harassment helpline” to hear complaints about inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, the Globe and Mail reports.
    The measure is in response to the Rubin report, which lambasted managers for the way they handled alleged misconduct by disgraced radio star Jian Ghomeshi.
    Members of a committee working on the report’s recommendations announced the phone line in a memo to staff.
    The committee says the line will “help ensure a workplace we can all be proud of.” They also promise no personal information will be shared with CBC/Radio-Canada or anyone else.
    Lawyer Janice Rubin launched the investigation after CBC fired Ghomeshi in October, 2014, saying there was “graphic evidence” he had caused physical injury to a woman.

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    Federal election’s broadcast consortium debate cancelled

    The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw reports:
    "There will be no federal election debate airing on Canada’s national over-the-air broadcasters, breaking a tradition of coast-to-coast televised debate coverage that stretches back to 1968.
    "Despite months of discussions, the consortium of public and private networks that has long framed national election debates had to cancel its event planned for Thursday after failing to get the leading political parties on board.
    "Instead, the party leaders chose where they would spar from a menu of pitches put forward by other media and civic-minded organizations, fragmenting the national debate and reshaping the way Canadians tuned in to watch. The chair of the consortium now believes the group was the victim of a boycott, and there are calls for an independent body to co-ordinate future debates, helping check the parties’ power over the process.
    "It was only last week that the consortium’s networks – the CBC, CTV, Global, Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec – released the time slots they had held open for the English debate back to regular programming. That marked an end to months of talks which began with two private, all-party meetings the CBC hosted at its Toronto headquarters on April 24 and in its Ottawa offices on May 21. The Conservative Party rejected the consortium’s proposals and it became clear “that things were not going to be the same as they had been in years past,” consortium chair Jennifer McGuire, the general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, said in an interview."

    Sunday, October 4, 2015

    Colin Perkel's review of Louie Palu's documentary on Afghanistan

    "After five years of working in Kandahar, I'm not sure any of my work connects to anyone," he (Palu) ponders. "How can I possibly convey the reality of war?"
    His efforts to enlighten folk back home is at the core of his 75-minute "Kandahar Journals," slated to air nationally on the CBC and the Documentary Channel on Oct. 6. It's no Hollywood production. Instead, his often shaky, small-cam video interspersed with photographs covers a war from the mundane and banal to the beyond brutal, with little gloss or fanfare.
    Full review

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    Long-time CJOH anchor Max Keeping dead at 73

    Long-time anchor of Ottawa's CJOH, Max Keeping, has died after a long and debilitating battle with cancer. He was 73.
    Winston Maxwell Keeping retired from CTV Ottawa five years ago after 37 years on the anchor desk.
    Keeping moved to Ottawa from Grand Bank, Newfoundland in 1965 to work as a parliamentary radio reporter for CFRA. His ability to break stories helped to land him his first TV job as a national parliamentary reporter for CTV News
    In 1972, after a failed run to become a Newfoundland MP – he took over the anchor desk at CJOH, Ottawa.
    CTV Ottawa obit
    Globe and Mail obit

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