Weekly News Roundup (June 23)

By: Brittany Green

Top Stories this Week

 Ottawa appoints Judith LaRocque as interim chair of CRTC ; A career public servant, LaRocque will step in for Jean-Pierre Blais, whose five-year term ended on Saturday (CRTC)

Ms. LaRocque will step in for Jean-Pierre Blais, whose five-year term as chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ended on Saturday. The federal Department of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for naming the CRTC chair, began its search for a candidate in January and extended the deadline for applications twice, but still has not found a permanent replacement.

How Blais shook up telecom industry (CRTC)

Industry players may clash over the success of his policies and his leadership, but no one could accuse Jean-Pierre Blais of anything but a dogged pursuit of his agenda during his five years as chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Liberal government tables bill to reform Access to Information (Access to Information Canada)

The Trudeau government plans to cap the spring sitting of Parliament with long-awaited legislation on Access to Information and national security — bills unlikely to be debated by MPs in a serious way until the fall.

CBC ordered probe into nepotism complaints (Access to Information Canada)

The CBC hired an external investigator to probe two top television executives after receiving complaints that at least 13 contracts were handed to production companies owned by their spouses. Although the investigator found no breaches of the public broadcaster’s conflict of interest policy, the legal counsel for one anonymous complainant said the findings are “inconsistent with the facts” and the contracts present the appearance of conflict of interest.

Canadian media have continued to uphold whiteness at work (CRTC) (Access to Information Canada)

Editorial: The institutional refusal by Canada’s media companies (with some exceptions) to deal with diversity, and its pesky twin, equity, in a transparent and accountable way is concerning. As journalists, we flock to cover gender-equal cabinets and to criticize “diversity is our strength” while rarely mentioning our own failures on race and gender. On matters of identity, representation and equity, we are hypocrites.

Top International News

Supreme Court Rejects Expansion of Government-Speech Doctrine In Tam Case (Freedom of Expression)

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Matal v. Tam striking down the trademark non-disparagement requirement as unconstitutional is a big victory for the First Amendment. First, the Court strongly pushed back against the expansion of the government-speech doctrine, perhaps the biggest current threat to free speech jurisprudence. Second, the Court strengthened a position EFF has long advocated—that intellectual property rights and First Amendment rights must be balanced against each other rather than weighted in favor of the former.

On the mark: The Supreme Court says offensive trademarks are protected speech (Freedom of Expression)

“HATE speech”, activists on college campuses like to say, “is not free speech”. Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, made the point last month in reference to a man who uttered anti-Muslim slurs before killing two people who challenged him.

Reload: Another debate about net neutrality in America

An Attack on Net Neutrality Is an Attack on Free Speech (Freedom of Expression International)

Several US senators spoke out this week on the importance of net neutrality to innovation and free speech. They are right. The Internet has become our public square, our newspaper, our megaphone. The Federal Communications Commission is trying to turn it in something more akin to commercial cable TV, and we all have to work together to stop it.

Coal company sues HBO’s John Oliver for defamation (Defamation International)

Coal company Murray Energy has sued HBO and its Sunday-night host, John Oliver, for what it says was a “false and malicious broadcast” last Sunday evening. It’s seeking financial damages and a court order barring rebroadcasts of the segment’s “defamatory statements.”

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Weekly News Roundup (May 26)

By: Brittany Green

 Top Stories this Week

 Videotron appeals CRTC music decision (CRTC) http://business.financialpost.com/fp-tech-desk/videotron-appeals-crtc-ruling-to-stop-offering-unlimited-music-service

Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron has appealed the federal telecom regulator’s decision to outlaw its mobile phone plans that let customers stream unlimited music without extra data charges, stating it faces irreparable harm if forced to cancel the plans by the imposed deadline.

How Canadians pay for ‘net neutrality’ (CRTC) http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/what-canadians-will-lose-out-on-as-the-u-s-deregulates-the-internet-while-were-stuck-on-net-neutrality

The US announced that it is going to “kill the open Internet”. Can Canada save it?

How the laws on CSIS could change (Access to Information Canada) https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/how-the-powers-of-csis-could-change-under-possible-new-legislation/article35077908/

The government last week announced what cues it is taking from a recently concluded public consultation into security and intelligence issues, and Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale has indicated he may soon announce new legislation.

Top International News

Computer wins 2nd game against Chinese go champion (Censorship International) http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/computer-wins-2nd-game-chinese-champion-47630167

A computer beat China’s top player of go, one of the last games machines have yet to master, for a second time Thursday in a competition authorities limited the Chinese public’s ability to see.

Manchester Attack Will Change British Life for the Worse (freedom of expression International) https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-manchester-attack-will-change-british-life-for-the-worse/article35084237/

“Soft targets” are what security and intelligence officials call those busy civilian places where someone might set off a bomb undetected – airports, sporting events, nightspots, concerts – and gain attention by provoking a panicked response.

Facebook’s attempt to moderate content doesn’t address its main problem: Teitel (Censorship International) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/05/23/facebooks-attempt-to-moderate-content-doesnt-address-its-main-problem-teitel.html

Facebook recently announced plans to hire thousands of new moderators to screen for violent, hateful, and sexually explicit content, a decision many politicians and rights advocates celebrated as a necessary step toward protecting FB’s billion-plus users, namely those who are minors.

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Weekly News Roundup (May 19)

By: Brittany Green

 Top Stories this Week

 Former PCO boss eyes border agency watchdog options for Trudeau Liberals (Privacy Canada) http://www.citynews.ca/2017/05/18/former-pco-boss-eyes-border-agency-watchdog-options-for-trudeau-liberals/

The Trudeau government has hired a former top public servant to study options for more robust oversight of Canada’s border agency — the latest sign the agency could soon have new people looking over its shoulder.

Study cites significant challenge in detecting terrorism financing in crowdfunds (Access to Information Canada) http://www.timescolonist.com/study-cites-significant-challenge-in-detecting-terrorism-financing-in-crowdfunds-1.20015659

Canada’s money-laundering watchdog is studying the use of crowdfunding platforms by suspected terrorists and says in an internal study that the reporting protocol poses a “significant challenge” in trying to identify such transactions.

Anti-spam without the heavy hand (CRTC) https://www.pressreader.com/canada/national-post-national-edition/textview

At face value, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) can be heralded as a good thing, because who doesn’t want less spam? However, in its current version, CASL is anti-competitive to Canadian businesses, too costly to comply with, and strikes at the heart of our federal government’s goal of keeping “Canada at the leading edge of the digital economy.”

 Top International News

President moves to defend media (Freedom of Expression) https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-bc-edition/20170518/281586650530035

Mexican leader Pena Nieto promises more resources to help journalists under threat in the country. The President’s hastily called meeting with his security cabinet and the country’s governors was meant to show a united response to the slaying of reporters from one corner of Mexico to the other so far this year. On Monday, Javier Valdez in Culiacan, Sinaloa, became the sixth journalist slain in less than three months in six different states.

Resolute U.S. racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace moved to California (Defamation International) http://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/05/17/news/resolute-us-racketeering-lawsuit-against-greenpeace-moved-california

A racketeering lawsuit launched by multinational forestry giant Resolute Forest Products against Greenpeace should be heard in California, an American court has ruled. Amid a ramped-up public relations offensive by both sides, a district court in Augusta, Ga., found that Montreal-based Resolute had failed to show why the $300-million lawsuit should be held in the state.

School district pulls suicide book ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ (Censorship International) http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/colorado-school-district-pulls-suicide-book-thirteen-reasons-why-1.3415692

As a Colorado community mourns the loss of seven students who recently killed themselves, a school district official ordered librarians to temporarily stop circulating a book that’s the basis for Netflix’s popular new series “13 Reasons Why,” which some critics say romanticizes suicide. The order rankled some librarians who called it censorship, and it appears to be a rare instance in which the book has been removed from circulation — albeit briefly.

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Weekly News Roundup (May 12)

By: Brittany Green

Top Stories this Week

 Mélanie Joly’s Net neutrality stance could spell trouble in Quebec; The day Francophones feel their media has been quietly anglicized by Ottawa’s inaction will be a day of reckoning, new essay posits (CRTC) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/why-canadas-net-neutrality-stance-places-consumers-in-control/article34867805/

Joly’s position on net neutrality and CanCon regulations threaten the francophone cultural identity, her role as an MP, and her party. Criticized for implementing ‘soft policy’, Quebecor’s worry about the future of their media identity and culture.

Saskatchewan premier criticized for using private email to do government work (Privacy Canada) http://globalnews.ca/news/3445253/saskatchewan-premier-criticized-for-using-private-email-to-do-government-work/

Premier Brad Wall is accused by the opposition of using a private email to communicate about government business. According to Wall, nothing of a ‘sensitive’ nature was stated in the alleged emails, and the server they were sent on was ‘secure’.

Pepe croaks: Cartoonist kills off frog turned hate symbol (Defamation Canada) http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/cartoonist-kills-off-pepe-the-frog-after-turned-into-hate-symbol-1.4105948

Popular comic author Matt Furie has killed off his character Pepe from his comic book, “The Boys Club” (2006). During the US presidential election, Pepe’s image became an internet sensation when internet trolls used the character’s images for anti-sematic memes.

 Top International News

UN officials urge India to lift social media ban in Kashmir (Freedom of Expression International) https://www.voanews.com/a/india-social-medias-ban-kashmir/3847713.html

The UN urged India officials on April 27th to life a social media band in Kashmir. The UN stated that the band had a “disproportionate impact on the fundamental rights of everyone in Kashmir” and has the “character of collective punishments”.

Mexico names new prosecutor for crimes against journalists (Freedom of Expression International) http://www.metronews.ca/news/world/2017/05/10/mexico-names-new-prosecutor-for-crimes-against-journalists.html

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office named a new head of its divisions for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression, Ricardo Sanchez. The announcement comes a week after a delegation by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists met in Mexico City with President Enrique Pena Nieto and top government officials. During the encounter the CPJ voiced concern about what it called prosecutors’ “poor record” on investigating crimes against journalists, most of which go unpunished.

Norman Mailer paramour loses defamation suit over biography (Defamation International) http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/norman-mailer-paramour-loses-defamation-suit-over-biography-421901743.html

A Pennsylvania woman who says she had an eight-year affair with author Norman Mailer has lost a defamation lawsuit over a Mailer biography that describes their relationship as “strictly sexual.”A judge dismissed ex-supermodel Carole Mallory’s lawsuit after finding she offered no evidence that biographer J. Michael Lennon or his publisher acted with malice.

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Weekly News Roundup (March 7)

By: Brittany Green

Top Stories this Week

SIN error leaves employees worried; Some Molson Coors staff’s social insurance numbers printed on T4 envelopes (Privacy Canada) https://www.pressreader.com/canada/toronto-star/20170307/282170765943238

Greenpeace court filing an admission of ‘lying,’ forest company charges (Defamation Canada) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/greenpeace-resolute-court-1.4012553

Vote could put Hamilton on leading edge of transgender rights protection; Anti-discrimination policy part of settlement in rights complaint filed by transgender woman over denial of access to bathroom of choice (Freedom of Expression Canada) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/vote-could-put-hamilton-on-leading-edge-of-transgender-rights-protection/article34212986/

Escape From The Broadband Wilderness; Some Towns Building Fibre Themselves (CRTC) http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fast-fibre-optic-internet-arrives-in-many-small-towns-before-big-cities-1.3174901

Repeat Broadcast; Marc raboy’s biography of marconi, the inventor of radio, explains the tech giants of today (CRTC) https://www.google.ca/search?q=Repeat+Broadcast%3B+Marc+raboy%27s+biography+of+marconi%2C+the+inventor+of+radio%2C+explains+the+tech+giants+of+today&rlz=1C5CHFA_enCA709CA709&oq=Repeat+Broadcast%3B+Marc+raboy%27s+biography+of+marconi%2C+the+inventor+of+radio%2C+explains+the+tech+giants+of+today&aqs=chrome..69i57.252j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 Top International News

Senior China government adviser criticizes web censorship (Censorship International) http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/03/06/senior-china-government-adviser-criticizes-web-censorship/

UN experts express concern about growth of ‘fake news’ (Freedom of Expression International) http://www.metronews.ca/news/world/2017/03/03/un-experts-express-concern-about-growth-of-fake-news.html

Weekly News Roundup (Feb. 15)

By: Brittany Green

 Top Stories this Week

 Google, Facebook tell government they take ‘fake news’ seriously (Freedom of Expression Canada) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/02/15/google-facebook-tell-government-they-take-fake-news-seriously.html

Islamophobia motion a divisive issue; Some Conservative leadership candidates calling it an attack on freedom of expression (Freedom of Expression Canada) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/02/14/conservatives-divided-on-anti-islamaphobia-motion.html

Troubled veteran sought help before suicide; In Facebook post, ex-soldier said he was fighting Ottawa for assistance with injuries (Privacy Act Canada) https://www.pressreader.com/canada/toronto-star/20170215/281621010090858

Critics decry Liberal consultation effort (Privacy Act Canada) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/critics-decry-liberal-consultation-effort-over-handling-of-government-records/article34014542/

 Top International News

Top human rights official urges Turkey to ‘change course’  (Freedom of Expression International) http://www.metronews.ca/news/world/2017/02/15/top-human-rights-official-urges-turkey-to-change-course.html

Brazil’s Temer accused of censorship after forcing papers to delete articles; Brazilian President Michel Temer obtained a court order forcing newspapers to delete reporting on the hacking of his wife’s cellphone (Censorship International) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/brazils-temer-accused-of-censorship-over-forced-deletion-of-hacking-articles/article34017079/

Facebook tuning up for music industry; Social network aiming to prevent copyright violations in user-generated videos (Copyright act International) https://www.pressreader.com/canada/toronto-star/20170214/282127816229502

Weekly News Roundup (Feb. 8)

By: Brittany Green

Top Stories this Week

Erosion of privacy has a dark side; ‘Trust us’ not good enough (Privacy Legislation Canada) https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2017/02/07/erosion-of-privacy-has-bleak-dark-side.html

End this cult of secrecy; Ontario tribunals (Privacy Act Canada) https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/02/07/end-this-cultof-secrecy.html

Wireless code being violated, CRTC told; Consumer groups tell review that service provider rules need to be tighter, enforced (CRTC) https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/02/06/crtc-wireless-review-looks-to-strengthen-parental-data-control-cancellation-fee-rules.html

Top International News

Twitter rolls out further measures to tackle abuse; Social network adds filters and targets repeat offenders (Freedom of Expression International) https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/02/07/twitter-announces-new-measures-to-tackle-abuse.html

UN expert urges Thailand to stop banning insults to monarchy (Freedom of Expression International) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56119#.WJtCCLYrLVo