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B.C. Court of Appeal recommends procedure for media challenges to secret trials

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Three-judge panel on B.C.’s highest court has recommended procedure for media seeking to find out information about trials being held in total secrecy

B.C.’s highest court has recommended a procedure to help the news media and members of the public trying to find out information about the rare instances when trials are held in total secrecy.

The recommendation is outlined in a ruling in which a three-judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by Postmedia for information about a secret trial that began in B.C. Supreme Court last June. The case was only identified as Named Persons v. the Attorney General of Canada.

The panel agreed with B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson, the province’s top trial court judge who had conduct of the case, that the trial represented a rare and exceptional set of circumstances requiring that secrecy be maintained.

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It found that revealing even the nature of the confidential information would have the effect of disclosing that information.

“However, this is obviously an unsatisfactory place to leave the analysis, since Postmedia and the public at large must accept the word of now two courts that their Charter rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press are being limited in a justifiable way on the basis of a record that they cannot see,” said the panel.

“Further, the dismissal of this application below prohibits Postmedia from access to any information about the nature of the case that would allow it to make meaningful submissions on a further application to vary or vacate the restrictive orders themselves.”

The panel accepted Postmedia’s submission that it would be preferable for a judge in a secret trial to appoint a so-called amicus curiae, an independent lawyer deemed to be a friend of the court, for a precise role, namely that of making argument as to the proper way of both protecting the legal privilege in issue and realizing the open court principle.

It noted that there may be some circumstances where the risks presented by any disclosure at all are so grave, the only way to minimize the risk yet still receive meaningful submissions in favour of court openness is to appoint an amicus to “provide submissions regarding the importance of ensuring that the privileges in issue are not overextended, and the way this can be accomplished in the context of the case.”

In December, the panel had released a brief statement announcing that it was rejecting the appeal and adding that a full ruling would be released at a later date. The full ruling, signed by B.C. Court of Appeal Chief Justice Robert Bauman, Justice David Frankel and Justice Anne MacKenzie, was posted online Monday.

The secret trial came to light in June when a reporter for Postmedia, a national newspaper chain that publishes the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers, went to a courtroom where the case was on the docket.

The reporter was advised that there was a publication ban and that the court file was sealed. When the case went in-camera, or behind closed doors, the reporter left the courtroom.

A lawyer for Postmedia appeared before Hinkson in a bid to find out what the case was about, but the judge declined to disclose anything about the trial, which was scheduled to run six weeks.

The judge said that he’d considered the applicable open court principles and concluded it was one of the rare and exceptional cases where the principles do not apply.

Court proceedings in Canada are presumed to be open to the public and orders that displace the open court principle can adversely affect the rights of Canadian citizens and the media to observe and report on the business of the courts.

From time to time, proceedings temporarily go behind closed doors to address discrete and valid issues, such as police informant issues. But trials are rarely entirely secret and close to the public.

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Why social media makes you feel bad

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Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media and noticed you felt a bit down? Maybe a little envious? Why aren’t you on a yacht? Running a startup? Looking amazing 24/7?

The good news is you are not alone. Although social media has some benefits, it can also make us feel a little depressed.

Why does social media make us feel bad?

As humans we inherently compare ourselves to others to determine our self-worth. Psychologists call this social comparison theory.

We primarily make two types of comparisons: upward and downward comparisons.

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Upward comparisons occur when we compare ourselves to someone else (in real life or on social media) and feel they are better than us (an unfavourable comparison for us) in whatever domain we are assessing (such as status, beauty, abilities, success, and so on).

For example, comparing your day at work to your friend’s post from the ski fields (we’re looking at you Dave!) is likely to be an upward comparison. Another example is making appearance comparisons which can make you feel worse about yourself or your looks .

Although upward comparison can sometimes motivate you to do better, this depends on the change being achievable and on your esteem. Research suggests upward comparisons may be particularly damaging if you have low self-esteem.

In contrast, downward comparisons occur when we view ourselves more favourably than the other person – for example, by comparing yourself to someone less fortunate. Downward comparisons make us feel better about ourselves but are rare in social media because people don’t tend to post about the mundane realities of life.

 

Comparisons in social media

Social media showcases the best of people’s lives. It presents a carefully curated version of reality and presents it as fact. Sometimes, as with influencers, this is intentional but often it is unconscious bias. We are just naturally more likely to post when we are happy, on holiday or to share successes – and even then we choose the best version to share.

When we compare ourselves to what we see on social media, we typically make upward comparisons which make us feel worse. We compare ourselves on an average day to others on their best day. In fact, it’s not even their best day. It’s often a perfectly curated, photoshopped, produced, filter-applied moment. It’s not a fair comparison.

That’s not to say social media is all bad. It can help people feel supportedconnected, and get information. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, keep your social media use in check with these tips.

 

Concrete ways you can make yourself feel better about social media

Monitor your reactions. If social media is enjoyable, you may not need to change anything – but if it’s making you exhausted, depressed or anxious, or you are losing time to mindless scrolling, it’s time for change.

Avoid comparisons. Remind yourself that comparing your reality with a selected moment on social media is an unrealistic benchmark. This is especially the case with high-profile accounts who are paid to create perfect content.

Be selective. If you must compare, search for downward comparisons (with those who are worse off) or more equal comparisons to help you feel better. This might include unfollowing celebrities, focusing on real posts by friends, or using reality focused platforms like BeReal.

Redefine success. Influencers and celebrities make luxury seem like the norm. Most people don’t live in pristine homes and sip barista-made coffee in white sheets looking perfect. Consider what real success means to you and measure yourself against that instead.

Practise gratitude. Remind yourself of things that are great in your life, and celebrate your accomplishments (big and small!). Create a “happy me” folder of your favourite life moments, pics with friends, and great pictures of yourself, and look at this if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap.

Unplug. If needed, take a break, or cut down. Avoid mindless scrolling by moving tempting apps to the last page of your phone or use in-built focus features on your device. Alternatively, use an app to temporarily block yourself from social media.

Engage in real life. Sometimes social media makes people notice what is missing in their own lives, which can encourage growth. Get out with friends, start a new hobby, embrace life away from the screen.

Get amongst nature. Nature has health and mood benefits that combat screen time.

Be the change. Avoid only sharing the picture-perfect version of your life and share (in a safe setting) your real life. You’d be surprised how this will resonate with others. This will help you and them feel better.

Seek help. If you are feeling depressed or anxious over a period of time, get support. Talk to your friends, family or a GP about how you are feeling. Alternatively contact one of the support lines like LifelineKids Helpline, or 13Yarn.

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Social Media Buzz: Mt. Washington, Balloon, Adani, Kyrie Irving – Bloomberg

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Social Media Buzz: Mt. Washington, Balloon, Adani, Kyrie Irving  Bloomberg

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Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions – CP24

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  1. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  CP24
  2. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  Halifax.CityNews.ca

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