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B.C. privacy commissioner suggests media civility for Prince Harry and Meghan – Maple Ridge News

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Media outlets in Canada should practise civility and self-regulation in respecting the privacy rights of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, says British Columbia’s privacy commissioner.

Michael McEvoy said Wednesday media freedoms in Canada are vast and paramount to ensure a free press, but the couple’s privacy should be a consideration as they take up residence near Victoria.

Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly sent a letter to the British press threatening legal action after Meghan and her young son Archie were photographed walking in a public park north of Victoria.

“I would just say as B.C.’s privacy commissioner that I think it behooves us all to exercise some kind of self-regulation, some kind of civility to respect the rights of others to go about their daily business without being surveilled,” he said in an interview.

McEvoy said individuals, regardless of their celebrity status, deserve some privacy rights.

B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act restricts private organizations, including corporations, unions and political parties, from disclosing the personal information of individuals, but the act does not apply to the collection of information for a ”journalistic or literary purpose,” McEvoy said.

B.C.’s Privacy Act allows individuals who believe their privacy has been invaded to go to court, but the law has not been well tested, he said.

“It’s an open question whether that legislation would provide a remedy to royals or anybody else who wants to exercise it,” said McEvoy.

ALSO READ: Anti-tax group calls for no federal funds for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle while in Canada

Vancouver media lawyer Dan Burnett said the couple’s expectation of privacy in Canada would depend on the individual situation if they decided to take the matter to court. He said claims by media that photos were taken in a public place may not be enough.

“It’s very situational, and too simplistic to say ‘It’s a public place,’ ” he said. “Factors, such as young children and surreptitious photography, tend to suggest an expectation of privacy.”

Burnett said court claims in B.C. for breach of privacy are based on whether reasonable expectations of privacy are violated.

Alfred Hermida, a journalism professor at the University of British Columbia who worked as a reporter in the U.K., said the royal couple are hot news and they should expect to be making headlines when they step out in public.

“It’s really complex, really complicated because the law is not clear cut here,” he said. “Press coverage of this is this thin line of what is in the public interest and whether you’ve breached that just to have photos that are interesting to the public and will sell newspapers or get clicks.”

Hermida said there is a long tradition in the U.K. of media of investigating and exposing the private lives of well-known people, but that approach is not as prevalent in Canada.

“Taking a walk in the park and having their picture plastered across the world’s media, is that an intrusion that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person?” he said. “It might be to a Canadian, might not be to somebody in the U.K., where this is more common.”

Hermida said he finds it difficult to understand that Harry and Meghan believed their recent decision to step back from the Royal Family and move part-time to Canada would not place them in the media spotlight.

“In some ways I would argue by making the decision to step back formally as royals they’ve created more interest in what they are doing,” he said. “There’s the expectation of reasonable interest in them in how they chart a new life in Canada. We’re looking at royals, post royalty, and this is new.”

Dirk Meissner , The Canadian Press

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5 students arrested in social media-linked Port Moody brawl – Vancouver Courier

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Five Heritage Woods secondary students could be facing assault charges after several videos depicting fights that took place near the school were posted to social media last week.

A Port Moody Police Department spokesperson said the suspects were arrested Feb. 19 and the department’s youth liaison officer has been in discussions with school administrators about the incident.

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Sgt. Brad Sheridan would not get into specifics about videos of altercations posted to Instagram but said “social media posts did play a role in our investigation.”

“We did make a number of arrests relative to an assault investigation we have undertaken,” he told The Tri-City News. “They were all youths. They have been released into the custody of their parents.”

The Tri-City News became aware of the Instagram videos Tuesday. One of the clips, which was still up as of Tuesday morning, showed one youth punching another youth in the face before several people jumped on top of the victim. In another clip, the camera holder can be seen pointing bear spray at a youth’s face and demanding he empty his backpack.

The Tri-City News will not publish the names of the people involved in the incident as they are all  minors.

Whether charges are approved is up to the Crown, Sheridan said, noting that police are still investigating.

Sheridan said schools are safe places and he encourages anyone who believes they may be the victim of a a crime to contact police.

“Port Moody is a very safe community,” he said. “This is reflected in our schools. We do have a dedicated youth liaison officer who works closely with the school.”

School District 43 said they are aware of the incident but would not be commenting.

“As the matter at HWSS is being addressed by the Port Moody Police we are unable to provide further comment in regard to this incident,” said Ken Hoff, the assistant director of communications and community relations.  “School District 43 takes all matters of student safety seriously and the school and district will cooperate fully with the police.”

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5 students arrested in social media-linked Port Moody brawl

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Five Heritage Woods secondary students could be facing assault charges after several videos depicting fights that took place near the school were posted to social media last week.

A Port Moody Police Department spokesperson said the suspects were arrested Feb. 19 and the department’s youth liaison officer has been in discussions with school administrators about the incident.

article continues below

 

Sgt. Brad Sheridan would not get into specifics about videos of altercations posted to Instagram but said “social media posts did play a role in our investigation.”

“We did make a number of arrests relative to an assault investigation we have undertaken,” he told The Tri-City News. “They were all youths. They have been released into the custody of their parents.”

The Tri-City News became aware of the Instagram videos Tuesday. One of the clips, which was still up as of Tuesday morning, showed one youth punching another youth in the face before several people jumped on top of the victim. In another clip, the camera holder can be seen pointing bear spray at a youth’s face and demanding he empty his backpack.

The Tri-City News will not publish the names of the people involved in the incident as they are all  minors.

Whether charges are approved is up to the Crown, Sheridan said, noting that police are still investigating.

Sheridan said schools are safe places and he encourages anyone who believes they may be the victim of a a crime to contact police.

“Port Moody is a very safe community,” he said. “This is reflected in our schools. We do have a dedicated youth liaison officer who works closely with the school.”

School District 43 said they are aware of the incident but would not be commenting.

“As the matter at HWSS is being addressed by the Port Moody Police we are unable to provide further comment in regard to this incident,” said Ken Hoff, the assistant director of communications and community relations.  “School District 43 takes all matters of student safety seriously and the school and district will cooperate fully with the police.”

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Indigenous news website Real People’s Media plays dual role in blockade near Belleville – The Globe and Mail

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The close relationship between the protesters and Real People’s Media revolves around Seth LeFort, seen here on Feb. 21, 2020, who is both a prominent member of the protest and the website’s co-founder.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

The rail blockade near Belleville, Ont., was coming to a head. More than a dozen provincial police stood opposite a smaller group of protesters, both sides visibly tense, and a camera was rolling.

“You’re on sovereign territory … every single one of you,” one of the demonstrators yelled, a bandana over his face. Another gave a high-pitched whoop.

When the officers moved forward, they grabbed hold of protesters and scuffled with those who resisted.

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“Okay,” the man filming said. “We’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six arrests.”

The footage of the first physical confrontation between police and the mostly Mohawk activists who had ground the country’s rail traffic to a stop was posted to social media on Monday. It did not come from a traditional journalistic outlet, but from Real People’s Media, a little-known website dedicated to promoting Indigenous “political agendas,” which has provided the most detailed information about the status of the protests for nearly three weeks.

The site’s suddenly elevated profile and sharp, activist tone has raised questions about its leadership and goals.

“What they’re trying to do is push back against the bias that is clearly expressed by elected officials and the media,” said John Kane, a Mohawk radio host whose program, Let’s Talk Native, is featured on the site. “[They’re] really trying to give a more unvarnished view of reality. But from our perspective.”

Since the Feb. 6 launch of the blockade, Real People’s Media has had remarkably intimate access to the Mohawk encampment and leadership. The site published a transcript of the Feb. 15 meeting between Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Mohawk clan leaders that marked the first negotiations between protesters and the government – but which was closed to journalists.

It posted a wish list of supplies requested by residents of the encampment, including marine two-way radios, a police scanner and hand warmers.

The close relationship between the protesters and Real People’s Media revolves around Seth LeFort, who is both a prominent member of the protest and the website’s co-founder. A Mohawk from Tyendinaga, the community adjacent to the rail blockade, he also goes by the Mohawk name Kanenhariyo.

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Mr. LeFort registered the site as a business with the Ontario government last year, and contributors say he continues to operate it, along with an activist named Tom Keefer. Neither responded to requests for an interview.

A statement on the website describes Real People’s Media as a “multimedia news and information network that expresses the interests, experiences, and viewpoints” of Indigenous people who act “in a manner consistent with the Kayanere’kowa,” or Great Law of Peace.

Mr. Kane, the radio host, says he has known Mr. LeFort since he was a teen, and that the young man showed promise early as an advocate for traditional culture.

“Seth became an activist at a fairly early age,” Mr. Kane said. “He was very good with the language. We saw him as one of these young guys who we felt very hopeful for.”

It appears that Real People’s Media was launched in late 2015, when its Facebook page became active. Since then it has expanded to include podcasts, long essays and some coverage of Indigenous business, and developed a following among Indigenous activists and intellectuals. Lynn Gehl, an Algonquin Anishinaabe author from the Ottawa River Valley who has written for Real People’s Media, said Mr. LeFort’s knowledge of Indigenous culture made him a valuable voice.

“Seth is providing an Indigenous perspective … not a colonial perspective,” she said. “It’s important that we have our own media out there.”

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Andrew Brant, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga who has participated in the railway demonstration, said Mr. LeFort’s site has gained the trust of some Indigenous readers who don’t trust the mainstream media to tell their stories accurately.

“It’s become more popular because people trust it to tell the truth,” he said.

In recent weeks, Mr. LeFort has assumed a leadership role in the Tyendinaga protests, as well as the outlet that has chronicled them most vividly. He was one of the first demonstrators to interact with police and acted as a spokesperson for the blockade early on, according to Ontario Provincial Police documents filed in court in support of CN Railway’s application for an injunction to dismantle the blockade. “Seth was very curt and sharpe [sic],” the officers wrote about one interaction on Feb. 10. “Very clear no trains will be going through.”

That has created an unusual dynamic: Mr. LeFort has been featured prominently in the site’s coverage of the protest, often discussing tactics or giving speeches, with no indication that he operates the site.

In a video posted on Sunday, he addresses a group near the train tracks, and says that because of an OPP ultimatum, the gathering must decide whether to leave or stay and face arrest.

“We so often have been convinced and coerced into believing we have to listen to someone,” Mr. LeFort said. “But we’re free people and we’ve been this way for thousands of years. And free people make informed decisions about what they’re gonna do.”

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