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Bannon Prosecutors Seek to Curb Social Media Posts Before Trial – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Prosecutors asked a judge overseeing the fraud case against President Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon to admonish a co-defendant for statements he has been posting on social media sites, saying they violate court rules.

Brian Kolfage has posted a stream of comments about the case on Facebook and Instagram since his arrest on Aug. 21, calling it an assault on freedom and a “witch hunt,” borrowing a term frequently deployed by Trump, and likening himself to a political prisoner. Prosecutors say the comments have the potential to taint the jury pool.

The prosecutors said they’re not seeking a gag order, but may do so if Kolfage persists with his public statements.

Kolfage’s lawyer Harvey Steinberg didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing.

When the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the charges, the acting U.S. Attorney, Audrey Strauss, issued a statement saying: “The defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.” And the lead inspector of the U.S. Postal Service, which conducted the investigation, said: “This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.” In the court filing Friday, prosecutors say the statements by the authorities didn’t violate the rules.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday. Bannon, Kolfage and two others are charged with wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds for personal use from a foundation they were running to construct privately-funded segments of border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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The Organizational Obstacles Of In-Housing Media – Forbes



The actuality of an in-house digital media operation is fraught with organizational, technological and cultural challenges. Any business leader considering establishing or expanding a digital media operation should understand the obstacles before committing. 

Ever since the release of ANA’s K2 report on media transparency, marketers and firms have looked for better mechanisms to control their media. For ambitious companies, the desire for more impact has led some to in-house media. The prospect of an in-house team of media-savvy professionals maximizing the firms’ buying power in programmatic is the dream of many senior executives. For instance, 46% of media and marketing decision-makers tell us they pursued an in-house solution “to have more control over our paid media investments.” However, the actuality of an in-house digital media operation is fraught with organizational, technological and cultural challenges. Any business leader considering establishing or expanding a digital media operation should understand the obstacles before committing. 

Setting internal expectations that transformational results take commitment is critical. 

Firms accustomed to focusing solely on maintaining short-term performance must now also balance long-term transformation. An internal media group delivers a long-term, strategic advantage. Yet, strategic investments will come proofs of concept, capital investments for headcount and reorganizations. This will require you to prepare the organization for a new way of working and new responsibilities. Don’t allow yourself or others to be carried away by the promise of immediate cost savings and increased performance. Those benefits come over time. 

Finding and satisfying the high expectations of rarefied media talent is arduous. 

Organizations taking advantage of abundant creative and production talent to in source creative services face a highly competitive and fluid digital media talent market. There’s a good reason why 95% of all in-house agencies offer creative services and only 19% offer programmatic media. Digital media, data science and strategy talent are highly sought-after. The meteoric rise of BIG tech gives those firms the resources and reputation to out-recruit. Retention is another matter. The best talent on the market requires career paths, advancement and personal development. Consequently, your ability to recruit and retain talent has less to do with media and more with corporate culture. The sacred cows will either need to step aside or give you the heavy air cover required to effect change. 

Aligning the organization to partners’ payment terms causes friction. 

Companies enjoying 90- and 120-day (or longer) payment terms with their agencies will experience a rude awakening with the 30- and 60-day payment terms that publishers demand. Your finance department will need to write hundreds and thousands of checks in much shorter cycles. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves to achieve this. As discussed, you’ll need the cooperation and buy-in from the top to alter the institutional mindset. 

Establishing short- and long-term partner rules of engagement sparks anxiety. 

CMOs and marketers will find themselves mired in an agency melee while they determine the best agency partner(s) to assist in transitioning responsibility and collaborating with the new in-house operation in whatever form it takes. This will make your agency nervous and reluctant to cooperate. However, even the most sophisticated in-house media operations rely on partners. Balancing the new reality with your established partners is necessary. You both need one another. Plan for the future relationship by outlining clear rules of engagement, roles and responsibilities. 

Successfully in sourcing portions of your media operation results in structural complexity, as there’s no single universally adopted or agreed-upon approach. The first step is understanding how to get the organization ready to do things differently – from HR to operations to finance. Next, you’ll need to identify the right model to organize the necessary functions of media: strategy, execution, technology and data. Lastly, you need a playbook for establishing or expanding your team.  

This post was written by Principal Analyst Jay Pattisall and VP and Principal Analyst Joanna O’Connell, and it originally appeared here.

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Hong Kong press body says new police media rules could limit scrutiny –



By Yanni Chow and Carol Mang

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said on Thursday a move by police to narrow the definition of “media representatives” allowed at public events such as protests could limit scrutiny on law enforcers.

The guidelines, officially changed on Wednesday, now exclude recognition of press passes issued by local media associations such as HKJA and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA), while accepting journalists from 205 bodies registered with the government and international media.

News associations say the move could limit the work of and raise the risks of arrest for freelancers and student reporters, who have captured some of the most striking scenes of the pro-democracy protests that roiled the city last year, including a video of a police officer shooting a demonstrator in October.

Police are suspicious of student reporters, who fit the age group of the most ardent protesters, and say they have discovered fake media badges and been attacked by fake reporters.

“All the police want is to limit us,” said HKJA chairman Chris Yeung, appearing next to representatives of HKPPA and six other media unions.

“Journalism students are the future of our industry,” he said, speaking in front of a banner reading “Defend the truth, no government vetting.”

Some students who said they were reporting for their student union publications have been arrested at protests for suspected crimes including rioting.

Late on Wednesday, Security Secretary John Lee said freedom of the media remained intact.

The change to internal guidelines meant that recognised reporters will be allowed in cordoned zones where media is not usually allowed and could also be offered interviews at the scene, which has also been rare, he said.

Lee said the guidelines do not attempt to change the definition of journalists who can conduct reporting outside cordoned areas.

The Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) said on Wednesday the move was “another step in the erosion of Hong Kong’s once cherished press freedom as it would give the police — rather than reporters and editors — the power to determine who covers the police”.

The FCC expressed concerns that journalists not recognised under the new guidelines risked being arrested for unlawful assembly and rioting.

China’s foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong said on Wednesday that the club should “immediately stop meddling with Hong Kong affairs on the pretext of press freedom”.

“The truth is not to be distorted,” it said. “By anxiously whitewashing the fake journalists, FCC Hong Kong is attempting to endorse the rioters and condone their ‘burn with us’ violence, thus sowing more trouble in the city.”

Pro-democracy protests have been smaller and fewer this year due to coronavirus restrictions on gatherings and since the introduction of a national security law on June 30. There are calls for protests on Oct 1., China’s national day.

(Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Michael Perry)

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City probes racist, sexist social media posts by fire-paramedic staff – Winnipeg Free Press



The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is investigating social media posts by employees that allegedly contained racist and sexist content, offences the service says could trigger penalties that range up to termination.

A Sept. 18 memo written by WFPS chief John Lane, which was obtained by the Free Press, notes the service had issued social media guidelines for its employees, which were meant to ensure a diverse and welcoming workplace. Lane wrote that it took place in the midst of worldwide discussions about “racism, sexism, prejudice, and other threats to these core values.”

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals. Instances have recently been brought to our attention. This is profoundly disappointing for me, both professionally and personally,” Lane wrote.

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals.” –John Lane

The WFPS memo states that the incidents will be investigated, noting employees who have violated the city’s code of conduct and/or other rules may face discipline “up to and including termination of employment.”

Lane also urges all staff to report any behaviour that doesn’t meet city standards and notes a third party will be sought out to ensure that process is confidential.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), which represents Winnipeg paramedics, said members have complained about racist and/or sexist posts by other WFPS staff, as well as some in-person interactions.

Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU’s president, said the issue has been reported since at least June, so the city must quickly move to address it.

“People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times.” –Michelle Gawronsky

“It definitely is not stopping. We’ve been able to provide the employer with documents showing that. And so we are looking for some action now,” said Gawronsky.

She said WFPS must do something promptly to ensure better workplace conditions, an effort that could start with staff education.

“Frontline paramedics, in fact all workers, have the right to go to work and feel safe and secure in their jobs and not have to put up with any racism or sexism,” said Gawronsky.

The union leader said she believes the city must address all of the complaints, including those linked to personal social media accounts.

“When… it’s hurting other people, it is not acceptable at all. People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times,” she said.

Alex Forrest, president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg union, declined to comment, stating he had little knowledge of the investigation.

In an emailed statement, WFPS spokesperson Kristin Cuma did not answer specific questions about the number or nature of the complaints, the number of employees affected or the timeline of the investigation.

“No information will be provided about specific human resources matters involving individuals,” wrote Cuma.

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga


Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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