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Beijing ramping up efforts to influence foreign media — including in Canada, report says – Toronto Star

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VANCOUVER—The Chinese government is expanding its efforts to control and influence media, including here in Canada, says a new report.

The report by Freedom House, a Washington, D.C., think tank that strives to further global democracy, details incidents of intimidation as well as misinformation campaigns as Beijing tries to pressure media outlets to not just curb criticism of China’s Communist Party, but to actively promote its policies as examples for other countries.

“The past three years have been marked by an acceleration of this process and the emergence of more new tactics,” reads the report, titled Beijing’s Global Megaphone, which was authored by Sarah Cook, a senior research analyst for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

According to the report, such tactics include “Russian style” misinformation campaigns and attempts to manipulate web searches on global platforms.

The report also discusses Chinese media abroad and its role in spreading pro-CCP narratives while demonizing those who criticize the regime.

Beijing is ramping up its push to influence how media outlets outside of mainland China cover the country, the think tank says.

Its report points out that the 10th World Chinese Media Forum hosted in China by the government and the United Front Work Department, the CCP’s organization responsible for attempting to influence politics in foreign countries, had representatives from 51 Canadian media outlets attend. It does not list the outlets.

The report also touches on the story of two Chinese-language journalists who were let go from their publications in Canada, they say, for criticizing Beijing.

Last month, human rights organization Safeguard Defenders filed a complaint with Canada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission alleging China’s state-run media outlet, China Global Television, was broadcasting forced confessions of political prisoners on its service available in Canada. The organization is also asking Canada to use its Magnitsky Law to impose sanctions on the CGTN staffers responsible.

More to come …

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Joe Biden keeps a tight lid on mainstream media – Boston Herald

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Why is Joe Biden always putting a “lid” on his campaign? If you’re not familiar with the press lingo, a “lid” is a note to your press pool that you plan no further public events on your schedule. Biden tends to put a “lid” on it at 9 or 10 in the morning, saying his press corps has nothing to cover.

On Sept. 23, they called a “lid” at 9:30 a.m. — the ninth time they’ve done it this month. Is it due to never-ending debate prep? Biden denied that, saying he’s just getting ready to prepare.

Since March, Biden has barely done any campaigning, trying to make a virtue out of the fact that he’s not going anywhere or saying much of anything during the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s staff would claim that while Trump endangers his voters by having rallies, their candidate is leading by example.

He’s not leading by example. He’s lidding by example.

Guess what? The liberal media, those energetic watchdogs who bombastically claim to keep democracy from “dying in darkness,” don’t care one whit. I popped into the Nexis search engine to find out how many times Brian Stelter’s Army at CNN has raged against Biden’s “lid.” In the last month, there are two scripts that contain the words “Biden” and “lid.” Neither was about a Biden story.

One was CNN’s White House shrieker Jim Acosta still obsessing over the Lafayette Square protesters cleared out on June 1 so President Trump could strike a pose in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Apparently, someone in the military wanted to use a heat ray on protesters, but it was never used. How this nonstarter is “news” is anyone’s guess.

Acosta used the L-word as he told Don Lemon: “I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard from this whistleblower. He is, I mean, he is doing something patriotic here, Don. He is blowing the lid off of our government using what are some pretty ridiculous tactics, harsh and un-American tactics on our fellow citizens.”

Actually, no — these tactics were not used.

ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS? Is there something wrong with the search engine? These networks all send cage fighters into the Trump and McEnany briefings, but they’re docile little lambs on the “lid.”

The Washington Post? No stories with “Biden” and “lid,” and media specialists like Erik Wemple and Paul Farhi haven’t touched it. USA Today had nothing.

What about NPR? Nope, media reporter David Folkenflik was napping like a Biden, although one weekend anchor promised “breaking news on the canning lid shortage.”

The New York Times? “Biden” and “lid” drew no stories. At least Mark Leibovich of the Times reported on Sept. 22 describing Biden’s “tightly restricted bubble,” that his “pandemic-era campaign appearances can resemble the pandemic-era NFL — quiet, eerie and almost entirely fan-free.” He noted pro-Trump protesters hold signs saying “Hidin’ Biden.” But the story was loaded with Biden fans supporting his, er, restraint.

It’s not like Biden’s press corps is known for asking him the tough questions. On Sept. 23, he traveled to North Carolina, and reporters asked him softballs like, “What gives you the sense that you can win?”

Let’s bet that if Biden loses, all this extremely cooperative behavior will be upended. The media will complain that Biden was a bad candidate who didn’t campaign and venture outside the bubble enough. As usual, they’ll assign exactly zero blame to their own pusillanimous silence.


Tim Graham is a syndicated columnist.

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Minister sees strengths in BBC critics eyed for top UK media jobs – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s culture minister said on Sunday that two prominent critics of the BBC who have reportedly been offered important roles in the British media had “strengths”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked Charles Moore, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, to become the chairman of the BBC and wants Paul Dacre, a former editor of the Daily Mail, to be chairman of media regulator Ofcom, according to The Sunday Times.

Culture minister Oliver Dowden said the process for the appointment of both roles would be launched soon and that the government was seeking “strong, credible” people and a chair of the BBC who could hold it to account.

“There are strengths to both Charles Moore and to Paul Dacre,” he told Sky News.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Reporting by Andrew Heavens)

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Sania Mirza on social media toxicity: Everybody has an opinion about everything and feels the urge to… – Hindustan Times

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Like many others in the public domain, Sania Mirza too feels social media toxicity has reached an unusual high. The tennis ace feels that people are expressing their anger and frustration in the space. And no matter how much ones tries to avoid this negative environment, it does get on people, something Mirza herself have experienced.

“We’re living in difficult times and I honestly think that a lot of people are frustrated. And somehow that is coming out on social media and you can see how much it has erupted. There’s a lot more hate in the last few months on social media than it was before. Everybody has an opinion about everything and they somehow think that they need to put it out on social media every single time, which should not be the case in my opinion,” she says.

With no intention of passing any judgment, Mirza adds that every individual has their own way of dealing with things. Though it’s important to have a dignified stand when it comes to expression, according to her, most of these people do not realise that expressing opinions, discussions are fine but passing judgment and all the threats and abuses aren’t.

 

“The last few months, things haven’t been easy and it has affected us real hard. People are going through a lot and may be, unknowingly, have become hateful towards others. And everyone is forming an opinion about almost everything, right or wrong,” she adds.

Highlighting the “great ups” of social media, Mirza agrees that there are lot of cons too that have come out in the fore more now, turning the otherwise valuable space “pretty toxic”. And she has her way of dealing with it.

“I do take a break from social media every now and then and don’t really indulge in it every single day. To be honest, I never read the ‘mentions’ because I think that mental sanity is important than anything else. I laugh at it most of the time but there are days when it does get to you, so I kind of cut off from it. You’ve to take social media with a pinch of salt. Good or bad, you can’t take it too seriously,” she explains.

 

Spending time with family is what keeps Mirza’s heart and mind off this negativity. The 33-year-old, had earlier spoken about how difficult it is for her and son Izhaan to stay away from husband and cricketer Shoaib Malik for over six months due to the pandemic. Finally, along with her son, sister Anam Mirza and brother-in-law Mohammad Asaduddin, she flew down to Dubai recently.

“It was obviously very tough and it wasn’t really something that was in our control. We had to deal with the circumstances… It was great to see Shoaib after so long, not just for myself but also for Izhaan. I think Izhaan is very excited to spend time with his dad. I thought he would take a little time but actually he went to him straight away. Surprisingly, he remembered him and all the little things he used to do with him. I guess that’s what a father and a son relationship is all about,” she says adding, she will be coming back to India soon.

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