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China Is Said to Censor Local Media Coverage of Alibaba Probe – Bloomberg

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Alibaba and Ant Group Offices In Shanghai As China Launches Probe into Alibaba Over Monopoly Allegations

China has ordered its domestic media to restrict their reporting on an antitrust probe into Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as speculation over the future of one of the country’s largest corporations intensified, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

A directive issued by the government’s propaganda arm toward the end of last year ordered news outlets to strictly echo the official line on the investigation into the tech giant and prohibited them from engaging in original reporting and extended analysis or drawing their own conclusions without authorization, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the order hasn’t been made public. The restrictions also apply to Jack Ma, the company’s co-founder, the people said.

Authorities in Beijing regularly issue propaganda directives and guidelines to domestic media organizations to further the government’s policy objectives. The Financial Times earlier reported the directive on Alibaba, saying that it signaled how the issue has become a matter of national political sensitivity.

Billionaire Ma’s empire has become the most prominent target of China’s campaign against the technology industry, which as so far torpedoed affiliate Ant Group Co.’s $35 billion initial public offering and led to an antitrust investigation at his e-commerce giant. Ma, who hasn’t been seen in public for months, has been advised by the government to stay in the country, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. Several online blogs that speculated about his whereabouts have been censored, according to the FT.

“It’s because the government does not want to see two things: one is people questioning the overreaching intervention, the other is people lashing out at the private sector and discouraging China’s economic engine,” said Fang Kecheng, a communications professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

At one media company, the restrictions were applied to Chinese language outlets, but not its English language version, one person said.

In addition to restricting access to global sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, authorities in Beijing have long exerted tight control over domestic news coverage of topics deemed to be politically sensitive. During the Covid-19 outbreak last year, social media platforms were scrubbed of posts critical of the government, while information about the Hong Kong protests in 2019 were wiped from the internet even as state media blamed U.S. interference.

Read more: China Ramps Up Virus Propaganda, And Stirs Even More Outrage

An Alibaba-backed media platform that published an editorial warning against excessive punishment of China’s tech giants was made to halt its operations for a month, the FT reported.

Alibaba didn’t immediately reply to queries for comment.

— With assistance by Colum Murphy

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    Turkey slaps ad ban on Twitter under new social media law – The Guardian

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    By Can Sezer and Daren Butler

    ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Ankara has imposed advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest after they failed to appoint local representatives in Turkey under a new social media law, according to decisions published on Tuesday.

    Under the law, which critics say stifles dissent, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a series of penalties, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK).

    The law allows authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as they did in the past. It has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.

    The latest decisions in the country’s Official Gazette said the advertising bans went into effect from Tuesday. Twitter, its live-streaming app Periscope, and image sharing app Pinterest were not immediately available to comment.

    Deputy Transport Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said Twitter and Pinterest’s bandwidth would be cut by 50% in April and by 90% in May. Twitter said last month it would shut down Periscope by March due to declining usage.

    “We are determined to do whatever is necessary to protect the data, privacy and rights of our nation,” Sayan said on Twitter. “We will never allow digital fascism and disregard of rules to prevail in Turkey,” he said, echoing tough comments by President Tayyip Erdogan.

    On Monday, Facebook Inc joined other companies in saying it would appoint a local representative, but added it would withdraw the person if it faced pressure regarding what is allowed on its platform.

    YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, said a month ago it would abide the new law, which the government says enhances local oversight of foreign companies.

    In previous months Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had faced fines in Turkey for not complying. Companies that do not abide the law will ultimately have their bandwidth slashed, essentially blocking access.

    Erdogan said last week that those who control data can establish “digital dictatorships by disregarding democracy, the law, rights and freedoms”. He vowed to defend what he described as the country’s “cyber homeland”.

    (Reporting by Can Sezer; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Michael Perry and Jonathan Spicer)

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    Reminder: Deadline for RNAO's Media Awards is Feb. 26 – Canada NewsWire

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    TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2021 /CNW/ – COVID-19 dominated the news headlines in 2020 and journalists worked exceptionally hard to bring us the news on the thousands of people who have died from the virus, the nurses who take care of the sick and the key policy issues that need our attention. To honour the media, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is inviting journalists to submit their outstanding coverage on COVID-19 and other nursing and health-care reporting for its Media Awards competition.

    Stories published or broadcast in Ontario in 2020 will be judged by a committee of journalists and nurses selected by RNAO, the professional association that shapes health and nursing policy.

    Previous winners include journalists from major media outlets such as CBC’s The National, Global News, Ottawa Citizen, as well as smaller media outlets such as The Manitoulin Expositor and Arnprior Chronicle-Guide. Their work shed light on issues such as the opioid crisis, elder assault, alcohol consumption, funding for life-savings drugs, and a revolutionary dementia screening tool developed for Indigenous populations.

    Nominations for the Media Awards must be received via the online submission form no later than Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.

    Categories for the competition include:

    Community newspaper

    • Best news coverage
    • Best in-depth feature or series

    Daily newspaper

    • Best news coverage
    • Best in-depth feature or series

    Radio

    • Best news coverage
    • Best in-depth feature or series

    Television

    • Best news coverage
    • Best in-depth feature or series

    Online

    • Best story
    • Best in-depth feature or series

    Winners will be announced online in the spring, and presented with their awards during RNAO’s Annual General Meeting in June 2021. Please note that journalists may only submit one entry per person. For the complete list of criteria and to fill out an entry form, visit RNAO.ca/MediaAwards. Eligible stories must have been published or broadcast during the 2020 calendar year.

    The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

    SOURCE Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

    For further information: about the awards, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), Phone: 416-408-5605 / 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209, Cell: 647-406-5605, [email protected]; Victoria Alarcon, Communications Specialist/Coordinator, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), 1-800-268-7199 ext. 211, 416-408-5610, [email protected]

    Related Links

    https://rnao.ca/

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    Blocked from social media, extremists discuss turning to radios to plan attacks, FCC warns – CTV News

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    The U.S. government is warning that groups could rely on radio equipment as an alternative to social media to plan future criminal activities.

    In a stark warning Sunday, the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau said people coordinating or conducting criminal activity over radio waves are breaking the law.

    “The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in its warning Sunday. “Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.”

    The FCC licenses certain signals for people to broadcast over radio waves. Those messages are generally protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. But the FCC reminded radio licensees and operators that it is prohibited to transmit “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act.” People are also not allowed to encode their messages to obscure their meaning from law enforcement.

    The laws governing airwaves apply to amateurs broadcasting with personal ham radios, which can reach long distances. But they also apply to people using Citizens Band (CB) radios commonly used for communication between truckers — or even walkie-talkies.

    In the wake of the January 6 Capitol riots, Facebook, Twitter and other mainstream social networks have become more vigilant about policing people who use their platforms to plan or incite attacks. They have booted off several high-profile radicals and thousands of groups and users who the platforms say engage in harmful conspiracy theories and other violence or hate speech.

    Similarly, Amazon, Apple and Google effectively took Parler off the internet. Parler, the alternative social network popular with conservatives, had been surging in popularity in recent months. But the platform failed to rein in hate-filled, violent speech, Big Tech companies allege. Amazon, Apple and Google said that unmoderated speech could lead to another violent attack.

    In response, Parler sued Amazon last week, alleging an antitrust violation, breach of contract and interference with the company’s business relationships with users. The complaint calls Amazon Web Services’ decision a “death blow” to Parler.

    “Without AWS, Parler is finished as it has no way to get online,” the complaint said. “And a delay of granting this TRO by even one day could also sound Parler’s death knell as President Trump and others move on to other platforms.”

    Amazon said that Parler’s lawsuit has “no merit.”

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