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Chinese consulate in Vancouver criticizes media reports on volunteer recruitment, training – The Globe and Mail

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Chinese consulate in Vancouver, B.C., posted its response to the news reports on its website on Sunday.

David Ryder/Reuters

The Chinese consulate in Vancouver has harshly criticized media outlets that published stories about the recruitment and training of volunteers in Canada to ensure the “safety” of fellow Chinese citizens, saying the reporting was malicious and slanderous.

Last week, some Canadian news organizations, including The Globe and Mail, reported that the Chinese consulate in Vancouver was training volunteers to “protect the lives and property of the people and safeguarding the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens overseas,” according to a recent article posted to the consulate’s website.

The Dec. 11 article prompted concern among pro-Hong Kong activists and China experts who questioned the work Beijing wants the volunteers to do.

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The consulate posted its response to the news reports on its website on Sunday.

The consulate said that “a few irresponsible media outlets” unfairly characterized the volunteer recruitment program. It added that any suggestion that the effort was meant to spread Chinese ideology and to interfere with local affairs was “pure fabrication and malicious slander.”

Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, said the statement from the consulate is “defensive” and doesn’t address her concerns about the program, including whether these volunteers were asked to perform “other tasks” on Canadian soil.

They might be asked “to closely monitor Chinese community members in Canada,” she said.

The consulate states on its website that with the increasing number of Chinese nationals who are touring, studying and working in Canada, the number of consular cases, including accidents and sudden illness, has been increasing significantly.

It notes that helping one another is the “Chinese nation’s fine tradition.”

“It’s legal and reasonable to recruit local ex-pats to be volunteers who assist the consulate, in accordance with laws and regulations, to offer timely and effective help for Chinese citizens overseas,” the consulate says.

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It adds that it hopes the media can be “objective and fair” and do more things that help promote friendship, mutual trust and understanding between people from China and Canada.

Mabel Tung, chair of the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement, said she doesn’t think the Canadian media had been overreacting to the issue.

“The problem here is they are recruiting Canadians to take care of their own citizens. I think there is something wrong with it,” Ms. Tung said.

A number of China experts said it is not uncommon for countries to ask their ex-pats for help, but some questioned what specific consular functions these volunteers are providing.

The program has been undertaken by consulates in Calgary and Toronto, as well as in missions around the world. The Chinese consulate in Osaka says in a recent post that it hopes volunteers in the Japanese city can play a role as the consulate’s “eyes, ears, mouths and hands.”

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No new laws required to hold social media accountable for illegal content – Canada NewsWire

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New report to be discussed by expert panel today

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2020 /CNW/ – In the eyes of Canadian law, social media companies like Facebook and YouTube are arguably publishers, opening the platforms to legal liability for user-generated content, according to Platform for Harm, a new research report released this morning by the watchdog group FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting.

The report builds on a legal analysis provided by libel defence lawyer and free speech advocate Mark Donald. Longstanding common law states that those who publish illegal content are liable for it in addition to those who create it. According to Donald, this liability is triggered when publishers know that content is harmful but publish it anyway, or if they fail to remove it after being notified of it.

“Our elected officials don’t need to create new laws to deal with this problem. They don’t need to define harmful content, police social media, or constrain free expression in any new way. All government needs to do is apply existing laws. But if a judge decides that content circulated on social media breaks the law, the platform which publishes and recommends that illegal content must be held liable for it,” says FRIENDS’ Executive Director Daniel Bernhard.

Social media platforms have long argued that they are simple bulletin boards that display user-generated content without editorial control, and that it is not possible to discover illegal content from among the 100 billion daily posts.

Yet Facebook and other social media platforms claim to advertisers that they do indeed have the technology to recognize content users post before it is published and pushed out to others.

In fact, the report finds that platforms like Facebook routinely exercise editorial control by promoting content users have never asked to see, including extreme content that would land any other publisher in court: for example the promotion of illegal acts such as the Christchurch, NZ massacre. They also conceal content from users without consulting them, another form of editorial control.

“Facebook and other social media platforms have complaints processes where they are alerted to potentially illegal or otherwise objectionable content. Yet it is their own community standards, not the law, which dictates whether they will remove a post.  Even then Facebook employees say that the company does not apply its own standards when prominent right-wing groups are involved,” says Dr. George Carothers, FRIENDS’ Director of Research.

Platform for Harm is the subject of a panel discussion today from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET co-sponsored by FRIENDS and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Moderated by Rita Trichur, Senior Business Writer and Columnist at The Globe and Mail, the panel will feature leading platform governance experts, lawyers and a leading political figure who will share their unique opinions and firsthand experiences and discuss ways to balance free speech and the rule of law in relation to harmful content online.  Panelists are Daniel Bernhard, Executive Director, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Catherine McKenna, MP for Ottawa Centre, Taylor Owen, Senior Fellow, CIGI, Heidi Tworek, Professor of History and Public Policy, UBC.

Join the discussion at 12PM ET today at https://www.cigionline.org/events/platforms-harm.

SOURCE Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

For further information: For information or to book an interview: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592

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J-Talks Live kicks off season with Voices for Change: Media's Moment to Shine – Canada NewsWire

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  • Nana aba Duncan, host of CBC Radio One’s Podcast Playlist and Ontario’s weekend morning show Fresh Air;
  • Karen K. Ho, a global finance and economics reporter for New York-based Quartz, a digital business news publication; and
  • Angela Sterritt, a journalist with CBC Vancouver and member of the Gitxsan Nation.

 “There are so many layers to the conversation with these three standout journalists—from their views on what must change in newsroom culture and how, to ensure it is lasting, to a discussion on the prism through which news is defined and assigned, and followed through,” says Anna Maria Tremonti, host of the J-Talks Live webcast series and the CBC podcast More. “Our panelists are bringing their professional and personal experience to the table as they discuss how this moment in time can and must be the catalyst for permanent change.”

Nana aba Duncan is currently studying the experiences of racialized and women leaders in Canadian media as a William Southam Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College. Karen K. Ho, a former Delacorte Fellow at the Columbia Journalism Review, has contributed to publications including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and Time. Angela Sterritt has won numerous awards for her CBC column, Reconcile This, and is also currently a visiting professor at UBC’s School of Journalism.

This free virtual event is part of the CJF’s J-Talks program, which explores pressing journalistic issues. 

The CJF thanks the generosity of J-Talks series sponsor BMO Financial Group and in-kind supporter Cision.

DATE: Thursday, September 24, 2020, 1 p.m. EDT
Register now

#JTalksLive

About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Founded in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers’ series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Foundation

For further information: Natalie Turvey, President and Executive Director, The Canadian Journalism Foundation, [email protected]

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http://www.cjf-fjc.ca

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Media Beat: September 21, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

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It’s time to reboot Canada’s failed digital agenda

The government’s decision to prorogue Parliament and launch a new legislative agenda later this month offers more than just an opportunity to recalibrate economic priorities in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Less than 12 months after the 2019 national election, Canada’s digital policy agenda has gone off the rails and is badly in need of a reboot.

The Liberals identified consumer telecom pricing, privacy protection and a modernized internet legal framework as priorities, but have struggled to develop an effective approach. – Michael Geist, The Globe and Mail

Michael Hollett announces ‘Next’ magazine venture

Details for now remain sketchy but Now magazine’s cofounder announced Friday on Facebook that he is launching a new “hyper-local arts” magazine on Nov. 26. The gloss, four-colour monthly will have separate city editions in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Private capital is backing him in the venture. More to come.

Spotify stock falls after Amazon adds podcasts to its music streaming service

Spotify shares fell 1.2% on Wednesday after Amazon announced that it’s adding podcasts to its music streaming service. 

Users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan will be able to stream podcasts for free across all tiers of Amazon Music, the company said. Amazon Music offers users a range of paid and free, ad-supported options to access the service. Amazon Prime customers also get access to more than 2 million songs ad-free as part of their $119-per-year membership. – Annie Palmer, CNBC

TikTok deal with Oracle, Walmart gets Trump’s “blessing”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview on Fox Business Network that the ban would initially impact WeChat and TikTok will be allowed to function until 11/12. “The only real change as of Sunday night will be users won’t have access to improved updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Ross said. – Hits Daily Double

Take a look inside Trump’s close relationship with Oracle cofounder, Larry Ellison

In February, the Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court that Microsoft’s decade-long legal case against Oracle be dismissed. This recommendation came on the same day as Trump’s fundraiser at Ellison’s Coachella Valley home. – Debanjali Bose, Business Insider

Twitter tells journalists, lawmakers to improve passwords before the election

“Twitter said it will send a push notification to every member of Congress, officials running for office, U.S. governors, secretaries of state and some U.S. news outlets and political journalists. The alert will ask these people to turn on two-factor authentication and review their password.” – Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg

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