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Lay-offs at Hong Kong TV station stoke concerns over media freedom – Reuters Canada

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong television station said on Tuesday about 100 staff were “affected” by a shake-up as it seeks to control costs and remain competitive in a challenging economic environment, a move that has re-ignited worries over media freedom in the city.

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Local media said 40 workers had been laid off from i-Cable, including the entire team from the station’s award-winning investigative section News Lancet.

“In the face of daunting challenges, the group has devoted to adopting various measures to explore new business opportunities for competitiveness enhancement and sustainable development,” the station said in a statement, adding that about 100 positions of the group’s 1,300 staff would be affected.

“Under this circumstance, after a comprehensive review, it was unavoidable for the group to carry out an organizational restructure of various departments.”

The pay TV station did not say how many had been sacked.

Wong Lai-ping, deputy chief of the station’s China News team, which covers human rights on the mainland and reported from Wuhan province on the coronavirus outbreak, told reporters she was among those laid off. Ten other members of the team had resigned in protest against the lay-offs, she added.

i-Cable journalists told Reuters the lay-offs had prompted the heads of the station’s China News, Hong Kong General News, Finance News and Editing desk to resign.

Yau Ting-leung, 22, a journalist from the News Lancet segment who said he was fired after about six months with the company, said he was sceptical of the reason behind the decision.

“It’s definitely media censorship. It’s a pity they sacked the entire team. There aren’t many TV investigative news programmes in Hong Kong,” Yau said.

i-Cable told Reuters it had no comment when asked about reports of censorship.

The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association said it was watching the situation closely as media have already come under pressure in the wake of a new national security law introduced by Beijing on its freest city on June 30.

“This time the whole ‘News Lancet’ team of Cable News was laid off and the team has often reported against/on the police or the regime in the past year,” HKJA said in a statement.

i-Cable was founded in 1993 and is now owned by David Chiu, chairman and CEO of Far East Consortium.

Reporting By Sharon Tam, Jessie Pang; Yanni Chow; Clare Jim, Donny Kwok, Joyce Zhou; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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KINSELLA: International media unimpressed by Canada's vaccine rollout and they're right – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

Other countries? Well, in Israel – a nation perpetually under attack, with a dysfunctional system of government, and no coronavirus vaccine-manufacturing capacity of its own, like Canada – more Israelis get vaccinated in a single day than Canada vaccinated in all of December.

In the United States – a divided nation run by an impeached lunatic, with an actual insurrection still underway – nearly ten million Americans have been vaccinated with one or more doses. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to “move Heaven and Earth,” meanwhile, to get 100 million of his fellow citizens vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration.

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Justin Trudeau’s Canada? Not so good.

Now, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc is a whip-smart guy, educated at Trinity College and Harvard. He was sent out, a few days ago, to polish the turd that is Justin Trudeau’s record on vaccines.

Canada is “on track” with its coronavirus vaccine rollout, Leblanc said to various media, with a straight face. And, in response to criticisms arising from the fact that provinces have run out of doses – because they actually have – well, Leblanc said this: it’s “a bit simplistic.”

And that much is true, although not in the way that Leblanc intended. It is simple: you either have vaccines, or you don’t.

Many provinces didn’t, or not nearly enough. The University Health Network – which has thousands of beds, and patients from across Canada – effectively ran out of vaccines a few days ago. They were forced to reschedule vaccination appointments.

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KINSELLA: International media unimpressed by Canada's vaccine rollout and they're right – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

Other countries? Well, in Israel – a nation perpetually under attack, with a dysfunctional system of government, and no coronavirus vaccine-manufacturing capacity of its own, like Canada – more Israelis get vaccinated in a single day than Canada vaccinated in all of December.

In the United States – a divided nation run by an impeached lunatic, with an actual insurrection still underway – nearly ten million Americans have been vaccinated with one or more doses. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to “move Heaven and Earth,” meanwhile, to get 100 million of his fellow citizens vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

[embedded content]

Justin Trudeau’s Canada? Not so good.

Now, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc is a whip-smart guy, educated at Trinity College and Harvard. He was sent out, a few days ago, to polish the turd that is Justin Trudeau’s record on vaccines.

Canada is “on track” with its coronavirus vaccine rollout, Leblanc said to various media, with a straight face. And, in response to criticisms arising from the fact that provinces have run out of doses – because they actually have – well, Leblanc said this: it’s “a bit simplistic.”

And that much is true, although not in the way that Leblanc intended. It is simple: you either have vaccines, or you don’t.

Many provinces didn’t, or not nearly enough. The University Health Network – which has thousands of beds, and patients from across Canada – effectively ran out of vaccines a few days ago. They were forced to reschedule vaccination appointments.

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Media coverage of COVID is failing Albertans, and it's not the media’s fault. – Alberta Daily Herald Tribune

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This has to stop.

Either Dr. Hinshaw or her two expert, and well-compensated, deputies need to make themselves available on a regular basis to answer technical questions — from reporters whose microphones don’t get muted. They’ll need to explain what the statistics they release really mean and take questions about the particulars of outbreaks and the evolving science of the pandemic.

Yes, some of the questions and answers will be uncomfortable, and uncertainty will be highlighted. But Albertans will be better served by having these questions answered with uncertainty than they are when the questions aren’t even asked.

Of course, the semi-regular official briefings with top decision-makers should continue when there are major policy announcements. But those would also benefit from being less stilted. Also, Alberta is a wealthy province; we can afford a socially distanced second podium on the stage so that we don’t have to waste precious question time on the theatre of hand sanitizing.

COVID is contagious and it has required us to change the nature of news gathering, but the news-gathering function is more important now than ever.

Albertans are being asked to give up so much. Our compliance should happen in exchange for our government’s willingness to answer all our questions.

Vitor Marciano was formerly press secretary to two leaders of the Opposition.

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