The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated the ability of both social media and mainstream news coverage to amplify and exaggerate the influence of extremist groups that reject science-based policies, says Aengus Bridgman.
OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 17, 2020 /CNW/ – The following is a statement from Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation, ahead of planned meetings with federal officials next week to reiterate our critical funding asks.
“RCMP Members have experienced new and unforeseen challenges over the past decade, all of which have been further exacerbated by the risks and demands of COVID-19. Despite years of significant cutbacks, the demand for policing that goes beyond crime prevention and law enforcement is greater than ever.
In August, in our 2021 Federal pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance, we called on the government to:
- invest $190 million to increase training capacity at the RCMP Academy to fill vacancies and decrease the backlog due to impacts of COVID-19;
- invest $40 million to expedite the replacement of aging and unsafe 25-year-old RCMP service pistols through the RCMP Pistol Replacement Program; and
- invest $50 million to implement Body-Worn Cameras to improve safety for our Members and those they serve.
The National Police Federation believes the federal government must address these timely and pressing challenges, and more, to ensure ongoing community, public and Member safety. We look forward to discussing these important issues next week, during our first ever virtual meetings with them.”
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP front-line Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019, and its elected national Board of Directors confirmed in early 2020. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP members.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
For more information: https://npf-fpn.com/
SOURCE National Police Federation
For further information: Media contact: Fabrice de Dongo, Manager, Media Relations, National Police Federation, [email protected], T: 647-274-7118
Anti-mask fringe movement getting more media coverage than warranted: expert – Nipawin Journal
It only took 30 people dancing without masks last week in a Rosemère shopping centre for the anti-mask movement to make headlines across Quebec.
On Saturday, anti-maskers were in the news again when Quebec City police handed out 34 tickets to demonstrators protesting against anti-COVID-19 measures in front of the National Assembly.
And on Sunday, a small group of maskless protesters gathered outside a house in Westmount they believed was the home of Premier François Legault. Legault does not live in Westmount.
Now, a two-week-old anti-mask group is planning another flash mob in Laval on Dec. 6 or 12, and is asking people to shop without masks at a grocery store in Ste-Thérèse on Dec. 5, according to information posted on YouTube Friday. The group Sans Masque boasts 517 members in different regions of the province, according to another video.
But while news reports might give the impression the group is gaining momentum, it remains a fringe movement, said Aengus Bridgman, a PhD candidate at McGill University who studies online political participation.
“It’s really important to note that from 85 to 90 per cent of Canadians are wearing masks regularly,” Bridgman said.
The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated the ability of both social media and mainstream news coverage to amplify and exaggerate the influence of extremist groups that reject science-based policies, he said.
For example, the flash mob in Rosemère on Nov. 21 received widespread media exposure despite the small number of participants, he noted.
“I think it has received too much coverage,” he said.
Bridgman was among the authors of a McGill study released in July showing that Canadians who get their information from social media instead of traditional news sources are more likely to believe misconceptions about COVID-19.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit have enabled once-marginal movements to reach audiences numbering in the millions, he said.
The study surveyed 27,615 Canadians on where they got their news and on their attitudes toward COVID-19.
It also looked at how anti-intellectualism — the generalized distrust of experts and intellectuals — influences attitudes on the risk of contracting COVID-19 and prevention measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing .
Mainstream media are also contributing to the increased visibility of anti-mask groups, Bridgman said. One reason is that media constantly seek another side of every story as a means of advancing the news, he said.
For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, when health authorities around the world were counselling against the general public wearing masks, mainstream media outlets did reports suggesting masks could help prevent the spread of the virus. When governments switched course and called on citizens to don masks, the media raised questions about how effective mask-wearing was, Bridgman said.
There are no easy answers when it comes to combating misinformation on social media, he said. While Twitter flagged many tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump before and after the Nov. 3 election, rooting out false statements is not always feasible, he said.
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Law professor endured racist taunts in wake of social media clash with UCP staffers – Edmonton Journal
Article content continued
But Duane Bratt, political scientist at Mount Royal University, said the UCP government is using its own “hyper-partisan” press secretaries and issues managers to silence critics by focusing on party identity, labelling them as biased or affiliated with the NDP or prime minister.
“That allows the more unsavoury people to then go off with racist, homophobic, misogynist comments. Those are not coming from the premier’s office … but by coming out with partisan critiques, it opens the door and targets people that the more crazy ones will then go after you.”
Bratt doesn’t agree with comments Ogbogu made about the leak in Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s office, but criticizing his arguments is different than attacking him personally, he said.
In the 1980s in federal politics, the Liberals used some backbenchers as “attack dogs,” and Pierre Poilievre is used by Conservatives in a similar way. Now the UCP is putting its issues managers and press secretaries forward to fulfil a similar role, Bratt said.
“I think it is a deliberate strategy in distancing yourself in those sorts of attacks and using people like Matt Wolf as your pitbull, as your attack dog,” he said. “It’s a way of saying it’s not the leader, it’s these other people. This has always been a strategy, but instead of using … MLAs or backbenchers, you’re using political appointees.”
Bratt has been doing public commentary for decades, and he’s no stranger to people disagreeing with him. But he’s seeing more antagonism, in general, because of a divide in public opinion on pandemic and from COVID-19 deniers. He also sees more women and people of colour facing more pushback online.
Australia demands apology from China after fake image posted on social media – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Kirsty Needham
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday Canberra is seeking an apology from Beijing about a Tweet containing a false image of an Australian soldier holding the knife to the throat of an Afghan child.
Morrison said Australia was seeking the removal of the “truly repugnant” image posted on Monday by Zhao Lijian, a spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis… The Chinese government should be utterly ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes,” Morrison told media at a press briefing.
He said countries around the world were watching how Beijing responded to tensions in Australia’s relationship with China.
(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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