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Narendra Modi critics in Canada achieve breakthrough as national media cover Citizenship Amendment Act protests – Straight.com

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Regular readers of Straight.com are well aware of the creeping fascism in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This is largely thanks to contributor Gurpreet Singh, who’s chronicled ongoing outrages in the country of his birth, including a clampdown on civil liberties in Kashmir and the assassination of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

He’s frequently covered majoritarian violence directed against Muslims and Christians—decried as “beef eaters” by Hindu fanatics—as well as the appalling treatment of Dalits, otherwise known as “untouchables”.

In addition, Singh has written about new books by Arundhati Roy and M.G. Vassanji, who have also raised an alarm about rising discrimination against minorities in the Modi era.

Hindu terrorists have not only escaped punishment, one accused anti-Muslim bomber, Pragya Singh Thakur, was nominated and elected to high political office with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Journalist Rana Ayyub has linked the BJP’s president, Amit Shah, to the mass murder of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. He’s the home minister in the Modi government.

But until this weekend, all of these outrages in the world’s so-called largest democracy have been underreported or simply ignored by the Canadian media.

Canadian politicians, with extremely rare exceptions, have also kept their mouths shut about what’s taking place in India.

That cloak of silence was lifted, however, when supporters of secularism in India held rallies this weekend across Canada to protest the Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act.

For the first time since Modi visited Canada in 2015, protests against his government in Canadian cities were covered on national newscasts.

The growing outrage in Canada has finally penetrated the national consciousness. The heartbreak felt many South Asian immigrants to Canada over what’s occurring in the subcontinent is finally being acknowledged.

That marks a breakthrough.

However, Canadian politicians avoided these noisy demonstrations and the vast, vast majority of elected officials in this country remain insensitive to the community’s fears about what Modi might do in the future. And these same Canadian politicians have proven to be utterly useless to the brave Indians who challenge the prevailing Hindutva ideology of Hindu supremacy being advanced by Modi and his cohorts in the BJP.

Already, 23 people have died in India in uprisings against the citizenship legislation. It allows people fleeing persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to obtain Indian citizenship, as long as they’re not Muslims.

Indians Abroad for a Pluralist India held their demonstration in Holland Park in Surrey, B.C.
Jaffar Bhamji

Annie Ohana honoured at protest

Indians Abroad for Pluralist India’s demonstration in Surrey’s Holland Park began with a moment of silence. It was for those who’ve lost their lives in the recent Indian demonstrations.

Speakers included Muslim community leaders Itrath Syed, Furqan Gehlen, and Dawood Ismail; Hindu interfaith chaplain Arun Chatterjee; Sikh activists Gian Singh Gill and Kulwinder Singh; Niovi Patsicakis of the Global Peace Alliance; leftists Prabhjot Kaur Hundal, Rawait Singh, and Joseph Theriault; and educator and former NDP candidate Annie Ohana.

Ohana, who ran in Fleetwood–Port Kells in the last federal election, was presented with a medal of courage by Indians Abroad for Pluralist India for her willingness to speak up about what’s happening in India and her long record of antiracism.

She and another NDP candidate in the last federal election, Svend Robinson, are among the very few who’ve raised Canadians’ awareness about what’s occurring in India. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also spoken out on the odd occasion.

In contrast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, and members of B.C. premier John Horgan’s cabinet have not leveraged their high political positions to advance the cause of human rights in India since Modi became prime minister.

This is despite growing outrage among the South Asian diaspora, which is now seeping into the Canadian mainstream.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah embrace a radical form of Hindu nationalism known as Hindutva.

Another genocide around the corner?

In the words of Amnesty International, the Indian state is “criminalizing protest”.

Ominously, the Modi government plans to extend a National Register of Citizens from the northeastern state of Assam to all of India by 2021. If that happens, everyone will carry national identity cards.

The cabinet minister who will oversee this is none other than Amit Shah, the same minister who shut down the Internet in Kashmir, which is the only Muslim-majority region in the country. Politicians have been jailed and an entire region was turned into an open-air prison.

This has prompted fears that the BJP, which argues that India is a Hindu nation, may embark on a genocide against Muslims along the lines of what occurred in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi was the state’s chief minister.

It’s worth reviewing the words of Arundhati Roy in an essay about the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat.

“The genocide began as collective punishment for an unsolved crime—the burning of a railway coash in which fifty-three Hindu pilgrims burned to death,” she writes in My Seditious Heart. “In a carefully planned orgy of supposed retaliation, two thousand Muslims were slaughtered in broad daylight by squads of armed killers, organized by fascist militias, and backed by the Gujarat government and the administration of the day.

“Muslim women were gang-raped and burned alive,” Roy continues. “Muslim shops, Muslim businesses, and Muslim shrines and mosques were systematically destroyed. Two thousand were killed and more than one hundred thousand people were driven from their homes.” 

Later in that same essay, she points out that the Congress politician who campaigned against Modi was “publicly butchered”. After Ehsan Jafri was cut to pieces, his body was set on fire so he could be burned alive.

“While the mob that lynched Jafri, murdered several people, and gang-raped twelve women—before burning them alive—was gathering, the Ahmedabad commissioner of police, P.C. Pandey, was kind enough to visit the neighbourhood,” Roy writes. “After Modi was reelected, Pandey was promoted and made Gujarat’s director general of police. The entire killing apparatus remains in place.”

Yes, the killing apparatus remains in place.

And the Canadian government, which professes such a keen interest in human rights, can’t be bothered to utter a peep of concern.

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Canadians use social media to shine light on live music industry left in dark by COVID-19 – Global News

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Canadians who have a passion for the performing arts are taking to social media on Tuesday night to raise awareness about the live events industry that they say has been left on life support by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We risk not having events,” said Jennifer Hildebrandt, who helped to organize a social media campaign using the hashtags #lightuplive and #lightuplivecanada in Edmonton. “We risk thousands of people being out of work [and] we risk coming out of this pandemic and not having events, not having concerts for people to go back to.

“I think that’s the one thing that a lot of people aren’t grasping right now, is that that’s a very real possibility. Venues are shutting down all across the country. It’s been going on for six months and it’s only going to get worse.”

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READ MORE: ‘The show cannot go on’: Canada’s arts scene takes hit from COVID-19 

Inspired by similar movements in Germany and the United Kingdom, the Light Up Live event on Tuesday asks venues, performers and events workers to take photos of themselves or venues with red lighting and then post them on social media accompanied by the movement’s hashtags.

“I think it will be a fantastic show,” said Christian Zeretzke, an Edmonton freelancer who specializes in rigging and carpentry for theatres. “It’s to raise awareness to the plight of events workers at the moment.

“Bring attention to this. That way we can ask the government to continue giving meaningful support… We’re writing and ready to go back to work because this is what we love to do.”

READ MORE: The show must go on for Edmonton’s arts community amid COVID-19 pandemic

Zeretzke, who came up with the #lightuplivecanada hashtag, said since the pandemic hit in March, he has only had one gig in the arts and has been forced to take other jobs to support himself.

He said from performers, lighting technicians, sound technicians, promoters, florists, security, cleaners and caterers to hospitality groups, an incredible number of people were impacted when live shows came to a screeching halt.

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“The list is mind-boggling how many people it takes to put on an event,” Zeretzke said.

Organizers of the social media movement say the live events sector employs about one-million Canadians, directly and indirectly.

In Alberta, the arts — including live events — contribute to the province’s economic growth as well as quality of life, according to the provincial government.

“This is an additional $1.3 billion in GDP generated, while sustaining nearly 20,000 jobs here in Alberta,” Michael Forian, press secretary for the minister of of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, told Global News in a statement. “Live experience events also generate economic activity through out-of-town tourism, at an average of $10 million in economic impact for larger events.

“Every $1 million in output from live performance businesses in Alberta generates 17 direct and indirect jobs. When arts and culture thrive, Alberta is well positioned to be seen as a good place to live, invest and do business.”

Over 600 venues across Canada, ranging from arenas to theatres and concert halls, are taking part in Tuesday’s social media event.

READ MORE: Ontario theatre to glow red for national event raising awareness for pandemic-hit live event industry

Zeretzke said even though some venues have been able to reopen in some areas, the limited capacity to accommodate social distancing — something he understands and agrees with — makes it very difficult to break even on a performance.

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“If you have a 100-seat capacity… and 15 of those are technicians and box office staff and actors or whatever, it’s really tough to make a profit off that,” he said.

“We’re really hoping to bring awareness and bring… [more] support from government and from the public for our industry and moving forward, you know, we need to maintain support for gig workers and live event workers,” Hildebrandt said.

“We need an economic recovery plan for our industry.”

READ MORE: Hit hard by COVID-19, Ontario music venues ‘in desperate need of help’ 

People are being asked to begin taking photos and posting them to social media once the sun sets in their region on Tuesday night.

For more information, click here.

–With files from Global News’ Kendra Slugoski

View some tweets with the hashtag #lightuplive below:

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 16:30 EST – InvestorIntel

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InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at [email protected]

Watchlist Companies:
– QYOU Media Inc. (QYOU.V) CAD 0.07 (8.33%)
– Lingo Media Corporation (LM.V) CAD 0.07 (7.14%)
– Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) USD 492.60 (5.15%)
– Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 2.93 (2.81%)
– Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 486.78 (2.34%)
– Wix.com Ltd. (WIX) USD 259.27 (1.87%)
– Stingray Group Inc. (RAY-A.TO) CAD 5.38 (0.56%)
– Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.23 (0.0%)
– GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.15 (0.0%)
– Media Central Corporation Inc. (FLYY.CN) CAD 0.01 (0.0%)
– Moovly Media Inc. (MVY.V) CAD 0.08 (0.0%)
– Network Media Group Inc. (NTE.V) CAD 0.14 (0.0%)
– Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.60 (0.0%)
– Quizam Media Corporation (QQ.CN) CAD 0.49 (0.0%)
– WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. (WOW.V) CAD 0.36 (0.0%)
– HubSpot, Inc. (HUBS) USD 282.18 (-0.88%)
– MediaValet Inc. (MVP.V) CAD 2.10 (-0.94%)
– Slack Technologies Inc. (WORK) USD 26.41 (-0.97%)
– Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TBRD.V) CAD 1.90 (-3.55%)
– ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.07 (-7.14%)

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Great Pacific Media, Force Four alumni join EQ Media's Vancouver office – Realscreen

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Greg Quail and Jesse Fawcett’s indie production outfit EQ Media Group, formerly Essential Media and Entertainment, is expanding its global footprint with the hiring of David Freeman and Robert Hardy to lead the company’s flagship Canadian offices.

Based in Vancouver, Freeman (pictured left) boards EQ Media as executive in charge of production while Hardy (right) has been appointed as an executive producer. The pair will report directly into president and executive producer Jesse Fawcett.

“We are tremendously excited to plant our Canadian flag in Vancouver with Robert and David at the helm,” said Fawcett in a statement. “We are committed to growing this office into a premiere Canadian content supplier and that’s reflected in our significant investments in unscripted, scripted, feature documentary and animated projects.”

EQ Media Group has development and production hubs in Los Angeles, Sydney, Dallas, Auckland and Vancouver. Its offices in Vancouver were established in March 2020 and boasts a full-time staff of five.

Freeman and Hardy will oversee any future seasons of History Canada’s forthcoming unscripted series Big Timber (10 x 60 minutes), which is produced in association with Corus Studios. The series joined EQ Media Group’s stable through Fawcett’s acquisition of the property from Kew Media Group, according to a press release.

An experienced broadcast veteran, Freeman joins EQ with responsibility for ensuring all productions come in on budget and schedule. Originally from the UK, he is credited with being proficient in the financial, logistical and creative aspects of production. His past work includes serving as a line producer with Great Pacific Media on CBC’s High Arctic Haulers and as a supervising producer on History’s Yukon Gold and Klondike Trappers, as well as HGTV’s Timber Kings. 

Hardy, meanwhile, will serve as creative lead on all development and production in his new role as executive producer, with showrunners reporting to him. He holds television production experience across documentary, factual, comedy and drama, with previous stints at Force Four Entertainment and recently, with his own prodco, Perfect Day Productions. His production credits include Rust Valley Restorers for Netflix and History, CBC’s Keeping Canada Alive, W Network’s Sophie & Shannon and Border Security: America’s Front Line for Netflix and National Geographic.

Essential Media Group (EMG) was acquired by Toronto-headquartered Kew Media Group in 2018. Following the collapse of the parent company, Quail and Fawcett bought back EMG’s assets, including its North American, Australian and New Zealand operations, in March of 2020. As reported by Australian trade IF, Quail and Fawcett rebranded the company as EQ Media Group in August.

With files from Barry Walsh and Playback Daily’s Lauren Malyk

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