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Officials, media lose credibility with mercurial virus message – Boston Herald

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Credibility is a real problem when it comes to messaging from elected leaders, bureaucrats and media as we head into another ominous phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Repeatedly we are told to shelter in place and wear a mask. We are told to avoid congregating in large groups. Experts, pundits, journalists and politicians tell us that any deviance from the guidelines is not only selfish but also potentially deadly. Indeed, President Trump has been deemed culpable in the deaths of thousands for not modeling good coronavirus behavior.

One article in USA Today contended that Trump’s campaign appearances were coronavirus spreading events. “As President Donald Trump jetted across the country holding campaign rallies during the past two months, he didn’t just defy state orders and federal health guidelines. He left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks in his wake,” the piece read.

A week later, CNN came to the same conclusion. “A CNN investigation of 17 Trump campaign rallies finds that 14 of the host counties — 82% of them — had an increased rate of new COVID-19 cases one month after the rally,” reported the cable news network.

The narrative has been clear: Large gatherings, lack of social distancing and activities without masks are a serious health threat.

Until they’re not.

This summer elected leaders all over the country encouraged, praised and celebrated huge demonstrations in the wake of the George Floyd killing. Thousands marched arm in arm through the streets. Some wore masks, some didn’t.

However, opposite the spirit of the moment, should not health experts and elected leaders have done everything in their power to dissuade such activities? After all, those protesting might not be at direct risk of catching the virus but undoubtedly many of them went on to interact with others who were at high risk.

After one of the mass protests in Boston this summer, Gov. Charlie Baker praised the “tens of thousands” of demonstrators. “I want to thank everyone who marched and exercised their right to free speech safely last night,” he said.

Other, non race-related gatherings in the state were called out by Baker and his task force throughout the summer and into the fall. Fines were given. Stern warnings issued.

Last weekend, massive celebrations broke out throughout the country when news outlets called the presidential election in favor of Joe Biden. Thousands poured into the streets of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and on and on. They danced, sang and guzzled champagne like it was New Year’s Eve.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio — a stalwart enforcer of lockdown rules — not only failed to demand that New Yorkers avoid risky behavior but jumped right into the streets to join the festivities himself. “It’s liberation. It’s just joyous,” he said about the celebrations.

At that moment the United States was averaging more than 120,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. The coronavirus was spiking.

Wouldn’t it have been wise for Biden to ask his voters to refrain from unsafe activities?

Public demonstrations are an important part of our democracy and it is good to see elation from coast to coast.  However, there is either a deadly pandemic upon us or there is not.

We have lost too many Americans to the coronavirus and sadly we are on track to lose more. We need elected leaders, public health officials and the media to be consistent with their guidance. Their credibility has already suffered and when that erodes it is the public who is put at risk.

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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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Julie Courtemanche gets a bigger gig at V7 Media – Media In Canada

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Julie Courtemanche gets a bigger gig at V7 Media

The new position supports CEO Joseph Leon’s strategic objectives, including M&A opportunities.

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The new position supports CEO Joseph Leon’s strategic objectives, including M&A opportunities.

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Session 1 of Media and Journalism track of 3rd Virtual Global WHO Infodemic Conference – World Health Organization

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World Health Organization (WHO) and BBC Media Action and Internews,are pleased to invite you to participate in the media and journalism track of the 3rd Virtual Global WHO Infodemic Conference entitled “Whole-of-Society
Challenges and Solutions to Respond to Infodemics.” The WHO defines an Infodemic as “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – occurring during an epidemic, making it hard for people to find trustworthy
sources and reliable guidance when it is most needed.

The objective of the conference is to bring together all segments of society to find a truly multi-sectorial approach to managing Infodemics.  Your media and journalism experience is needed to help ‘repair’ and ‘prepare’ the
media’s response to the Infodemic. No matter your role in the media industry, your opinion can help shape the future of journalism during the next pandemic.

Session descriptions

Topic: The Challenge: Infodemics & the Media – learning from the past
Date: 2 December 2020 14:00 – 16:00 CET
Your participation in this session will help identify challenges and lessons learned
from the 2020 Infodemic.
 
Part 1 (14:00 – 15:00 CET) is a roundtable discussion between global leaders in media and journalism.

  • Hussein Al Sharif, Maharat Foundation (Lebanon)
  • Imogen Foulkes, Geneva Correspondent, BBC (Switzerland)
  • Asha Mwilu, Founder and editor at large at Debunk Media (Kenya)
  • Palagummi Sainath, People’s Archive of Rural India (India)
  • Moderator: Ida Jooste, Internews

Part 2 (15:00 – 16:00 CET) will include invitation only “Repair Cafe” breakout sessions. Participants (you) will be randomly chosen to participate through separate calendar invites.

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