A judge has ordered an Ottawa woman to pay $100,000 in damages for embarking on what he called a “brutal and unempathetic campaign” against two women in a defamation case centred around a video posted just days after the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.
The defendant’s lawyer, Cedric Nahum, says he plans to appeal the decision, which also subjects his client to a permanent injunction that limits her speaking about the case.
“We found the decision quite disappointing. I think it could do a lot to muzzle conversation in relation to race issues,” said Nahum.
He also says the judge didn’t adequately take into account the perspective of his client Solit Isak, who identifies as Black, in the context of George Floyd’s death in interpreting the case.
The other side, meanwhile, called the judge’s decision a “vindication of their reputation” after a traumatic experience that included the loss of employment and threats against them and their family.
Allegations of racism on social media
The case followed a social media firestorm in June 2020 after a screenshot from the Snapchat account of Shania Lavallee was taken from a May 30 video of her sister Justine being pinned down by Shania’s boyfriend Gilmour Driscoll-Maurice — who held her hands behind her and had his knee on her back.
Isak saw the screenshot just days after Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Isak, who admitted to never seeing the video, proceeded to make more than 100 social media posts accusing the women of mocking Floyd’s death, tagging their employers, and encouraging other people to do the same and share information about them.
Those posts were also republished and amplified.
On June 1, Shania issued an apology online, saying in part, “I meant absolutely no disrespect and didn’t mean to hurt or offend anyone. In the video, they were play fighting as they always do and in retrospect I can see how the video could be taken out of context given the current situation and I now see how insensitive it is.
“It was wrong of me to be inconsiderate of the sensitive times at hand and by no means did I use this as a representation of what happened with George Floyd.”
Shania lost her job at Boston Pizza in Orléans, as well as a teaching job offer at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Justine lost her job at the Canada Border Services Agency, as well as failed a character check in her application for work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Lavallees said they also had to leave their home to avoid death threats and vandalism.
On June 5, the sisters’ lawyer asked Isak to take down her posts and issue an apology threatening to sue for defamation. Isak had filed a counterclaim by the end of that month.
In the summary of his decision, Justice Marc Smith said Isak “blindly embarked on a brutal and unempathetic campaign to destroy the lives of two young women” and didn’t have the factual basis for her claims of racism.
Shania had told court they had posted similar “play fighting” videos in the past and at no point in the video did they mention Floyd or refer to “police brutality.”
While they were not able to recover the video, which Snapchat deletes automatically after 24 hours, the plaintiffs provided statements from two friends who saw the video supporting that claim.
The judge accepted the plaintiff’s story and it wasn’t challenged by the defendant.
However, Isak’s lawyer said the particulars of the video were less important than the context of when it was published.
The defendant’s submissions noted around the same time, other viral images were being circulated online of a so-called “George Floyd challenge” where social media users appeared to imitate the kneeling position in jest.
“I don’t think that the judge was able to put himself in the place of a young Black person in the days after the murder of George Floyd,” Nahum said.
“He likely wouldn’t be able to do so as a white judge.”
Sisters ‘sensitive’ to acts of racism
The Lavallees’ lawyer Charles Daoust said it has been a “long, traumatic year for them, but they are happy now to be able to vindicate their reputations.”
“The message from the court is clear that people really should be careful before levelling very serious accusations on the internet, especially to have evidence,” said Daoust.
In a statement, the sisters said as members of the Indigenous community they are sensitive to acts of racism, but the events in 2020 “did not, in any way, relate to racism.”
In court, the plaintiffs filed Native Alliance of Quebec (NAQ) membership cards to claim they are Inuit. NAQ cards are not federally recognized identification.
The CBC asked which land claim organization they belong to, which is how official identification as Inuit is recognized, and Daoust said his clients had no further comment.
Limits of free speech
Isak is not required to issue an apology, but the permanent injunction prevents her from publishing any further “defamatory statements” about the Lavallees.
Nahum said his client is now saddled with $100,000 in debt at the beginning of her adult life and this raises concerns about other people who might seek to speak out against racism.
“When we’re looking at who has been told not to speak here, we’re looking at the voice of a young Black woman, as opposed to all the other news media outlets or other people who had commented on the situation,” Nahum said.
Hilary Young, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick, argued she doesn’t think the decision will have a chilling effect on people calling out racist behaviour.
“I think the law is clear that if there is some basis for you to conclude that someone is racist, there are protections of fair comment that will protect your right to state that opinion. But that’s not unlimited.” she said.
“If you harm someone’s reputation, your good intentions aren’t good enough to get you off the hook.”
Young said the judge did weigh Isak’s intention of denouncing racism in assessing damages and didn’t call for punitive damages to be paid on top of the general damages.
Social media has increased the use of permanent injunctions so defamatory posts can be removed in an effort to repair damaged reputations, she said.
It’s also become more common for private individuals to be involved in defamation cases, which used to primarily play out between public figures and journalists or publishers.
“Now in the internet era, you see a lot more cases where you just have individuals making allegations about other individuals and they haven’t done their research or done a lot of effort to get their facts right,” Young said.
Employers’ due diligence
The judge also said third parties not directly involved in the case should have done more diligence to review the evidence and the sisters’ version of the story.
Daoust said his clients are considering their options regarding the employers who fired the sisters or rescinded offers of employment.
In a statement, the Canada Border Services Agency said as a law enforcement agency its employees must be held to the highest standard of conduct, including in day-to-day activities. The agency said it has “no intention of revisiting its decision in this case.”
The RCMP said it could not comment on an individual’s security clearance for privacy reasons, and should an individual re-apply they would be evaluated according to Treasury Board standards.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board declined to comment on the judge’s decision. Boston Pizza did not respond to CBC’s request for comment.
Ottawa Morning7:54Racism allegations on social media defamed Ottawa women, judge rules
12 Healthcare Provider Pharma Social Media Predictions for 2022 – Pharmaceutical Executive
The adoption and growth of social media for healthcare providers (HCPs) will continue apace in 2022. Social behaviors initially prompted by COVID-19 have become standard operating procedures. Embracing nuances and developing new approaches will distinguish effective competitors from also-rans. For pharma marketers, discerning effectiveness of social media marketing and convincing or finessing conservative medical-legal reviewers will continue to be primary challenges.
Looking ahead, consider these 12 emerging factors:
Investigate Influencers. Self-appointed digital opinion leaders are drawing significant numbers of HCPs into surprisingly detailed scientific and clinical interactive conversations on both public and private social media platforms. Initiated in the scramble to treat COVID-19, the availability of peer-to-peer engagement continues to intrigue and attract generalists and specialists. Pharma marketers are watching this phenomenon anxiously from the sidelines, fearful about the lack of pre-approval and content control, knowing that an organization with a hearty risk appetite will probably claim the high ground, engage influencers in potent promotional activities, and score a competitive advantage.
Manage the Metaverse. Pharma marketing has been on the cusp of embracing simulations, gamification and virtual (VR) or artificial reality (AR) for several years. The technology enables a robust creative pallet for illustrating how medications work or how procedures are done. HCP digital natives expect brands to use these familiar approaches to interact, educate and engage them by telling compelling disease awareness or brand specific stories.
Watch Walled Gardens. The major private peer-to-peer gated HCP communities all experienced significant membership and usage spikes as a result of the pandemic. Platforms like Sermo, Doximity, Skipta, Medscape, and G-Med added features and functions, often in parallel with each other. Look for continued efforts to increase traffic, expand frequency of sessions, build longer sessions, expand content, and stimulate conversation and interaction within specialty newsfeeds.
Optimize On-Demand. The COVID-19 driven default to digital communication channels prompted HCPs’ expectation of on-demand messaging. They expect to have pre-recorded or digitized content available when and where they are ready to access it. Videos, infographics, interactive presentations, clinical data sets and games will be critical elements of every brand’s non-personal promotion (NPP) arsenal.
Activate Allied Professionals. Nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, and other professionals are critical members of the care team, often spending the most time with patients and delivering an array of treatments and services. Prominent in social media, they are chronically underserved by pharma marketers who tend to focus time and attention on physicians. Savvy marketers will embrace these populations, carve out budget to reach and persuade them, and dedicate resources to educate and engage them.
Call an Audible. Audio promotion, prompted by the explosion of podcasts and the instant popularity of Clubhouse, will find a place in pharma NPP. Podcasts by HCPs and hospitals increased 40% in 2021 over 2020, according to RadioMD. Audio tracks featuring key opinion leaders (KOLs) and panel discussions will be recorded and posted on websites, Spotify, and social media pages. Voice tracks will animate ads on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn while marketers try to wrestle with the med-legal challenges of live audio. Also consider changing SEO tactics to align with the steady growth of live audio search.
Gauge Groups. The pandemic prompted a spate of HCP group formation on virtually every platform. From journal clubs to ad hoc diagnostics, HCPs rallied to connect and share with peers. Some groups are open, others are cautiously private. Medical science liaisons (MSLs) should transparently join relevant groups to understand and gauge the tone and direction of the conversations and to insert clinical or scientific information where and when appropriate.
Mobilize MSLs. The rising demand for peer-to-peer conversation and consultation opens new avenues and new access for medical science liaison staff to interact with HCPs. The roles of reps versus MSLs as well as the practical definition of promotion is changing. Sharing data, real world evidence, and common experiences, these specialists must play a greater role in pharma marketing to build confidence and credibility among a skeptical population of practicing HCPs.
Promote Patient Programs. The more complex the disease; the more complex the patient paperwork and adherence challenges. Beyond diagnosis and treatment, patients turn to their HCPs for educational materials, pre-authorization, co-pay cards, samples, dosing schedules, and dedicated customer service resources. Pharma marketers are expanding these toolsets and HCPs are eager to obtain and distribute them. 75% of physicians, in a HealthLink Dimensions survey, said they use patient education materials when provided to them. Look for expansion in the number of services offered and the number of pharma brands offering patient support.
Emphasize Engagement. Changing or cementing on-going relationships between pharma and HCPs, HCPs and patients, or hospitals and patients or caregivers is on everyone’s 2022 agenda. Replacing incidental or transactional contacts with sustained interactions will require a different content and contact strategy delivered through a mix of channels. Look for her and ePrescribing vendors to tout their advanced analytics capabilities to predict and transmit the right message to the right patient or HCP at the right moment for optimal impact. Gaining access to the right data and finessing privacy protocols will make or break these claims.
Exchange Data. Google, Apple, and Epic (Fitbit, Apple Watch, MyChart, respectively) are leading the way in building mobile monitoring technologies that collect and traffic real-time health data. The long-term goal is to improve care, react to individual metabolic changes, drive adherence, educate patients, centralize, and synchronize medical records, and predict or anticipate health incidents or needed treatments or procedures. There is a robust pipeline of tools and wearables in development though real-world uptake and substantial diagnostic or treatment benefits have yet to be documented. Imagine the behavior and workflow changes necessary for HCPs when they are confronted with real-time data streams from multiple patients who expect quick, expert reading and reactions. The practical value of these technologies will be scrutinized and debated in the new year.
Redefine Reps: Declining rep access to HCPs and institutions, exacerbated by the pandemic, will force an essential rethinking of pharma’s oldest and best promotional device. There is a clear difference in expectations for the role of reps. HCPs think reps should traffic samples, patient education materials, and pizza. Pharma marketers think reps should prompt brief clinical or scientific conversations and traffic datasets, trial results, or journal articles. Getting both parties on the same page and reestablishing live in-person or live digital encounters is a topic sure to percolate throughout 2022.
Recovering and learning from the pandemic will further set the agenda for pharma marketing in 2022. Savvy marketers will be addressing these dozen issues which will certainly transform the playing field.
Danny Flamberg is the VP Strategy of LiveWorld
How do we win the war for media and innovation talent? – European Broadcasting Union
Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation
This blog post first appeared as the editorial piece in issue 50 of our tech-i magazine.
To guarantee the future growth of public service media, and prevent the global media companies from using their market power to absorb the limited talent available, we need more than ever to invest in our future. This is about the skilled people whose presence in our organizations is a prerequisite for mobilizing and sustaining innovation.
We need to redouble our efforts to create growth. The defensive stance that is the more typical response to a critical period cannot be what drives our efforts. It is only by offering a growth perspective to the youngest generations that we can gain their belief in what we do and, later, the energy injection that is necessary to take us to a stimulating and sustainable future.
A new generation
We are today engaged in a war for talent; winning that war requires a renewed effort to educate a new generation of young media scientists, engineers, technologists and creators. This generation of digital natives is no longer confined to working in one domain, which in the past would have dictated their academic path. Their common humanist background is founded upon an inherent understanding of the importance of trust, rigour, and excellence, of having an open and curious mind, and the ability to engage in deep analysis.
To build our future and guarantee a continuous and increasing flow of energy, we now require new talent, ideas and initiatives at the edge of innovation. To start with we must target deeper collaboration between EBU Members, our T&I team and leading European universities interested in media innovation and related educational activities, as well as other private institutions interested in joining such an initiative.
More concretely, the idea is to actively foster the creation of new curricula in media innovation, whether as graduate courses or vocational training. In addition to cutting-edge technical training, such courses must stimulate the creativity of younger generations, with additional focus on media literacy to develop fundamental skills in producing and managing media content. As we evolve towards ever more immersive experiences, including the prospect of participating in a virtualized ‘metaverse’, citizens must be empowered with knowledge that gives them mastery over the media they consume, instead of being dominated by it.
The idea of combining the development of creative and technological skills does not necessarily mean that everyone should be able to shine at the same time in technology and artistic creativity. Rather it is about promoting a positive dialogue across the full spectrum of human skills. (I say this as an engineer with a creative spirit: I studied piano for many years without taking the path towards being a professional pianist. This creative endeavour gives me an additional pleasure and insight when listening to any music but also a wider vocabulary when it comes to exchanges with colleagues in the creative sector.)
It has become more important than ever to provide the knowledge and ability to any university student, and in fact any citizen, to use tools that underpin our new ways of working, accelerated by the COVID crisis, as well as to interact in this rapidly changing media world. This imperative will strongly influence how media R&D&I will be structured. We need to proactively help setting the reference strategies and related technologies that will get us there.
This new ability to attract, reach, communicate and debate represents an additional growth opportunity for society, limiting disinformation, improving citizens’ education, and giving voice to a larger share of the population. We must take steps now to ensure that our youngest generations will not only help define their own future but also be actively involved in the democratic evolution of society.
In the end, this is a joyful and invigorating challenge: extracting and guiding the energy of new generations to rejuvenate our world and reinvent our future!
P.S. I hope you enjoy the 50th issue of tech-i. Since 2009 it has chronicled a period of profound change in our industry (see pages 10–11). Let’s see what we will achieve together in the next ten years, pushing forward our digital transformation!
Media Beat, Dec. 02, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News
Whether or not the deal with Rogers goes through, Canadian telecom provider Shaw Communications is too much of a risk, says John Zechner of J. Zechner Associates, who argues that investors should have some of the telcos in their portfolios, just not Shaw at this point in time.
“When Shaw was trading at $36 [after the merger was announced], the upside was ten percent and the downside if something negative happens with the deal, I thought, would be it’ll be back in the low $20s or mid $20s against. So, on a risk/reward basis I thought I’d rather shift to Rogers which if the deal didn’t go through, there certainly wasn’t the same downside,” said Zechner, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Monday. – Jayson MacLean, CanTech Letter
With Rogers and Shaw together, thousands of new jobs will be created and ties with communities across western Canada will continue to grow stronger. The new company would create more than 3,000 new jobs, growing the combined team to more than 10,000 people strong across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
At the centre of it all, a western head office will remain in Calgary. Rogers will also enhance Shaw’s charitable work, including the creation of more youth scholarships. The Shaw Charity Classic will continue for at least the next decade, which has already raised more than $61 million for Alberta kids’ charities. – Company website
The recent purchase by Eric Boyko was the biggest purchase of Stingray Group shares made by an insider individual in the last twelve months, according to our records. That implies that an insider found the current price of CA$7.47 per share to be enticing. While their view may have changed since the purchase was made, this does at least suggest they have had confidence in the company’s future. We do always like to see insider buying, but it is worth noting if those purchases were made at well below today’s share price, as the discount to value may have narrowed with the rising price. The good news for Stingray Group share holders is that insiders were buying at near the current price. – Inside Wall Street
CRA represents 261-member radio stations across metropolitan and regional Australia, including ARN, Southern Cross Austereo, Nova Entertainment, Grant Broadcasters and Nine Entertainment. The authorisation excludes Nine, which previously announced it has reached agreements with Google and Facebook. – Mediaweek
The European Commission plans to introduce rules next year to prevent a few large media groups from acquiring smaller rivals and to thwart government interference, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Monday.
The move by the EU executive comes amid curbs on media freedom in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia and worries that the channeling of state advertising to pro-government outlets leads to indirect political influence over the media. – Foo Yun Chee, Reuters
The latest UK radio audience figures from Rajar demonstrated that two-thirds of audiences now listen to radio on digital devices. DAB accounts for 43% of that total, while online and in-app makes up 18%. That means that almost a fifth of all radio listenership occurs on devices such as phones or desktop devices. Those platforms are format agnostic and audiences are just as likely to listen to non-radio audio – if they even make a distinction.
It’s an acknowledgement that the audio space is colliding, with the lines between radio content, podcasts, audiobooks and more being erased by user habit. As a result, there is a huge commercial opportunity to reach audiences that consume ‘audio’ more widely on those devices.
Podcast company Acast saw a 51% increase in listeners across its network in 2020 in addition to a 250% increase in revenue from branded content in 2020. Its UK head of sales Josh Woodhouse believes that is due in large part to an influx of new genres into the podcasting space – which in turn is attracting radio producers to launch commercial podcasts. – Chris Sutcliffe, The Drum
UK newspapers accepted money to publish positive environmental stories about Saudi Arabia around COP26
The Independent and Evening Standard newspapers have been accused of greenwashing after they accepted an undisclosed sum of money from Saudi Arabia to publish dozens of positive environmental stories about the country before, during, and after the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow.
In the days preceding the summit and during its initial days, the Independent published at least 50 stories and videos under a commercial deal with Saudi Arabia, an investigation by Byline Times can reveal. – Byline Times team
Researchers used computer simulations to show just how likely it is that our galaxy is teeming with dead alien civilizations. The study, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, showed that if just one civilization in the Milky Way were to become extinct every 100 million years, then it’s highly likely that 20 million civilizations have come and gone in our galaxy. But, if civilizations are becoming extinct every 10 million years, then it’s likely that only one civilization has ever existed in the Milky Way. – Call Me V
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