Mankind has gone through different ages when people’s lives have been dominated, or majorly influenced, by an invention or breakthrough, even by certain ideas. The industrial revolution led to a major transformation. There was the idea of nationalism which created different countries. There was socialism — as opposed to capitalism — which changed the way societies were governed and economies run. There have also been great medical discoveries that have benefited us in countless ways. However, for several decades now, we have been in the age of information technology.
It began with the discovery of radio and the first newspapers. Then, the coming of big-screen cinema. Later came television. In fact, TV has become so popular that many leading newspapers in the developed world have either had to close down or, additionally, go digital. But in the last two decades or so, another form of media has taken the world by storm — social media. Led by Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram, with the smart cell phone and computer as its main medium of communication, it has probably overtaken TV as far as viewership is concerned. As a major influencer, too, and opinion-maker, social media is not too far behind TV.
Nevertheless, it’s the regulatory framework for the media that has become highly controversial and contentious. In most countries, there are regulatory bodies that monitor content. Here, there is the Press Council, usually headed by a retired senior judge. If a party is aggrieved by a news report, it can complain, the Press Council hears both sides and gives its ruling. The offending publication, if found guilty of misreporting, is obliged to publish an apology. If the aggrieved party is not satisfied, it can go to court and sue the publication for libel. That threat, along with the censure of the Press Council, is a powerful check on misreporting. Which is probably why in India at least — and I daresay in many other parts of the world as well where there is freedom of expression — the print media is considered more responsible and credible and, therefore, taken more seriously than the electronic media.
Yet, when TV “live” reportage first burst on to the world scene, it blew the print media away. Perhaps the most dramatic TV reportage of this kind was the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, two days after he had assassinated US President Jack Kennedy. Oswald was apprehended after he killed a policeman just after shooting Kennedy. He was first lodged in the basement of the local police jail. When he was about to be transported to a more secure jail, TV cameras and reporters were present. Jack Ruby, owner of a nightclub, emerged from the crowd and shot Oswald, killing him. Millions worldwide saw the footage “live”. Though Ruby was later sentenced to die, a conspiracy theory emerged that Oswald had been silenced so that he could not disclose the other conspirators.
The other “live” event that everyone remembers is of course the tragic downing of the twin towers of the New York World Trade Centre. In India, “live” TV coverage came into its own in Kargil. And then, with the terror attack in Mumbai. There was live reporting of the event, just outside Taj Hotel, little realising that the terrorists inside were watching on TV what was being disclosed. Since then, there has been self-regulation in the coverage of such events.
However, no regulatory framework acceptable to private TV channels has yet emerged. There is admittedly an “Information and Technology Act”, but it is ineffective. The result is that TV channels do what they please. This has showed up in the coverage of the suicide (or murder) of the late actor, Sushant Singh Rajput. A virtual trial by media is taking place, with the law courts playing little role. A drug angle is also being played up and Bollywood maligned. Lawyers on both sides have happily appeared on TV, whereas they should really have confined themselves to court.
But at least Indian TV is admitting that effective regulation is needed. For the social media, however, there are till now no checks whatsoever. Smart phones and computers lend themselves easily to hate speech and fake news. The trouble is, much of this is made to sound credible. Cambridge Analytica, whose former head has just been barred in the UK from running a company or even being a director for seven years, is a good example of the menace. The social media organisation played an insidious role in at least two major elections, that of the US and India. In India, in 2018, both the BJP and the Congress accused each other of using Analytica in polls across the country. The CEO admitted having offered clients “unethical services”, which included bribery and honey-traps.
But let’s be fair. Social media has become an indispensable vehicle. It is here to stay. Want material on a particular subject? Just key in Google Search. Schools and colleges worldwide have mostly been closed since the pandemic struck last March. Some 1.3 billion students, which is the population of India, have been affected and classes have had to be taken online. Can you imagine the disruption this would have caused if social media had not been there? So, when a regulatory framework is eventually put in place, the benefits that the social media has brought to our lives also need to be acknowledged and taken into account.
— The writer is a veteran journalist
QYOU Media Board Chair Exercises 2 Million Warrants
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TORONTO and LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – QYOU Media Inc. (TSXV: QYOU) (OTCQB: QYOUF) (“QYOU Media” or the “Company”) announces that G. Scott Paterson, Board Chair of QYOU Media, exercised 2 million warrants at 6 cents per share bringing his total direct and indirect holdings of shares and warrants of the Company to 22,891,694 common shares and 4,250,000 warrants.
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Source:- Canada NewsWire
Media Beat: October 29, 2020
Two Facebook users are seeking damages on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose personal data may have been improperly used for political purposes.
The proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Calgary residents Saul Benary and Karma Holoboff asks the Federal Court to order the social-media giant to bolster its security practices to better protect sensitive information and comply with federal privacy law. – Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
A congressional hearing Wednesday left Facebook, Google and Twitter facing conflicting pressures — from Democrats who say they should patrol their sites and services more aggressively and Republicans who felt the companies should have a more hands-off role with most political speech. The mixed signals threatened to add new complications to the tech giants’ already controversial work to protect the world’s most popular digital communications channels from abuse. And it evoked the lingering, widespread unease in Washington with the political and economic leverage the three companies have amassed and the ways they seek to wield it. – Tony Romm, Rachel Lerman, Cat Zakrzewski, Heather Kelly & Elizabeth Dwoskin, The Washington Post
Platforms like Facebook and Google are sharing their plans to pause political ads around Election Day. That’s won’t stop all paid campaigning. – Arielle Pardes, Wired
Spotify’s content policy is in the spotlight amid controversy over Joe Rogan’s hosting of Alex Jones on his podcast, even though Spotify has banned Jones’ own show from its platform. BuzzFeed reported that Spotify won’t tell podcast hosts whom they can have on their shows. – The Information
Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the leading online music entertainment platform in China, and Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent labels, have expanded the terms of their multi-year licensing and cooperation agreement.
Merlin members account for more than 15% of the global digital music market and has deals with over 30 digital partners. – Jem Aswad, Variety
Watch “We told Americans that Canadians all vote the same way
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Media election planners prepare for a night of mystery – Assiniboia Times
NEW YORK — This coming weekend, CNN’s Sam Feist will distribute to his staff copies of the testimony news executives gave to Congress when they tried to explain how television networks got 2000’s disputed election so spectacularly wrong.
It’s required reading — perhaps never more than this year. Media planners are preaching caution in the face of a surge in early voting, high anxiety levels overall and a president who raises the spectre of another disputed election.
“We need to prepare ourselves for a different kind of election night,” said Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, “and the word I keep using is ‘patience.’”
Nearly half of people polled recently by the Pew Research Center said they intend to follow election night returns closely. It’s easy to see this year eclipsing 2008’s record of 71.5 million people who watched for results, and many will have laptops, tablets or smartphones ready for a multi-screen experience.
CBS News built a new studio where pop stars once visited MTV’s “Total Request Live,” and Fox News hired the makers of the “Fortnite” video game to design whiz-bang graphics, an illustration of the money and planning that goes in to the quadrennial event.
Live television coverage will extend into the early morning of Nov. 4 and perhaps beyond. NBC News has mapped out a schedule to stay on the air for days if necessary, said Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president.
Besides the traditional broadcast and cable news networks, there will be live-stream options from the likes of The Washington Post and others, including websites filled with graphics and raw numbers.
“There is an odd combination of anticipation and uncertainty about this election night, more than any other election night I can remember,” said David Bohrman, a television veteran who this year is producing the CBS News coverage.
Election nights always have surprises, but the worry this year is being driven by the large number of people voting early or by mail, in part driven by the coronavirus. By many estimates, the early vote will eclipse the number of people going to polling places on Election Day for the first time.
That’s an extraordinary change: In 1972, only 5 per cent of votes were cast prior to Election Day, and by 2016 it was 42.5 per cent. That profoundly affects how the results are reported.
Some states begin counting early votes as they come in. Some wait until Election Day or even after polls close. Some key states count absentee ballots only if they are postmarked by Election Day. Elsewhere, ballots can arrive as late as Nov. 13, as is the case in Ohio.
Some states have enough experience that their counts usually go quickly and smoothly. Other counts are more problematic. Florida and North Carolina are two battleground states that have, historically, done well at counting and posting the results of mail ballots on election night.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are prohibited by state law from processing mail ballots until Election Day. It can be a cumbersome process, and since neither state has experience counting as many ballots as are expected this year, it may be days before their results are known.
With more Democrats than Republicans voting early, the pace of how votes are reported is also important. Some states will release early votes before the Election Day tallies. That can make the first numbers shown on the screen appear deceptive, said Steve Kornacki, elections guru at MSNBC.
The challenge is knowing all those idiosyncrasies and communicating them clearly, he said.
“When I say I want a few more days (to study), that’s why,” he said.
Instead of listing how many voting precincts are reporting, ABC News will tell viewers the percentage of expected votes that are in so far, said Marc Burstein, senior executive producer who’s been in charge of ABC election coverage since 2000.
“Our byword of the night is transparency,” Burstein said. “We will tell people what we know. We will tell people what we don’t know, and we will tell them why.”
News organizations will still declare winners in individual states much as they have done in the past, using a combination of poll results and actual vote totals. Again, the expectation is these calls may be slower than in past years.
Producers say viewers should look to Florida as an early bellwether, because of its importance, efficiency in counting and early poll closing time. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog said last week that if Democrat Joe Biden wins Florida, his chances of winning the presidency shoot up to 99 per cent. If President Donald Trump wins the state, his reelection chances jump to 39 per cent, what Silver calls essentially a tossup.
North Carolina and Ohio are other states where relatively early results could give an indication of how the night is going.
“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected,” said Alan Komissaroff, Fox News senior vice-president of news and politics.
More reporting from outside of studios will likely be on display, with news organizations placing greater emphasis on voter integrity issues and the possibility of legal challenges. PBS is tapping a dozen public broadcasting reporters from across the country to contribute to its coverage. The Washington Post is stationing reporters in 36 states.
Networks are hiring election law experts in case those issues need to be addressed.
Because of the coronavirus, CBS’ Bohrman said people who will be on the network’s new set are being tested every day.
ABC News’ Manhattan set isn’t big enough for everyone to be 6 feet apart, so the network will operate out of three different studios on election night, including the set of “The View,” Burstein said.
At some point, after months of pontificating and speculating, the conclusion of the 2020 election will be known. Four years ago, The Associated Press declared Trump the next president at 2:29 a.m. the day after the election.
“We’re going in prepared but without preconceptions,” Oppenheim said.
AP’s Election Decision Editor Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington contributed to this report.
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