Connect with us

Media

Regulating Professionals On Social Media – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

Published

 on


To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

To what extend do professionals have the right to express their
personal views outside of their professional lives?

In the recent decision of Strom v Saskatchewan Registered
Nurses’ Association, 2020 SKCA 112
, the Saskatchewan
Court of Appeal provided further clarity regarding the degree of
analysis expected of professional regulators in assessing whether a
member’s off-duty comments amounts to professional
misconduct.

Background

Carolyn Strom, a registered nurse was licensed by the
Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association
(“SRNA”). While on maternity leave, and following the
death of her grandfather, Ms. Strom posted critical comments on
Facebook about the level of care received by her grandfather in his
final days at a long-term care home and long-term care in general.
Ms. Strom also posted a link to an article about end-of-life care
and tweeted the posts to the Saskatchewan Minister of Health and
the Saskatchewan Opposition Leader.

Ms. Strom was found guilty of professional misconduct by the
SRNA Discipline Committee for the public Facebook posts. The
Discipline Committee focused on the fact that she did not go
through proper channels to voice her concerns. As she identified
herself as a registered nurse in the Facebook posts, the Discipline
Committee found that Ms. Strom’s posts harmed the nursing
profession’s reputation. The Discipline Committee found that
although its decision infringed on Ms. Strom’s freedom of
expression, the infringement was justified as the Discipline
Committee needed to ensure that nurses advocate in a professional
manner. The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench subsequently
affirmed the Discipline Committee’s decision.

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Decision

On appeal, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned both the
lower court’s and the Discipline Committee’s decisions.
They held that in order to determine whether off-duty comments
amount to professional misconduct, a regulator must look at the
entire context behind the comments. The Saskatchewan Court of
Appeal found that the Discipline Committee failed to do this
thereby missing key factors including: Ms. Strom was grieving the
loss of her grandfather; that she also made comments praising
certain staff members; and that her posts were intended to raise
awareness on improving palliative care in Canada in general. The
tone, content and purpose of the post were all important factors to
consider when determining whether Ms. Strom’s off-duty
conduct would be considered professional misconduct.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal also found that
the Discipline Committee’s failure to perform a
contextual analysis resulted in a decision that unjustifiably
infringed on Ms. Strom’s right to freedom of expression. In
making these findings, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recognized
that professionals have the right to voice their opinions. The
Discipline Committee’s decision unjustifiably denied Ms.
Strom and other registered nurses their ability to offer
constructive criticism and contribute to discussions on important
public health issues.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal noted that professionals remain
bound by their profession’s rules and requirements with
respect to civility, respectful communication, confidentiality,
advertisement and other matters that impact freedom of expression.
However, the enforcement of these limits must be proportional to
the alleged offensive speech. Not every statement that causes
offence should attract discipline. In this case, Ms. Strom’s
posts were made as a grieving granddaughter. They were not shown to
be false or exaggerated. There was no evidence that the public
interest or the reputation of facility, staff and nursing
profession were negatively impacted. In these circumstances, the
Discipline Committee’s decision to discipline Ms. Strom for
her off-duty speech did not justify infringing on
her Charter  right to freedom of expression.

Key Takeaway

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s decision highlights the
importance for regulators to examine the entire context when
dealing with off-duty conduct. A contextual analysis must focus on
whether there is a nexus between the off-duty conduct and the
profession, such that there would be a negative impact on the
public, the professional or the profession.

When an individual makes a statement, the tone, content, and
purpose of the statement are important contextual factors that a
regulator should consider when assessing whether the conduct
amounts to professional misconduct. It is important that the
regulator not cherry pick elements of an individual’s conduct
to make a finding of professional misconduct.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s decision also serves as
a reminder that professionals have voices and roles outside of
their professional lives and that they have the right to express
their views. Public discourse is important and professionals can
offer unique and informed contributions to these discussions.
Limits can be imposed if they are necessary to protect the public
or profession as a whole. However, speech should not be limited
simply because it may offend others. A full contextual analysis of
the situation is required to properly balance the need to impose
these limits and the right of members to freedom of expression.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment from Canada

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Judge refuses to dismiss media charges in Pell trial – CTV News

Published

 on


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA —
A Supreme Court judge in Australia’s Victoria state on Friday dismissed submissions from news media organizations and journalists that there is no case to answer on charges they breached a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse convictions in 2018.

More charges were tossed out in the case against Australian media outlets prosecuted over reporting of Pell’s abuse convictions. But the judge refused to throw out the bulk of the 87 charges of contempt of court for stories published after the cardinal’s guilty verdict.

His child sexual abuse convictions were overturned by Australia’s High Court earlier this year and the cardinal is back in Rome.

More than two dozen media organizations, reporters and editors were charged with breaching of suppression orders and other reporting rules in the days following the guilty verdicts.

In a mid-trial ruling on Friday, Justice John Dixon dismissed eight contempt charges against Nationwide News, Sydney radio station 2GB, Queensland Newspapers and the Nine Entertainment-owned Fairfax Media.

But he rejected arguments by 27 media outlets, journalists and editors that they had no case to answer for the remaining 79 charges.

Prosecutors last month dropped 13 charges against News Corp. staff and publications. The trial is scheduled to resume on Jan. 28.

Such suppression orders are common in the Australian and British judicial systems. But the enormous international interest in an Australian criminal trial with global ramifications highlighted the difficulty in enforcing such orders in the digital age.

Pell was convicted on Dec. 11, 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral when he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.

The trial of Pope Francis’ former finance minister and the most senior Catholic to be charged with child sex abuse was not reported in the news media because of the suppression order that forbade publication of details in any format that could be accessed from Australia.

Details were suppressed to prevent prejudicing jurors in a second child abuse trial that Pell was to face three months later.

That second trial was cancelled due to a lack of evidence, and Australia’s High Court in April overturned all convictions after Pell had spent 13 months in prison.

No foreign news organization has been charged with breaching the suppression order. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment would prevent such censorship in the United States, so attempting to extradite an American for breaching an Australian suppression order would be futile.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Japanese PM Suga to hold news conference amid third coronavirus wave: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

Published

 on


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is set to hold a news conference to provide an update on the country’s pandemic response on Friday, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November.

Suga is expected to explain his backing of a widely criticised travel subsidy campaign meant to help revive the economy amid infection controls.

In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in parts of the country, and some medical groups and experts blame it on a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

His news conference will take place at 6 p.m. local time (0900 GMT), according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Suga’s approval ratings have dipped, with many unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, polls showed. That could deal a blow to his plan to prop up local economies and may threaten the chances of his premiership beyond next autumn.

The government has paused its “Go To Travel” campaign in two cities, but Suga said on Thursday the travel subsidy programme would be extended beyond the original end date of January 2021.

“We need to support the tourism industry, which is indispensable for the local economy,” Suga told a tourism strategy meeting.

The world’s third-largest economy rebounded in the third quarter from a pandemic-induced slump, thanks to surging consumption and exports, but some analysts worry about slowing growth ahead because of the resurgence in infections.

Suga also faces a political controversy involving his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September.

He was widely seen as Abe’s right-hand man during his tenure and has defended him in parliament.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in Abe’s office over alleged violations of a funding law, the daily Asahi reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Japanese PM Suga to hold news conference amid third coronavirus wave: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

Published

 on


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is set to hold a news conference to provide an update on the country’s pandemic response on Friday, local media reported, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November.

Suga is expected to explain his backing of a widely criticised travel subsidy campaign meant to help revive the economy amid infection controls.

In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in parts of the country, and some medical groups and experts blame it on a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

His news conference is scheduled for late Friday, Jiji Press said, but the Prime Minister’s Office has yet to confirm it.

Suga’s approval ratings have dipped, with many unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, polls showed. That could deal a blow to his plan to prop up local economies and may threaten the chances of his premiership beyond next autumn.

The government has paused its “Go To Travel” campaign in two cities, but Suga said on Thursday the travel subsidy programme would be extended beyond the original end date of January 2021.

“We need to support the tourism industry, which is indispensable for the local economy,” Suga told a tourism strategy meeting.

The world’s third-largest economy rebounded in the third quarter from a pandemic-induced slump, thanks to surging consumption and exports, but some analysts worry about slowing growth ahead because of the resurgence in infections.

Suga also faces a political controversy involving his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September.

He was widely seen as Abe’s right-hand man during his tenure and has defended him in parliament.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in Abe’s office over alleged violations of a funding law, the daily Asahi reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending