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Senate approval of Bill C-18 would provide critical support for ethnic media, publishers say

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Ethnic newspapers have served Canada’s diverse communities for decades, but when the pandemic struck, hundreds across the country stopped printing or moved exclusively online. Now, a federal bill currently before the Senate has the potential to help the situation.

The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) — which currently represents 650 small print publications in more than 100 languages nationwide — says 400 of its members either stopped their print versions or halted operations altogether during the pandemic.

“Two years ago, we had about 1,200 outlets as members,” NEPMCC president and CEO Thomas Saras told The Early Edition.

But stakeholders are hoping Senate approval of Bill C-18, known as the Online News Act, will give ethnic press the bargaining power with online platforms like Google to attract much needed advertising dollars.

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Online News Act

Bill C-18 is designed to require web giants to compensate journalism publications for reposting their content.

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has argued the bill will “enhance fairness” in the digital news marketplace by creating a framework and bargaining process for behemoths such as Google and Meta, which owns social media sites Facebook and Instagram, to pay media outlets.

“It is about protecting the future of a free and independent press. It is about ensuring that Canadians have access to fact-based information. It is about protecting the strength of our democracy,” said Rodriguez in December when the bill was before the House of Commons.

A politician prepares to sit down at a table.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez prepares to appear before a Senate committee in Ottawa on Nov. 22, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The bill passed 213 votes to 114 on Dec. 14 and is now with the Senate for further consideration.

While C-18 could help those ethnic publications occupying an online space, more is needed to help publishers of print papers that older-generation immigrants rely on for information and newcomers depend on for classified ads, Saras says.

Propping up print

Mandeep Singh is the publisher of two weekly newspapers, the Indo-Canadian Voice and the Indo-Canadian Awaaz, which are printed in English and Punjabi, respectively, in Metro Vancouver.

He said in the last couple of years, businesses who had advertised in the print editions began putting their money into social media and online platforms because of the pandemic.

“People were not picking up the newspaper,” said Singh, who joined Saras on The Early Edition on Monday.

Singh said some of that business is trickling back, but ad revenue remains too low for the papers to survive on.

 

The Early Edition8:50Ethnic media publishers call for federal support

The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada says hundreds of ethnic newspapers and other publications across the country have ceased publishing during the pandemic, but a bill before the Senate help the situation. We speak with National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada president and CEO Thomas Saras and Mandeep Singh, publisher of the Indo-Canadian Voice and the Indo-Canadian Awaaz.

While Senate approval of C-18 could help, Saras knows more is needed to help print publications.

He is currently lobbying Ottawa for more direct financial support in the form of the Local Journalism Initiative, which the Liberals rolled out in 2019 with a five-year commitment of $50 million to support local, diverse journalism.

“Outlets that are active, they are receiving funds through the Local Journalism Initiative,” said Saras about NEPMCC’s members.

He said for the last two years, the council received $2 million to distribute as aid to members. This year, after an October 2022 government announcement that additional funds would be added to the initiative, Saras is hoping that amount will be closer to $5 million.

For Singh, any help is welcome.

“We have been serving this community for more than 25 years and people trust these newspapers,” he said. “We are trying our best, whatever we can do.”

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Be cautious of financial advice on social media: Expert – BNN Bloomberg

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Be cautious of financial advice on social media: Expert  BNN Bloomberg

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Vancouver woman wins identity fraud fight with Bell Mobility after posting on social media

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It’s been four blissfully quiet days since Erica Phillips last heard from the collection agencies ringing her two or three times daily for months, demanding payment of hundreds of dollars owed on a Bell Mobility account with her name on it that she never opened.

“It’s a huge sense of relief,” she said. “It’s so nice knowing that this won’t continue being a daily reminder of something that shouldn’t have been my problem to begin with.”

The Vancouver woman says she has been fighting the company for more than two years with little response, submitting documents supporting that the account was fraudulently opened using her name while at the same time filing reports with police, credit agencies and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

She says relief from the collection calls only came after she contacted news outlets and posted about her frustrations on social media.

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“I took all of the correct avenues,” she said. “I didn’t want to make myself public but I felt like I was forced to,” she said.

Phillips’ ordeal started in 2020 when she received notices mailed to an old address from both Rogers and Bell Mobility that said she owed money. She says she had never been a client of either company, so she thought they were a phishing scam. Further investigation found that identity fraudsters had used her personal information to open the accounts in her name.

She says Rogers took quick action to cancel the account when she contacted them, but Bell Mobility did not.

“That’s what seemed so insane to me at the beginning, that it was so easily taken care of with one of the companies and then not at all with the other,” said Phillips.

In an emailed statement, Bell Mobility told CBC:

“We have conducted an investigation and have determined that this account was fraudulent. We are attempting to contact the client and have advised our affiliated credit agencies of the billing error.”

The Consumer Protection B.C. website has information on how to prevent identity theft. It also has forms and advice for individuals who are being pursued by a company or collection agency for a debt that is not theirs.

Identity fraud and identity theft are criminal offences, but have become lucrative thanks to the growth of technology, according to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

In 2021, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued an alert after a spike in identity fraud reporting.

“Fraudsters are using personal information about Canadians to apply for government benefits, credit cards, bank accounts, cellphone accounts or even take over social media and email accounts,” it said.

Phillips says in just one night her social media post received more than 100,000 views. She’s been surprised by the number of people who have reached out to her to say they too have been victims of identity fraud.

“It’s unbelievable the comments that I’m getting on all of the various stories now of people in similar situations,” she said. “It’s crazy.”

She says Bell Mobility has not apologized.

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Lawler pays tribute to Edmonton on social media, says goodbye to Elks ahead of CFL free agency – Global News

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Lawler pays tribute to Edmonton on social media, says goodbye to Elks ahead of CFL free agency  Global News

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