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The media needs to confront racism in Canada – The Globe and Mail

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Avvy Go is the clinic director at the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. Gary Yee is director of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

Demonstrators march down a main street during an anti-racism event in Red Deer, Alta., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Many Canadians have experienced intense emotions watching the election unfold in our neighbour to the south. Those of us fighting for social justice have feared the possibility of four more years of Donald Trump and the continuing destructive impact on society, well beyond the U.S. borders. We experience something visceral and deeply personal when we see the dehumanization of those who belong to communities with less power and privilege. Speaking as Chinese-Canadians, the increased anti-Asian racism this year has increased our sense of being the “other” – being the perpetual foreigner. All our institutions, including the powerful media, must do better to ensure our social cohesion and cherish our collective humanity.

Chinese-Canadians continue to be treated as foreigners, despite our over 150 years of history in this nation. Nov. 7, 2020, marked the 135th anniversary of the Last Spike ceremony for finishing the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. During its construction, Chinese labourers were paid less than other workers and did the most dangerous jobs; hundreds died and were often buried in unmarked graves. Our community’s contribution to this nation-building was repaid with 67 years of legislated racism, first with the exorbitant Chinese Head Tax in 1885 to restrict Chinese immigration, followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act that banned Chinese immigration outright in 1923 until 1947.

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Despite our long history in Canada, today Chinese-Canadians are still seen as outsiders who bring in diseases or drive up the housing market. With the rising tensions between Canada and China – a country which is not even the birthplace of many Chinese-Canadians – our loyalty to Canada is increasingly being questioned.

The pandemic has exposed how deep-seated anti-Chinese racism is in Canada. Across the country, social media has been flooded with heart-wrenching reports of verbal and physical attacks on Chinese-Canadians and other Asian-Canadians.

With Black Lives Matter, and other anti-racism movements across North America, more Canadians are becoming aware of the existence of structural racism in our own backyard. Still, far too many Canadians either regard this as an issue that exists only south of the border, or that racism is just a matter of “a few bad apples.”

Sensationalism in the media gives lots of attention to explicitly racist incidents, without shining enough light on the everyday lived experiences of racialized people who face systemic barriers in the workplace, health care, justice system, and elsewhere. Nor have the media done enough of a deep dive into Canada’s history of colonization of Indigenous peoples and the transatlantic slave trade, as well as the continuing impact of such atrocities.

As the Far Right movement has taken to social media to spread hate and misinformation, the role of traditional media as a source of trusted information has become ever more important The media hold tremendous power as the disseminator of information to the general public. But with that power, media also have an obligation to ensure that they do not become part of the problem.

To help move our society from one where racialized folks are being “othered” as lesser humans to one where all people belong as equal participants, influential media outlets have the power and opportunity to step up and support inclusion and belonging for all.

Media outlets need to become more inclusive and involve all racialized communities in issues of interests to all Canadians, and not just stories that are perceived as affecting them only. For instance, don’t interview Chinese-Canadians only when the media are doing a story on China and Hong Kong, or on the real estate market in Vancouver, but talk to us also about the Canadian economy, or climate change. We share very similar interests, experiences and expertise with all Canadians.

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It’s important for media outlets to adopt an anti-racist approach to their work, including systemic policies and practices. They must be mindful of the impact of choices for stories, headlines and content, to avoid worsening racism or reinforcing the stereotype of Chinese-Canadians and others as perpetual foreigners.

Journalists and media leaders need to appreciate and understand every racialized community as a diverse one and stop treating us as a monolithic entity. No person of colour or Indigenous person should be expected to speak for their entire community before their perspective is rendered worthy of publication.

The past several years of turmoil both in the United States and in Canada have taught us that our democracy is fragile, and that structural racism, if left unchecked, poses a serious risk to social cohesion. There’s so much damage to be undone when those with power and privilege try to dehumanize others. Each of us experiences racism and forms of “othering” in different and deeply personal ways. By working as a bridge, media can amplify the true reality of our entire society, and use its incredible power to transform how we see ourselves and each other. We need to start reclaiming some of our humanity and rebuilding our society based on principles of justice and equality.

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

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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.

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

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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)

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

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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)

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