Following this weekend’s tragic mass killing in Nova Scotia that left at least 19 people dead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked media outlets to “avoid” both mentioning the name of the primary suspect in the shooting spree and “showing” his picture.
“Do not give him the gift of infamy,” the prime minister said to reporters on Monday during his daily address outside his home in Ottawa.
“Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.”
Trudeau isn’t the first world leader to make this kind of request following a mass shooting in recent years.
After a gunman killed 51 people and injured dozens of others at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said she wouldn’t speak the perpetrator’s name and urged people to “deny” him the spotlight he sought.
Janice Tibbetts, a journalism instructor at Carleton University, said this request to stop disseminating the names of killers and instead focus on the victims first began to take hold about eight years ago after a mass shooting in a movie theatre outside of Denver, Colo.
RCMP confirm at least 19 dead in deadly Nova Scotia shooting
While some politicians and law enforcement agencies have since employed that practice, Tibbetts said the No Notoriety movement hasn’t “caught on in a big way” across the news industry because “the media does consider that they have, for the most part, an obligation to give the facts.”
“It’s not something that is commonplace and it’s not something that is really happening in Canada,” she said.
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In the case of this past weekend’s shooting, the suspected shooter’s name, age and photograph were shared widely early on as police chased him through several communities in Nova Scotia and issued warnings on social media.
“Giving people that information, having his photo out there yesterday, that’s reporting and that’s a journalist’s job,” Tibbetts said.
In the aftermath, however, there’s a “balance” that can be achieved, Tibbetts said.
Naming a suspected shooter in news coverage does have value, and it can serve several important purposes, she said, like stamping out “unfounded rumours” and misinformation and generally helping people “make sense of events.”
But at the same time, there’s no need to “go overboard” in the frequency of mentioning the perpetrator’s name, she added.
“You don’t have to belabour it and continually talk about the perpetrator or the shooter,” Tibbetts said. “You can focus on the victims. You can focus on the investigation. And I think that’s what you’ll see in the coverage today.
“What is a journalist’s responsibility? What’s the media organization’s responsibility? It’s to responsibly give people as much information as you can that [helps] tell the story. And I think the key word there is doing it responsibly.”
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Issuing a blanket ban on publishing a perpetrator’s name from the start could pose a “danger” to news organizations, who then might be accused by readers and viewers of “holding back the truth,” said Stephen Ward, a retired media ethicist and former director of the University of British Columbia’s journalism school.
“My view is let’s not try to use his name more frequently than necessary, but we need to put a face and a name on this person,” Ward said.
“We need to find out why he did what he did. And that’s going to be impossible unless we use some of this information, including his name.”
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Reporters are “inevitably” going to have to publish the name, and the spread of information on social media also makes it difficult to contain, Ward added.
“[Social media] doesn’t cancel out our ethical responsibilities to report well and minimize harm … but it defeats the argument or the purpose of saying, ‘Let’s not name this person when everybody from Facebook on down to everything will be talking about this person and wanting to know why he did what he did,’” he said.
“It’s a difficult situation. But right now, no, I don’t agree that major news organizations should follow the prime minister, with respect.”
A study of thousands of news articles about the Christchurch shooting by the Columbia Journalism Review noted that reconciling reporters’ responsibilities with the fact that many mass killers do “consciously” seek to spread their views through media coverage of their actions does create “a profound challenge for newsrooms.”
The study found, however, that “more” journalists are moving beyond reporting the textbook facts of “who, what, where, how and why” to bigger issues and questions surrounding the events, including how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
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In Canada, news organizations ultimately make their own editorial decisions, and every outlet typically has their own guidelines and policies for journalistic practices and ethics.
“There’s a journalist’s job versus what duty do you owe, I guess, victims and what duty do you owe readers … so there’s a balancing act there,” Tibbetts said. “And I think that that’s something that [news organizations] weigh in each case.
“I think you’ll see that in Canada certainly, and in the [United] States, for the most part, it really does come down still in favour of naming the shooter.”
For its part, Global News commits to following journalistic standards throughout this story while ensuring audiences are informed about developments in the case through sensitive, fair, and balanced coverage.
— With files from the Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek – Globalnews.ca
Brianna Irawan, 13, was extremely happy after finding out on Thursday that her prized underwater camera that had been lost for almost a year had been found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek.
The Williams Lake teen was visiting relatives in Kelowna last year when she lost the camera while jumping into the waterfalls at Mill Creek Regional Park.
“We were on Mill Creek, jumping into the water and I put my camera underneath my clothes,” Irawan told Global News on Friday.
“When I jumped, I forgot about my camera, so I walked back up and then I picked up my clothes and I forgot my camera was underneath and it fell into the water.”
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek
She went back the creek several times over the next few days, but eventually had to write her camera off to the river gods.
The Fujifilm XP model wasn’t seen again until almost a year later when Calvin Van Buskirk found it caught up in some debris downstream.
“What makes it even more interesting is we found a GoPro there last year. You guys [Global News] were able to get the images and the videos off it within hours it found its way back to its rightful owner,” Van Buskirk said.
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It took less than 24 hours for images retrieved from the camera to make their way around social media and back to their owner.
Kyla Irawan, Brianna’s mother, sent a message to Global News on Thursday afternoon through Facebook to say the photos had come from her daughter.
On Friday, Global News returned the camera — still in working order — to Brianna’s uncle, Travis Whiting, who is also Kelowna’s fire chief.
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The Irawans shared a message of gratitude with Van Buskirk.
“Thank you, Calvin, we totally appreciate your honesty,” said Kyla Irawan.
“Thank you for putting it on Global so I can give my daughter the opportunity to have all those memories back.”
For her part, Brianna said she can’t wait to see her FujiFilm XP model again.
“Soon as I get it, I’m going to transfer the photos” to a computer, she said.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Former UBC basketball assistant coach criticized for social media activity – The Province
Long-time assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp will no longer work next to head coach Kevin Hanson.
The University of B.C. is distancing itself from former assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp following questions about some of his activity on social media.
A Twitter account called Muted Madness pointed out on Thursday that Knopp had hit the like button on a video posted by conservative comedians the Hodge Twins on June 3 that claims the Black Lives Matter movement is a “leftist lie.”
A number of other Twitter users echoed the criticism of Knopp, who served as head coach Kevin Hanson’s volunteer assistant for the past two decades.
Later on Thursday, he shared a comment on his account, which is set to private: “So I never knew some likes to conservative posts would cause this shit storm? However my LIKES are those of mine and have nothing to do with UBC! I had told Coach Hanson months ago that I wasn’t returning to UBC but I just not (sic) made it public, only to my family.”
Reached via direct message on Friday, Knopp said he’d told Hanson about his decision in May as well as some parents on the team, but declined to make further comment.
Later on Thursday, Kavie Toor, UBC Athletics’ managing director, distanced the university from Knopp.
“Vern Knopp’s personal opinions, beliefs and social media endorsements do not represent the ideals and values of the UBC Thunderbirds. Vern Knopp is no longer a member of the Thunderbrids men’s basketball coaching staff,” he tweeted.
On Friday, the university’s athletics department declined to comment further.
The Alma Mater Society, a UBC students’ union, expressed support for the university’s position.
“The AMS is committed to supporting students from the Black community at this time, and we are actively working to develop programming to help combat anti-Black racism at UBC. The sentiments expressed by Mr. Knopp have absolutely no place at UBC, and society in general,” they said in a statement.
“We are encouraged to see that UBC Athletics and Recreation has taken a zero-tolerance approach to this issue.”
On Tuesday, the department shared a message on Twitter from university president Santa Ono.
“As Thunderbirds we join all of UBC in condemning racism in all forms. We are committed to an inclusive and respectful environment where we listen, learn and continue to grow together,” the department said in a tweet.
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Saskatoon police Cst. placed on leave in connection with 'concerning' social media posts – CKOM News Talk Sports
The Saskatoon Police Service has placed a constable on administrative leave regarding concerning posts on their personal social media account.
On Friday morning, police say they were notified about private posts that a member is accused of making on his personal social media account.
Police say the posts were harmful and offensive to the gender and sexually diverse community.
As a result, the member was immediately placed on administrative leave and an investigation was initiated regarding his conduct.
In a release, Chief of Police Troy Cooper said, “The relationship we have with the gender and sexually diverse community is incredibly important to the Saskatoon Police Service. I was to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”
The 12-year member will remain on administrative leave while an investigation takes place.
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