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Watchdog: Pandemic worsening threat to global media freedom – News Talk 650 CKOM

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PARIS — Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders is sounding the alarm that the coronavirus pandemic poses a threat for press freedom around the world.

In its annual evaluation of global media freedoms, the group warned Tuesday that the health crisis could serve as an excuse for governments “to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times.”

North Korea ranked bottom of the group’s press freedom index. As in 2019, Norway again topped its ranking of 180 countries and territories.

Overall, the report judged press freedom to be “satisfactory” in the United States, but also said “public denigration, threats, and harassment of journalists continued to be a serious problem” last year. The U.S. ranked 45th on the group’s list, behind countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report highlighted U.S. President Donald Trump’s hostility toward some journalists and media outlets and said his oft-deployed “fake news” phrase “has now been deployed by leaders around the world as a tool to crack down on the media.”

“Hostility toward journalists and news outlets in the United States deepened and intensified, and few attacks were as vitriolic as those that came from the president,” the group said. “The abuse is only getting worse amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, as journalists covering the Trump administration’s response to the crisis are subjected to the president’s attacks during his press briefings.”

Other threats to the future of journalism are economic, with job cuts gutting newsrooms, the group said. And the weak regulation of digital technologies has “created information chaos,” blurring lines between fact, fiction, propaganda and advertising.

“The pandemic has amplified the spread of rumours and fake news as quickly as the virus itself,” the report noted.

“For this decisive decade to not be a disastrous one, people of goodwill, whoever they are, must campaign for journalists to be able to fulfil their role as society’s trusted third parties,” it said.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

The Associated Press

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Social media, music world go dark for Black Out Tuesday – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press


Published Tuesday, June 2, 2020 7:03PM EDT


Last Updated Tuesday, June 2, 2020 7:06PM EDT

NEW YORK – Though Black Out Tuesday was originally organized by the music community, the social media world also went dark in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining voices around the world outraged by the killings of black people in the U.S.

Instagram and Twitter accounts, from top record label to everyday people, were full of black squares posted in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Most of the captions were blank, though some posted #TheShowMustBePaused, black heart emojis or encouraged people to vote Tuesday with seven states and the District of Columbia are hosting the largest slate of presidential primary elections in almost three months.

Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Radiohead, Coldplay, Kelly Rowland, Beastie Boys and were among the celebrities to join Black Out Tuesday on social media.

“I won’t be posting on social media and I ask you all to do the same,” Britney Spears tweeted. “We should use the time away from our devices to focus on what we can do to make the world a better place …. for ALL of us !!!!!”

Spotify blacked out the artwork for several of its popular playlists, including RapCaviar and Today’s Top Hits, simply writing “Black lives matter.” as its description. The streaming service also put its Black Lives Matter playlist on its front page, featuring songs like James Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” N.W.A.’s “(Expletive) the Police,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.”

 

 

A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:06am PDT

The opening pages of Apple Music and iTunes focused on supporting Black Lives Matter, and SiriusXM said it will be silencing its music channels for three minutes at 3 p.m. EDT in tribute to “all of the countless victims of racism.”

The company said it “will continue to amplify Black voices by being a space where Black artists showcase their music and talents, and by carrying the message that racism will not be tolerated.”

Some on social media questioned if posting black squares would divert attention away from posts about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“this is the 4th completely different flyer i’ve seen for it,” Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani tweeted about Black Out Tuesday. “”this is the only one without the saying go completely silent for a day in solidarity. the messages are mixed across the board and i really hope it doesn’t have a negative effect.“

When musician Dillon Francis posted that the hashtag for Black Lives Matter was blank on Instagram because users were posting black squares, rapper Lil Nas X responded with: “this is not helping us. bro who the (expletive) thought of this?? ppl need to see what’s going on.”

Emma Watson posted three white squares followed by three black squares with captions reading #blackouttuesday and #amplifyblackvoices on her Instagram account to show her support Tuesday. But she was heavily criticized, and began to trend on Twitter, for adding white borders around her black squares to match the esthetic of her Instagram page. Others called the actress out for speaking out too late about Black Lives Matter and for not including links to guide users on where they can learn more information about the cause or donate to it.

Several music releases and events were postponed as a result of Black Out Tuesday. Interscope Geffen A&M Records said it would not release music this week and pushed back releases from MGK, 6lack, Jessie Ware, Smokepurp and others. Chloe x Halle said its sophomore album will come out June 12 instead of Friday, while the group Glass Animals postponed the Tuesday release of its new single “Heat Waves.” Instead of being released Wednesday, singer Ashnikko will drop her song “Cry” and its video on June 17.

A benefit for the Apollo Theater will take place Thursday instead of Tuesday, and South by Southwest postponed an event planned with Rachael Ray.

“At SXSW we stand with the black community and will continue to amplify the voices and ideas that will lead us to a more equitable society,” the company said.

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Trump sued over executive order targeting social media companies – BNNBloomberg.ca

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President Donald Trump’s order targeting social media companies was challenged in court by a non-profit group that claims the edict violates free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Trump’s order, issued on Thursday, might undermine the legal protections enjoyed by social media companies including Twitter and Facebook. He asked federal regulators to look at provisions, contained in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, that insulate the companies from liability for content posted by users.

The order followed on the heels of Twitter’s decision to add fact-check labels to two of Trump’s tweets. Twitter also restricted a post by the president suggesting that protesters who engaged in looting would be met with violence. Legal observers have said Trump lacks the power to modify Section 230 by executive order.

The Center for Democracy and Technology sued in Washington federal court Tuesday, claiming the order is an unconstitutional retaliation against Twitter and that it seeks to discourage other companies and individuals from disagreeing with the government.

The case is Center for Democracy and Technology v. Trump, 20-cv-01456, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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Tech-rights group sues Trump to stop social-media order – CTV News

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NEW YORK —
A tech-focused civil liberties group on Tuesday sued to block U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order that seeks to regulate social media, saying it violates the First Amendment and chills speech.

Trump’s order, signed last week, could allow more lawsuits against internet companies like Twitter and Facebook for what their users post, tweet and stream.

The order was more political than substantive, with many experts questioning whether it was constitutional. The president aimed to rally his supporters after Twitter put fact checks on two of his tweets. Trump, without evidence, has long accused tech companies of being biased against conservatives.

The order targets current law — you may have heard recent references to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — that protects internet companies from lawsuits. They can’t be sued for hosting videos and posts from users, or for moderating their services, with some exceptions.

In its suit, the Center for Democracy and Technology said that Trump’s executive order violates the First Amendment because it attacks Twitter for putting the fact checks on the president’s tweets, which CDT said is Twitter’s right as a private company. More broadly, the order is trying to curb speech of all online platforms and people “by demonstrating the willingness to use government authority to retaliate against those who criticize the government,” CDT said.

“The government cannot and should not force online intermediaries into moderating speech according to the president’s whims,” said Alexandra Givens, CDT’s CEO, in an emailed statement. The organization filed the federal suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

There was pushback against Trump’s order from various sources. Tech industry groups, unsurprisingly, said it was bad for innovation and speech. Civil rights and libertarian organizations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also criticized Trump’s order.

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