Han Dong says he plans to pursue legal action against Global News and Corus Entertainment following the network’s published allegations that the Toronto area MP suggested delaying the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to a Chinese diplomat in early 2021. Global’s report, citing anonymous sources, alleges that the Member of Parliament for Don Valley North – who resigned from the Liberal caucus last week – told Han Tao, China’s consul general in Toronto, that releasing “the two Michaels” would benefit the Conservatives. In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday morning, Dong said he had retained a lawyer “to begin legal action to its fullest extent.” Global News is standing by its reporting with Sonia Verma, Editor in Chief and VP of Global News, saying the network is “very mindful of the public interest and legal responsibility of this important accountability reporting.” Read more here.
Jody Vance has filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the man who earlier this month pleaded guilty to criminal harassment in connection with hundreds of abusive and threatening emails and online posts. Vance, co-host of The Steele and Vance Show on CHEK TV in Victoria and a fill-in host on Vancouver’s 980 CKNW, alleges Richard Sean Oliver engaged in “an ongoing and relentless campaign of harassment, infliction of mental suffering, invasion of privacy and defamation.” Vance hopes the civil suit will set a precedent for consequences for harassment of journalists, seeking general, aggravated and punitive damages, and special costs the court deems just.
The CRTC has ruled that Rogers gave itself and its own sports channels undue preference by refusing to carry OneSoccer, which holds broadcast rights to Canada’s National Men’s and Women’s Soccer, World Cup qualifying games and Canadian Premier League matches. The complaint was first brought about last summer alleging that Rogers refused to carry OneSoccer because it was concerned about competition with its own Sportsnet channels. Rogers maintained its refusal was tied to the channel’s limited appeal to viewers. TELUS, which has carried the channel since 2021, urged the commission to investigate the refusal. The commission says by refusing to grant OneSoccer linear distribution, Rogers is not treating OneSoccer in the same fashion as comparable services that have such distribution. Both parties must submit proposed resolutions by April 11.
The CRTC is launching a consultation to improve its Broadband Fund, which helps bring high-speed internet and mobile service to communities across Canada. The commission is proposing to make the application process faster and easier, in addition to creating a new funding stream for Indigenous communities and projects that would increase the reliability of rural and remote networks. The CRTC is accepting comments until July 21.
The Competition Bureau says it would be inappropriate to speculate on when its investigation into Google’s online display advertising practices might be concluded, as Unifor pushes the bureau to follow the lead of the U.S. and European Union by pursuing legal action. Unifor, which represents 12,000 journalists and media workers, wrote to Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell earlier this week questioning whether there has been any movement within the agency to release its findings. The investigation, which began in the fall of 2021, was to determine if Google is impeding the success of competitors, resulting in higher prices and reduced choice, hindering innovation for ad tech services, and harming advertisers, publishers and consumers. A spokesperson for the Competition Bureau could not confirm to Broadcast Dialogue whether the digital giant is cooperating or the status of the investigation, citing confidentiality. Read more here.
Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the union representing TVO journalists, content creators, and education workers, is outraged at the salary increases TVO management received last year, as disclosed in the Ontario public sector “Sunshine List.” CMG says while management is telling the union they can’t afford to give TVO/CMG employees anything more than 1.5% annual pay increases, raises for senior management were all above inflation in 2022. TVO’s CEO Jeffrey Orridge made just shy of $300,000, a 10% increase over his 2021 salary, while Vice-President of Programming and Content John Ferri earned almost 11% more in 2022: $210,315. CMG says many of TVO’s unionized workers are struggling to make ends meet. TVO/CMG employees voted in support of a strike mandate last month.
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the union representing professional performers who make commercials in Canada, has launched a national consumer boycott of union busting brands, accusing them of putting profits over people. Since April 26 of last year, ACTRA says the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) has declined to renew the National Commercial Agreement, a collective agreement preserving the minimum rights and protections of performers in the commercial industry. ACTRA has also launched a campaign targeting the federal government demanding it end its contractual arrangement with Cossette Media, one of the agencies that has locked out ACTRA performers. The union’s complaint is currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) Lifetime Achievement Award honouree this year is Haroon Siddiqui in recognition of his decades-long career in Canadian journalism and his commitment to diversity, journalistic integrity and social justice. An Editorial Page Editor Emeritus and former columnist at the Toronto Star, Siddiqui is a Senior Fellow at Massey College. His memoir, My Name is Not Harry, is due this fall from Dundurn Press. Siddiqui will be honoured at the CJF Awards ceremony on June 13 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Career Day 2023 took place at Corus Quay in Toronto on May 9 featuring speed mentoring, panel discussions, and opportunities for soon-to-graduate students to speak candidly with experienced broadcasters. Among the broadcasters who volunteered their time to speak with students were Paul Agresta, Miranda Anthistle, Jeremiah Braithwaite, Jody Brooker, Harpreet Buttar, Chris Byrnes, Alex Cairns, Isaac Callan, Zachary Camp, Samantha Capizzano, Briana Carnegie, Carla Cerqueiro, Jordan Chakravarty, Andrea Coleman, Mohammed Fahim, Meredith Geddes, Wendy Gray, Rob Johnston, Rick Lee, Marco Lima, Patrick Malkin, Andrew Mallon, Logan Miller, Gabriel Munro, Doug Murphy, Mike Perdue, Chris Pottage, Emily Quesnelle, Alanna Rizza, Jordan Schwartz, Alex Seixeiro, Amar Sodhi, Ian Solecki, and Dan Wylie.
The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) is accepting nominations until Friday, March 31 for the WAB Awards of Excellence. Did your station support a changemaking local initiative this year? The Gold Medal Award for Community Service seeks to recognize the efforts and positive impacts of broadcasters in their communities. Did your station have an exciting digital breakthrough? The Gold Medal Award for Digital Innovation applauds creative use of non-traditional platforms to support radio and/or television. Is your under-30 coworker a superstar? Nominate them for the Leaders of Tomorrow Award. Know a distinguished industry veteran? Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductions recognize private broadcasters who have 30+ years in the industry and continue to exhibit unwavering commitment. Registration is open for the 87th annual WAB Conference, June 7-8.
The BC Association of Broadcasters’ (BCAB) 73rd Conference is open for early registration until March 31. Taking place at the River Rock Casino Resort on May 4, the event returns after a three-year absence featuring Jim Pattison Group Chairman & CEO Jimmy Pattison as its keynote speaker, among others. Early registration includes a 20% discount on conference fees.