Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Corus launches diversity review

Corus Entertainment has announced it’s initiating a review of the experiences of current and former employees who have come forward with allegations of a culture of racism and microagressions. Former Corus social media strategist Joshua Grant went public last week with his experiences at the company, including an incident in which he says he was asked to create a meme for Big Brother Canada based on civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick’s “Dream Crazy” NIKE ad. Grant alleges he was threatened with firing when he suggested it was inappropriate. ET Canada contributor Ika Wong also indicated that she did not wish to return in the current climate. “We want to listen carefully, understand their lived experiences and make any necessary changes,” Corus said in a statement. “In order to do so, we have retained an independent, external consultant from a company called DiversiPro, with expertise in workplace diversity and anti-Black racism.” Earlier this week, the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) and Canadian Journalists of Colour (CJOC) issued a joint statement saying they are especially concerned by the level of systemic racism “saturating” Canadian journalism and media. Read more here.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says editorializing during newscasts must be clearly represented. The CBSC has issued its decision following a listener complaint about a Dec. 2019 newscast on Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto, in which anchor David McKee inserted an editorial opinion into a story about streaming services. The report, on the federal government’s review of potentially imposing a tax on internet video streaming services, was introduced by McKee with the statement, “The libraries of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ could soon have more of a Canadian flavour that nobody watches or wants if the federal government gets its way.” Read more here. The National Post’s Colby Cosh responded with his own opinion piece on the CBSC decision.

RTDNA Canada has announced the winners of its National and Network Awards, as well as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners. They include CTV senior anchor Lisa LaFlamme and Global National Senior National Affairs Correspondent Eric Sorensen in the Network category, with Lifetime Achievement Award Winners also selected in each region. They include NTV anchor Glen Carter, retired CBC Charlottetown broadcaster Pat Martel, Global Toronto investigative reporter Sean O’Shea, retired CBC North Cree Unit veteran Emma Saganash, retired CTV Toronto anchor Ken Shaw, longtime CBC Yukon morning show host Sandi Coleman, CTV Lethbridge news director Terry Vogt, CBC Radio Saskatchewan producer Rosalie Woloski, CKNW Vancouver anchor Gord Macdonald, and former CTV Victoria bureau chief Ed Watson. Read more and find highlight reels, here.

Standard Media Index, which tracks monthly media ad-spending performance and pricing data, has launched in Canada. Standard promises to capture 94% of all national brand spend by aggregating and structuring all media spend from the billing systems of agency partners. SMI offers ad intelligence across all media types, including television, digital, out-of-home, print, and radio. SMI already operates in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

Innovation, Science and Industry Min. Navdeep Bains has announced a six-month postponement of the 3500 MHz spectrum auction process and its associated key dates to allow the telecommunications industry to maintain its focus on providing essential services to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The auction is now scheduled to start June 15, 2021. The ministry says it will continue to monitor COVID-19’s impact on the telecom industry and remains open to further changes to the timelines for spectrum auctions if necessary. Bains also announced a consultation on the 3800 MHz band, to be launched in August, that will give stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on how additional spectrum can be used to further support Canada’s wireless infrastructure.

CRTCThe CRTC has approved Bell’s plan for AI-assisted automated blocking of scam voice calls on a 90-day trial. The trial will leverage AI to analyze telecommunications traffic in order to flag anomalies that suggest possible fraudulent and scam activity. These anomalies would then be subject to review and, if fraudulent or scam activity is verified, Bell Canada and its affiliates would block subsequent related calls at the network level. With concerns from some intervenors about false positives, Bell has committed to implementing an automated unblocking process that would provide telecom service providers with a contact number to report and investigate those possible false positives.

The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld the constitutionality of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The Appeals court concluded that CASL falls within federal jurisdiction over trade and commerce and that if left to the provinces, the national approach would be jeopardized should spammers arrange to locate their servers in a jurisdiction with more lenient laws. The CRTC previously ruled on its constitutionality in 2017.