Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – CAJ condemns journalist attacks at hands of anti-mask protestors

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is condemning a series of attacks against journalists covering anti-mask protests in Quebec City and Montreal this past weekend and calling on police to sanction such behaviour. On Sunday, TVA journalist Kariane Bourassa was assaulted by two protesters who hugged her against her will while she was reporting in Quebec City. Both protesters were not wearing masks and ignored physical distancing rules when they interrupted her live broadcast. Bourassa tweeted a photo of the incident, expressing in French “NO, an unwanted ‘hug’ is no less worse than an insult or threats. Women journalists shouldn’t have to do their jobs by constantly looking over their shoulders to see if someone is going to fit ‘their bubble’.” The CAJ says at the same protest, Radio-Canada’s Hadi Hassin was the target of multiple insults, while on Saturday, TVA’s Yves Poirier had a beer can and a flurry of insults hurled at him by protesters while reporting on an anti-mask protest in Montreal. “The health and safety of journalists is paramount to a well-functioning democracy,” said CAJ President Brent Jolly, in a statement. “It is our hope that the police will respond to the seriousness of these acts in the days to come.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has released a new study that finds more than half of women journalists have experienced increased gender inequalities due to COVID-19. The IFJ survey, which polled 558 women journalists in 52 countries, found the increase in gender inequalities have led to deterioration of work/life balance (62%), and work responsibilities (42%). Among Canadian respondents almost six out of 10 said COVID-19 has increased gender inequalities in the industry, with eight out of 10 reporting an increase in stress due to lack of childcare, managing multiple duties while working from home, fear and psychological impact of covering the pandemic and concern over loss of work or income. Unifor has indicated its intention to launch its own membership survey to gauge the impact of working at home on all media workers.

LISTEN: Laith Marouf of the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) is our guest on the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast. Marouf, whose background is in community radio and television, has been fighting for more diversity in Canadian media for more than a decade and believes that any real change has to start with the CRTC and more transparency at the public broadcaster. To that end, CMAC has filed a procedural request to compel CBC to disclose detailed employment equity data as part of its licence renewal process. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

Dana Cramer

The CRTC has announced the 2020 winners of its CRTC Prize for Excellence in Policy Research, handed out in collaboration with the Canadian Communication Association (CCA), which aims to encourage a new generation of academics to contribute to Canada’s public policy development through research on emerging issues. In the Master’s category, Dana Cramer, University of Calgary, won for her paper: “Broadband between the lines: Alberta library policies in provincial broadband development.” In the PhD category, Tricia Toso, Concordia University, won for “Toward a reflective equilibrium: The colonial legacy and the role of reconciliation in telecommunications and broadcasting policy.” And in the Research category: Chris Tenove, University of British Columbia for “Protecting Democracy from Disinformation: Normative Threats and Policy Responses.”

Brad Danks

ANALYSIS: OutTV CEO Brad Danks has the third and final instalment of his series on Internet regulation and why he believes the CRTC should put the Yale Report recommendations into action. Read more here.

Bell says its Wireless Home Internet (WHI) service for rural Canada will increase internet download speeds to up to 50 Megabits per second and uploads to 10 Mbps (50/10) this fall while also expanding to rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada. The new 50/10 WHI service will initially be offered to approximately 300,000 homes in 325 communities in Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces, including the communities of Selwyn, Trent Hills and Wilmot, ON; Dunham, Messines, Saint Adolphe d’Howard and Sutton in Québec; Doaktown, NB; Guysborough, NS; Kensington, PEI; and Burgeo, NL.  

Shaw is getting set to launch its Shaw Mobile brand on July 30, which will be exclusive to B.C. and Alberta. Few details have been released, other than promising to feature “the most advanced iPhones ever.” Prospective customers are being encouraged to sign up, to learn more.