Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – APTN’s Kenneth Jackson wins Press Freedom Award

Kenneth Jackson

APTN reporter/producer Kenneth Jackson is the winner of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) 2020 Press Freedom Award for his work relentlessly pursuing information on the fate of Indigenous children who died in care in Ontario. The award annually recognizes Canadian media workers who produce public-interest journalism, while overcoming secrecy, intimidation or other efforts to thwart their work. Jackson’s reporting entailed tracking down relatives on the streets of Thunder Bay, filing access to information requests, and going to court to get access to files in civil lawsuits. Editorial cartoonist Michael de Adder and freelance journalist and author Joan Baxter received honourable mentions. This year’s Spencer Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to David Pugliese, who covers the military beat for The Ottawa Citizen and has been a frequent challenger of the Department of National Defence record on Access to Information. 

J-Source, the site run by the donor-supported Canadian Journalism Project, is the recipient of the new Michener-L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship for Journalism Education. It’s been awarded $40,000 to support the launch of the Canadian Press Freedom Project, championed by editor-in-chief Sonya Fatah, publisher Christopher Waddell, former managing editor H.G. Watson, and managing editor Steph Wechsler. Similar to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the J-Source/Canada Press Freedom Project will track examples where press freedom is threatened across the country, with the goal to create a database documenting violations of press freedom.

The Michener Awards Foundation has also announced the finalists for the 2019 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. This year’s finalists include CBC News, The Globe and Mail, The London Free Press, The Halifax Examiner, La Presse, and the Institute for Investigative Journalism. Read more here.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University (CFE), News Media Canada and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) has awarded its annual Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Intended to call attention to governments, government departments and agencies that put extra effort into denying public access to information, Environment and Climate Change Canada was singled out for a seven-month delay in fulfilling a request from Ottawa Citizen journalist Tom Spears. In the lead-up the federal election, Spears filed an Access to Information request wanting to know if Environment and Climate Change Canada had timed the release of research showing Canada is warming at double the global rate to coincide with their new carbon tax taking effect. 

CBC News has launched the Lives Remembered project, gathering information to learn who is being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A team of dedicated journalists has been building a database of Canadians whose deaths have been linked to the pandemic.

StingrayStingray Group Inc. has acquired Marketing Sensorial México (MSM), the Mexican leader in point-of-sale marketing solutions. As the current partner of Stingray Business for the 1,500 pharmacy locations and additional 1,500 medical clinics operated by Farmacias del Ahorro in Mexico, MSM specializes in digital signage content production, in-store music and the sale and/or lease of audio and visual equipment. The company serves customers in a range of industries including banking, retail pharmacy and automotive with clients like Grupo Financiero Santander México, Scotiabank México and BMW. Stingray says the strategic acquisition supports its growth strategy by offering Stingray Business customers a “one-stop” shop for digital signage, customized background music, custom messaging and AI-driven customer feedback. Under terms of the acquisition agreement, Stingray will fully own and operate MSM’s assets with the continued support and direction of the company’s current leadership team. 

TELUS has won the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Americas award for Most Effective Recovery for its response to the 2019 wildfires in Northern Alberta. The BCI Awards recognize business continuity and resilience during times of crisis. With 604,946 hectares of forest decimated before being brought under control, TELUS infrastructure had tremendous exposure to the wildfires. TELUS’ Corporate Business Continuity Office activated its cross-functional crisis management team for a total of 17 days, leveraging experience from previous wildfire seasons and strategically prioritizing maintenance and restoration of affected telecom networks and emergency services to ensure first responders could communicate while in the field and customers and potential evacuees could receive emergency notifications and stay in contact with loved ones. TELUS also supported the community during the crisis with $750,000 in kind and through donations, including donating devices and tablets to evacuees, waiving mobility overages, delivering comfort kits to evacuation centres, and more than 7,000 volunteer hours in support of relief efforts.

Bell MTS is expanding its all-fibre broadband network to approximately 800 homes and business locations throughout the Town of La Salle, MB in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald. Fully funded by Bell MTS, the new network will deliver Internet access speeds of up to 1.5 Gigabits per second. Construction is set to begin in June, with the first customer connections expected this summer. La Salle joins over 30 communities across the province that now have access to Bell MTS fibre with expansion to Flin Flon and Churchill also anticipated this summer, in addition to approximately 275,000 homes and businesses in Winnipeg.