Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Feds will block transfer of Shaw wireless licences to Rogers

Industry, Science & Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he has concerns about Rogers’ $26-billion proposed takeover of Shaw Communications and won’t permit the transfer of Shaw’s wireless licences because it threatens competition. Rogers still has an eye on closing the deal within the first half of this year. Quebecor President & CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau took the opportunity to chime in saying “as it stands, the proposed Rogers-Shaw transaction is contrary to the public interest. As Bell, Rogers and Telus already control 90% of Canada’s wireless market, it is imperative that we create the necessary conditions for real competition in order to give consumers more choice, better prices, better services and more innovation.”

CTV has reached a settlement in its legal dispute with former Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader and current Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown as evidenced in a March 9 update to its Jan. 2018 story diving into allegations of sexual misconduct that ended Brown’s OPC leadership. The update states: “On January 24, 2018, four months before a Provincial election, CTV broadcast a segment concerning Patrick Brown. Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.” Brown, who denied the allegations, filed an $8M defamation suit against Bell Media following the broadcast.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has released its decision concerning a Sept. 2021 report broadcast on CTV National News about United States border patrols. The The report, about the treatment of border patrol officers towards migrants at the US-Mexico border, was introduced with “horrifying new video shows border agents on horseback charging at the migrants using reins as whips.”  A viewer complained that the introduction was inaccurate because there was no confirmation border agents had used their reins as whips. CTV pointed out that there was photographic evidence of the agents lashing out with whips and that the incident was now the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. The CBSC’s English-Language Panel examined the complaint under the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics and the News clause of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics, concluding CTV did not violate either of the codes. One panel member did, however, consider that the intro sensationalized the issue. 

The CRTC has posted nearly 400 public comments about whether Russian state broadcaster Russia Today (RT) should be allowed carriage on Canadian cable. Ethnic Channels Group, which originally sponsored the channel’s distribution in Canada, says no licensed cable or satellite TV provider in Canada is still carrying the channel as of last week. Meanwhile, CBC/Radio-Canada has ceased reporting from the ground in Russia following the passage of new legislation which appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has penned an open letter to Ottawa Police after several journalists covering the “Freedom Convoy” were denied access by law enforcement to areas where newsworthy events were taking place. The CAJ says this was in spite of having media credentials and other documentation, such as Parliament Hill passes. Among those denied or given delayed access were Globe and Mail reporter Marieka Walsh; Global News Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson; CTV Parliamentary reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver; investigative reporter Justin Ling; photojournalist Carlos Osorio; and NPR reporter Emma Jacobs. The CAJ says other reporters were threatened with arrest while simply doing their jobs.

CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait is among the recipients of this year’s Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Leadership Excellence Awards, which recognize those committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canada’s digital economy. Tait was named Woman of the Year, while Jennifer Chan, Director, Digital Ad Operations, Rogers Communications, was presented with the Mentorship award. Hadeer Hassaan, Vice President, Shared Services, Bell, was awarded the Trailblazer honor, while Liette Vigneault, Vice President, Talent & Employee Experience, Cogeco Communications, was named this year’s WCT Leader. 

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), in partnership with J-Schools Canada-Écoles-J Canada (JSC-ÉJC) and the Meta Journalism Project (MJP), has launched the new $200,000 Emerging Journalists Bursary Program. The initiative will provide JSC-ÉJC institutional members, representing 19 post-secondary journalism programs across Canada, with funding for up to 100 bursaries for their journalism students. The CJF will administer the program. The bursary is open to full- or part-time students in a journalism degree or diploma program offered by a JSC-ÉJC member. Students can use the bursary to participate in career development initiatives, as approved by their institution, during the 2022-23 academic year. JSC-ÉJC member programs are invited to apply for the bursary here.