Media Beat: March 21, 2018

Crown still reviewing whether to charge Radio-Canada reporter who requested interview

Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions is still mulling over whether to file charges against a reporter who was arrested after contacting someone for an interview.

Radio-Canada journalist Antoine Trépanier was arrested by police in Gatineau, Que. on March 13 after a “criminal harassment complaint” was lodged by a woman, Yvonne Dubé, whom Trépanier was investigating over allegations that she falsely portrayed herself as a lawyer and practiced without a license.

Trépanier's managers at Radio-Canada have said that he was carrying out the obligations of a journalist, both ethically and legally, to ensure the subject of his investigation was aware of the allegations against her and had every chance to comment. The incident has prompted criticism that arresting reporters will harm freedom of the press. The Canadian Association of Journalists has condemned the arrest, but Gatineau police director Mario Harel has defended his department's decision.

Trépanier was not charged upon his arrest and has been released after promising he will appear in court on June 20. Gatineau police said the Crown would have to decide whether to file charges. Crown spokesman Jean Pascal Boucher said in an interview Monday that no decision had been taken yet.

“When we receive a file, we have to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence and the opportunity to lay (a) charge,” said Boucher. “We have to make an objective evaluation of the evidence. So for the moment, it’s too soon.” – Carl Meyer, National Observer

Facebook strikes more music licensing deals

The company has secured the licenses to songs represented by French PRO Sacem to cover user-generated content on the platform as well as Messenger, Instagram and its virtual reality group Oculus. The deal follows agreements with the Big Three record companies and suggests that Facebook is stepping up in its bid to remain relevant and extend user-engagement at a time when its user numbers are under siege from a variety of other social media sites. It also brings it one step closer to increased rivalry with YouTube. – FP

Google launches news initiative to support media, combat fake news

Google is putting phoney news in its crosshairs as it rolls out a news initiative aimed at stopping the spread of misinformation and helping publishers attract more subscribers.

The technology company said Tuesday it will spend $392M over the next three years on the initiative, which will involve prioritizing “quality” publishers, making it easier to subscribe to news publications and educating readers on how to spot misleading reports.

The subscription features will be rolled out to 17 launch partners, including the New York Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Telegraph. None of the launch partners are located in Canada, but Google promised more publishers are coming soon – Canadian Business

Canada's privacy watchdog launches investigation into Facebook after allegations of data leak

Canada's privacy watchdog has launched an investigation into Facebook after a series of media reports alleged that private online information belonging to millions of Americans was obtained by a company working on U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign.

"We have received a complaint against Facebook in relation to allegations involving Cambridge Analytica and have therefore opened a formal investigation," Canada's Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said in a statement.

Therrien launched his investigation a day after NDP MPs Charlie Angus, Matthew Dubé and Brian Masse wrote to him asking the commissioner to look into whether the private data of Canadians using social media is safe. – CBC News

Morneau says Canada will study taxing tech giants

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Canada recognizes the potential disruption major technology companies can have on government revenue and will examine whether a new tax regime is required for the industry.

Digital taxation could impact companies such as Amazon.com Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc. and Neftlix Inc., and was discussed at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires this week as the European Union considers imposing a levy on online companies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week the Trump administration “firmly opposes” the measure. – Bloomberg News

After Cambridge Analytica, politicians must act to save the web

It is clear that the data sucked out of our connected devices can easily be used to deduce our political orientation. Whoever accesses that data, therefore, controls the most powerful political technology ever created. Part of the problem is that both the informational superstructure and the data substructure of our age lie in the hands of the so-called private superpowers, such as Facebook and Google, which have never fully acknowledged their responsibilities, still less lived up to them. – Matthew Ingram, FP

The podcasting juggernaut has (finally) arrived

For-profit podcasting is now matching and even eclipsing public radio in terms of ambition and budgets. It might have started out producing small indie movies, but now it’s regularly putting out serious blockbusters aimed at a mass audience. – Felix Salmon, Wired

'World's first' 24hr radio station broadcast from pub launches

Boogaloo Radio, the world’s alleged "first and only" 24/7 online station broadcast inside a pub, has launched, along with a host of renowned presenters that have an "unapologetic love for good music and good stories". – The Morning Advertiser

RIP

Barrie Clark, a former Kelowna city councillor and local radio talk show host, has died after a brief battle with cancer.

Clark, who started his radio career in Kelowna in 1949 after graduating from KSS, passed away Friday at the age of 86, according to friends who posted the news on the internet.

Well-known in Kelowna for both his popular radio talk show on the former CKOV station from 1989 to 1999 and his subsequent years as a city councillor (1999 to 2008), Clark had an extensive history in radio in the Lower Mainland, as well as a stint in Ontario. He worked in London, England with Reuters News Agency in 1954, before his return to Kelowna in 1988. – Salmon Arm Observer

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