Press freedom takes a hit in Quebec

Link between police and courts called into question

by Emilee Gilpin & Matt Gilmour
@emileeguevara ; @MGilmourMTL

Canada prides itself on being a country where individual rights and the freedoms of thought and expression serve as pillars of a liberal democracy. Yet, recent revelations that police have tapped the phones of journalists indicate that those freedoms are under attack in Quebec.

An investigation into the relationship between police and the courts reveals that changes to the legal system may be necessary in order to protect journalists’ rights.

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Reporting from war zones

High-tech communications have left journalists more connected, but introduce a new set of risks

by Patrick Cahill & Michael Boriero

A cool sea spray floats through the air, guided by a gentle breeze. The tall ship’s creaking timbers, fluttering sails, and cursing sailors go unheeded. The courier eyes the coast, thumbing critical documents that he has carried for weeks, ones that could potentially change the course of history.

In the early 19th century, breaking news took so long to travel that entire battles — the Battle of New Orleans comes to mind — were sometimes fought before the combatants learned a treaty had already been signed.

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Why is journalism ignoring a warming Earth?

Lacklustre reporting does not meet the rigours of scientific evaluation

by Jeremy Glass-Pilon & Solène Jonveaux

The scientific evidence is irrefutable: 97 per cent of climate researchers agree that climate change is real and due to human activities. Yet an Ipsos poll done at the end of 2015 shows that just 13 per cent of Canadians and 12 per cent of Americans identified climate change as a priority when asked about important policy issues.

What part does journalism play in all this? Most scientists agree that even though the volume of reporting has increased over the last few years, conventional journalism has missed the mark when it comes to reporting on climate science. The content and scientific validity of these reports has been, for the most part, sorely inadequate.

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Habs on the offence

The Canadiens franchise is too testy with some members of the sports media, critics say

by Lucas Napier-Macdonald & Matthew Parizot

The Montreal Canadiens are under a lot of stress. Despite an impressive start to the season, the team has been dealing with an irate fan base generated largely by the P.K. Subban trade, so much so that in the annual Ultimate Standings ranking from ESPN, the Habs dropped 44 places to number 98 among 122 major pro teams in North America.

“The Canadiens’ drop in the rankings is largely based on the fans’ perception of the team,” wrote Gazette sports columnist Pat Hickey in October. “Some of it is unfair, but it speaks to a feeling of resentment from some elements of the fan base.”

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Stress in today’s newsroom

Downsizing, deadlines, multitasking — journalists are looking for ways to cope

by Coco Caron-Delas & Joshua De Costa
@joshuadecosta21

Ten years ago, a reporter would go out to cover a story with a cameraperson in tow. Afterwards, the team would return to the newsroom to craft and edit the final piece.

Today, that same journalist can simply head out alone with his or her cellphone, and, before the story is even written, will have tweeted fragments of it, filed an early draft online, and perhaps even provided audio and video for his or her publication’s website. Even once a story is written, the online version demands constant updating.

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Burying Indigenous survivors’ voices

Inquiry will examine the difficulties women face being heard

by Nahka Bertrand & Safia Ahmad
@Safs_OnTheGo

Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander were reported missing from Maniwaki, a town near the Kitigan Zibi reserve located in southwestern Québec, in the autumn of 2008. As of now, the Indigenous teenagers have not been found.

Fifteen-year-old Tina Fontaine’s body was found wrapped in a duvet cover and stuffed in a bag weighted by rocks on a sunny day in the summer of 2014. Media coverage of the teenager’s disappearance and death—she grew up Sagkeeng First Nation near Winnipeg, Manitobawas extensive and prompted the Canadian Human Rights Commission to push for an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada (MMIW).

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How Montreal newspapers cover sexual assault

There’s a price to be paid for going public

by Cecilia Keating & Aislinn May
@ckeating14

In an open letter published in Le Devoir in late October, alleged sexual assault victim Alice Paquet wrote how she had “lost control of her story and its interpretation” since going public with her claims a few days before. “First I was presented as a confused girl, then as a former prostitute,” she wrote. “Everything was done to erode the strength and credibility of my word.”

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Can women find parity in Canadian newsrooms?

The lack of females in managerial posts is a nationwide phenomenon

by Gethraa Shan

Is gender a barrier in Canadian newsrooms? Since Canadian women began entering the workforce — education and birth control both played a part beginning in the 1960s — newsrooms were no longer the sole province of the cigarette-smoking, hard-drinking white male journalist.

But even though the number of women in media across the country has increased since then and one can boast gender parity at an organization like Radio Canada, women continue to struggle to become decision-makers in newsrooms as top editors or publishers.

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Freedom from what?

Toronto professor claims free speech is being attacked by recent Bill

by Noé Sainderichin

Freedom from discrimination or freedom of expression — those are the choices arguably under threat that have led to tumult at the University of Toronto, and conversation in universities across the country.

The sometimes heated debates were spurred by a series of YouTube videos created by psychology professor Jordan Peterson, who critiqued the language used in Bill C-16, an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act that has recently passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons and which intends to legally define gender-based discrimination. In them, the U of T professor spoke about his refusal to use non-binary pronouns — words others than “he” and “she” — and criticized “political correctness.”

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Have Wikileaks and the media parted ways?

The whistleblower website has been accused of partnering with Russian intelligence

by Noé Sainderichin

Wikileaks, the site that has become infamous for publishing confidential information about government wrongdoing, once did so through accredited publications. When Wikileaks began releasing secret U.S. documents and files in 2010, it relied on The Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel. The credibility of these outlets gave legitimacy to the website and its founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

The American government criticized the leaks for endangering the country’s national security, but the news media saw them as a powerful weapon of information. As it gained international fame, the whistleblower website started to publish independently.

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