David Akin - November 1st, 2014
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister John Baird to his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on October 28, 2014, as the Secretary visited to pay condolences following last week’s attacks and for a series of bilateral meetings. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
This Sunday, we will mark the first ever International Day To End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, an initiative of the UN General Assembly
. This is a good idea. But I would say that. I’m a journalist. Who once had thugs hired by Egypt’s secret police put a machete to my chest and the chest of my TVA cameraman. It all turned out Ok for the two of us but for way, way, way too many journalists around the world, bad things happen.
Now, I’ve got some issues with the way U.S. President Barack Obama tries to control the press, eavesdrop on the press, and otherwise work hard to interfere with the work of reporters in his capital. That said, I’m very happy to see this statement from his Secretary of State John Kerry. (Haven’t seen anything similar from any Canadian official) Read more…
David Akin - October 20th, 2014
Your correspondent, working hard to pay his bills, by reporting from the Elysée Palace in Paris, France in 2013.
If you are reading this blog and you scroll down the column on the right side, you will see a section titled “Disclosure and Fine Print”. I believe it is important for journalists to be upfront with their readers and viewers about potential blind spots or potential conflicts of interest. In my experience — working in the newsrooms of Global National, Postmedia, CTV National News, The Globe and Mail, National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and, now, Sun Media – those who report the news are not setting out to seek an angle that will benefit them or their pals.
So even though there’s never been (so far as I know) some scandal where a Canadian journalist was abusing his or her position to feather his or her nest, I’ve had this “disclosure” statement at my blog for years now.
But because income splitting looks to be a potential significant issue in the upcoming 2015 general election campaign, I feel that I should be upfront with readers and viewers and provide this additional disclosure. Read more…
David Akin - October 9th, 2014
Earlier today, the 300 or so members of Canada’s Parliamentary Press Gallery received the following notice in their e-mail inboxes:
CANADIAN COPYRIGHT LAWS
October 9, 2014
The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery is troubled by reports the government is considering an exception to Canadian copyright laws that would give parties free reign in using news content for political advertisements.
Journalists report facts and balance them with context to ensure their stories are fair. Political ads, particularly during election campaigns, are by nature one-sided. Giving political parties the ability to selectively use news stories runs counter to the neutrality we strive to provide to Canadians every day.
The proposal is not yet formal. We await further details.
President, Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery
As a member of the Gallery (and a former member of its board of directors), I believe it is a premature to be issuing a statement. Here’s why: Read more…
David Akin - October 16th, 2013
This ad — which the Conservative Party of Canada aired on TV during the 2006 election in a successful attempt to unseat Liberal prime minister Paul Martin — still makes me laugh. Beep Beep! See? You’re smiling, aren’t you?
After all, I’m a sophisticated Media Elite and the production values alone on this ad are enough to make one roll one’s eyes, followed by a condescending chuckle. And don’t get me started on the candidate’s hair! Why it looks like it was done in a hair salon in Wadena! (Media Elites will all get that joke; I’m so sorry you won’t).
And, I must say, as a Media Elite, I laughed at a lot of things Paul Wells had to say about today’s throne speech. Not only, in my estimation, was he right in his assessment of today’s Speech from the Throne, he was witty and right. That’s not easy to do, folks. And since I’ve got over feeling jealous that I didn’t write what he did, I’m now happy to quote from this piece: “In April, 2006, after the Harper Conservatives first formed a government, they made a great show of delivering one of the shortest Throne Speeches in modern times: 2,445 words, the equivalent of a mere three Jeffrey Simpson columns.” (Again: Apologies for including a joke intended largely only for Media Elites who still read Simpson.) That’s just the second sentence of Paul’s piece but I’m sure a sly grin had already spread across Paul’s face at that point as he warmed up to his topic. And, of course, I realize I shouldn’t giggle. Simpson and I once got paycheques from the same paymaster. The Media Elite world is a small one. But still. Read more…