These are the stories we’re watching over the next week. Here is your Weekly Wire:
- The RCMP revealed top secret files to the CBC and Toronto Star to make its case for broader surveillance powers, including the authority to force people to unlock their phones and for telecoms to provide subscriber information upon request. Police brass made its appeal in the wake of police surveillance against La Presse columnist Patrick Legacé, and demands for protective shield laws by press freedom advocates. For the RRJ’s take, read Kieran Delamont’s perspective on Canadian press freedom.
- Mark Lever, president and CEO of Halifax’s ailing Chronicle Herald—whose striking staff was covered by the RRJ’s Brennan Doherty last week—passionately testified before House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, calling journalism “the food supply of our democracy”. He asked the Committee to support local newspapers via ad buys and funding, echoing Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey’s request for newspaper subsidies.
- For the second time in as many weeks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to—what else?—Facebook to address a barrage of criticism over fake news during the recent U.S. election. Zuckerberg claimed “more than 99 per cent of what people see is authentic,” but since getting rid of Facebook’s editorial team and letting the infamous algorithm take over, that less-than-one-percent has been no small source of trouble.
- Several prominent Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, and Yann Martel, signed an open letter raising questions over UBC’s controversial dismissal of Steven Galloway. The former chair of UBC’s creative writing program and author of The Cellist of Sarajevo was suspended last November amid “serious allegations” of harassment, duly covered by The Walrus, and let go in June. The Canlit community is far from unified in its support, though.
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