Kendrick

Stop the presses Newspapers snubbed in Liberal governments cultural policy

VANCOUVER — The Canadian government’s new cultural strategy all but snubs so-called legacy media, industry experts say, and left out some key measures that could have given a boost to struggling newspapers expected in the lead-up to the long-awaited announcement.“I’m disappointed that the minister didn’t spell out more specifically her support for news media in Canada,” said Bob Cox, chair of News Media Canada, a group representing more than 800 print and digital media titles in the country.He was one of several voices lobbying the government to grow the Canadian Periodical Fund, which supports magazines, periodicals and local newspapers, from $75 million a year to $350 million.But Heritage Minister Melanie Joly left little doubt Thursday that the Liberal government finds little favour with traditional print news models.“Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable,” she said. Instead, the government will focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and the transition to digital platforms.The new framework doesn’t increase the amount of money in the fund, but will expand who is eligible to receive money, such as digital-only periodicals.All that means, says Cox, is that more organizations will be fighting over an already limited amount of money.“We didn’t get anything we were asking for,” he said.The group will make recommendations to the department about how to restructure the fund and how to support innovation and transition going forward, Cox said.Ottawa is ignoring an ongoing crisis in Canadian newsrooms, he said, and the onus remains on newspapers to create solutions and reinvent themselves as newsrooms are racked with layoffs and dwindling ad revenues.“The idea that there should be public support for our newsrooms is really off the table now and that’s disappointing,” he said.The government’s commitment to news media through changes to the periodical fund is quite vague, said April Lindgren, an associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in Toronto.“I think that they’re taking a very much hands off let the market sort it out approach,” she said, adding that public opinion is divided on government subsidies to news media.She thought the federal government might embrace some tax changes to make it easier for news organizations to operate as non-profit organizations and receive funding from foundations.Removing obstacles to philanthropic financing was one of several recommendations that came out of a report from the Public Policy Forum in January. The minister ordered the study as part of a broader review of Canada’s media landscape.Lindgren said she’s surprised the government didn’t make such changes.While the policies relating to news media are vague at this point, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey gleaned some positive elements.“Some of the things I’m pleased with is some consideration being given to innovation and experimentation,” he said.The government said it “will give consideration to ways to better support innovation, business development, start-ups and export,” which it will present next year.Postmedia is actively involved in innovation, Godfrey said, pointing to the organization’s launch of a digital development lab at Communitech Hub in Waterloo, Ont., in 2016. A development team there focuses on developing products for the company’s digital portfolio, among other things.While it’s unclear whether any funding will be made available or what the guidelines for it would be, Godfrey said he hopes Postmedia would qualify for any funding available.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter read more

Education crucial to engender a culture of peace UN officials stress at

“Through education, we teach children not to hate. Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion. Through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the event, which is bringing together representatives of civil society and diplomats to discuss the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.Adopted by the General Assembly in 1999, the Programme includes actions aimed at fostering a culture of peace through education – such as ensuring that children, from an early age, benefit from education on values and attitudes to enable them to resolve any dispute peacefully – as well as actions to promote sustainable economic and social development.The forum comes one week ahead of the High-Level Debate on the Culture of Peace where, Mr. Ban announced, he will launch a new global initiative called ‘Education First’ to bring together a partnership to give every child the chance to attend school. “We want them to have quality lessons. And we want to strengthen their core values,” he said.The UN chief stated that it was obvious that the absence of peace caused suffering, citing not only the civilian toll in open conflicts such as that in Syria, but also the deadly effects of discrimination, xenophobia, terrorism and human rights abuses around the world. In that context, he noted the “terrible attacks and unrest” of recent days in Libya and elsewhere, apparently sparked, he said, by a “hateful, disgusting film” – calling it shameful to exploit the right to free expression to provoke bigotry and bloodshed, but deeming it equally wrong to exploit the resulting anger and feed “the cycle of recrimination and senseless violence.”“To fundamentally tackle the roots of conflict, we need to promote an understanding of our common humanity,” he said, adding that education is paramount for that purpose.Addressing the same gathering, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stressed that it was not enough to prevent war to ensure peace, and advocated for active efforts to promote a culture of peace through education that champions non-violence and justice in all areas. “The youth of today deserve a radically different education – one that does not glorify war but educates for peace,” he said. “The cause of peace needs to be understood not only in the passive sense of the absence of war, but also in the constructive sense of creating conditions for equality and social justice.” Mr. Al-Nasser stressed that during his Assembly Presidency, which comes to term next week with the swearing-in of the President of the upcoming 67th Session, he strove to promote cross-cultural dialogue for mutual understanding, strongly supporting the Alliance of Civilizations initiative that spearheads that effort.The schedule of today’s forum also includes panel discussions on new partnerships and other new developments in advancing the Programme of Action, as well as considerations of the way forward.Each year since the adoption of the Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace in 1999, as well as a related Declaration, the Assembly has adopted a resolution on the topic, proclaiming the year 2000 as the ‘International Year for the Culture of Peace,’ and the period of 2001-2010 as the ‘International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.’ read more