Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Press’
Here’s a Twitter exchange I recently had with a Canadian Press reporter about being able to share documents CP obtains via Access to Information Act/Privacy Act (ATIP) requests.
- @Murray_Brewster DND mulls how to get Canadians out of harm’s way in future crisis: documents – via @winnipegnews shar.es/bFVcu #cdnmil
- @milnews_ca @Murray_Brewster Is CP going to share the obtained docs anyplace online? Thx!
- @Murray_Brewster @milnews_ca Unlike the Globe and newspaper publications, we don’t have a format or venue to share documents online. I wish we did.
- @milnews_ca @Murray_Brewster Interesting – how about Scribd.com or other file sharing sites? Thx for the response – much appreciated.
- @Murray_Brewster @milnews_ca Traditionally, once our stories are published, we’ve provided hard copies of ATIP docs to whoever has asked.
- @milnews_ca But that was back in the stone age.
No response re: posting docs to Scribd.com or other document sharing sites.
My read: individual reporters may be amenable to sharing documents obtained via ATIP requests, but some outlets don’t have (or don’t want to set up) the infrastructure to share them.
Then again, what about the outlets with infrastructure already in place to share such documents?
More as we find it out….
It appears common sense is prevailing – this, from the Canadian Press:
Ottawa may extend its fast-track immigration policy for Afghan translators who help the Canadian Armed Forces and aid workers in Kandahar if troops remain in Afghanistan beyond 2011. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday it would make sense to continue the program for as long as such translators work with Canadians. “The basic principle is any Afghan whose life is at risk because they’ve assisted Canadian Forces or aid workers we’re going to give them fair consideration for expedited immigration to Canada,” Kenney said Friday. “If there is some kind of extension of a non-combat mission, I’m sure we’ll extend the same principle in the future …. We’re on track to receive between 150 and 200 by the time the program is over.” ….
According to the Canadian Press, about 250 applications have come in so far. There have apparently been delays in processing because some of the groups who provide input into the process have pulled out of Kandahar or Afghanistan because of security concerns.
Let’s hope common sense DOES prevail.
Earlier rants on this one:
- Weasel Wording = Dooming Afghan Interpreters
- Helloooooo? Anything Happening with AFG ‘Terps Getting Here Faster?
- AFG ‘Terps Split on Canada’s Offer of Fast Track Immigration
- Getting Terps into Canada Faster
You know how I’ve felt about Canada’s proposed plan to fast track the immigration process for interpreters who’s helped Canada in Afghanistan:
Well, this quote from the Immigration Minister’s office to the Canadian Press, if it’s been shared correctly, shows an interesting nuance in the rules being applied – highlights mine:
“The applicant must demonstrate that: the threat is directly related to the individual’s support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar, or directly related to an immediate family member’s support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar; and the threat is greater than the level of risk faced by the many others working for the Canadian government in Kandahar province in general.”
Really? I’ve been searching through the media material Canada shared with reporters in mid-September of last year (material also available here at Scribd.com if links don’t work) :
- Government of Canada creates special immigration measures to recognize contribution of Afghan staff in Kandahar
- Backgrounder: Special immigration measures for local staff in Kandahar who support Canada’s mission in Afghanistan
- Frequently asked questions: Special immigration measures for certain Afghan nationals
…but I haven’t found the phrase used in the CP story.
All I can say is that I have to agree with this column headline from today’s Ottawa Citizen:
We’re dooming our Afghan helpers
Way to help those who helped us, Canada.
Canadian Press started running a story this week talking about the results of public opinion polling carried out in Kandahar – note the headline (PDF of original here if link doesn’t work):
When CTV.ca ran CP’s story, here’s the headline they used:
When CBC ran the same story, from the same source, here’s the headline they used (PDF here in case link doesn’t work):
When I was a radio reporter eons ago, I was told that as much as possible, the first sentence to a story should be in the present tense to lend an air of immediacy to the text. That said, the rule doesn’t mean one should distort the meaning of the story by using the present tense in a lead or a headline when the event is PAST.
I don’t think so.
Aiming to save space?
Headline writer doesn’t know the different between past and present tense?
I doubt it.
Is this ammunition for those who think there is bias at the CBC?
Another quick question, this time to CP: when do we get to see the original document obtained through the Access to Information Act? Don’t trust the reader to come to his/her own conclusions?
Let’s see what’s happened on this so far.
30 Apr 09: We hear from the Canadian Press that “Canada is set to open its doors to hundreds of Afghans who face life-threatening risks after having worked with our military and diplomats …. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he’s putting the final touches on a policy to provide safe haven to Afghans endangered by their association with Canada.
15 Sept 09: Canada commits to helping those who helped “Canadians in Afghanistan by making it easier to immigrate to Canada.
15 Sept 09: I express some skepticism about the cut-off for the program. Given Canada’s intent to get the @#$% out of Kandahar and Afghanistan, I can understand the deadline.
8 Dec 09: We hear of someone who was working as an interpreter for Canadian forces in Afghanistan who may have been gunned down by the Taliban in a Kandahar shop.
29 Dec 09: Toronto Star editorial raises a good point: “We owe our Afghan partners more than a faint hope.”
24 Jan 10: We hear from the Canadian Press that:
- Potential candidates were briefed on the program around October of last year. (Ok, that seems to be on track.)
- A committee that is supposed to assess cases for fast-track immigration hasn’t been set up yet – this part has been reportedly ” “negatively impacted” by the security situation in Kandahar”. (They didn’t know it was a bit…. unsettled in Kandahar at the time?)
- The application? A “three-page referral form, which comes with an eight-page set of instructions, all in English.” (Which is more important in a local language, this kind of application or a news release highlighting a Canadian prison official’s visit, like this in Dari or this in Pashto?)
The original news release said “The government plans to implement these measures in October 2009″. Does that mean “we’re setting up the system in October 2009″ or “the system will be up and running by October 2009″? It appears to be the former, not the latter.
Cold comfort for those whose lives are at risk waiting for “plans to implement these measures.”
Is this the fault of officials taking too long? Perhaps. Is this the fault of a Minister (and Government) wanting to make it look like something was being done when it really wasn’t yet? Perhaps. Is it something else we don’t know about? Perhaps.
I hope the next update I share is one with some REAL good news.
…. to get the closest approximation of reality.
One news conference by Commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, four different headlines:
- Globe & Mail, first version: “Afghan strategy working, Lt.-Gen. says”
- Globe & Mail, later version: “Troops must prove local commitment, general says “
- The Canadian Press: “Difficult year ahead in Afghanistan, warns senior Canadian commander”
- CanWest/National Post: “Commander sees hope in war-weary Afghanistan.”
Follow-up coverage elsewhere then depends on which version is shared:
- CTV.ca: “Rough year ahead in Afghanistan: Canadian commander” (from Canadian Press)
- CBC.ca: “Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) told The Canadian Press he agrees with McChrystal’s assessment that the next year in Afghanistan will be critical.” **
** - This excerpt is from a longer story about a related issue. I haven’t been able to find a stand-alone story by Canada’s national broadcaster from this news conference. I guess it wasn’t newsworthy enough.
I would love to hear from someone in the government comms business about how feasible it would be to share transcripts of such interviews (not just CF, but any GoC department). That way, the whole exchange could get out there, not JUST what the media pick/choose from it. I know it’s done in other countries – how feasible would it be to do here?
The last line of the CP story?
“Harper made it clear in Washington that the country is not walking away from its commitment: “Canada is not leaving Afghanistan; Canada will be transitioning from a predominantly military mission to a mission that will be a civilian humanitarian development mission after 2011.” He said “that transition’s already in place.” “
At last a politician, Canada’s chief government spokesperson, makes a short, clear and easy to understand statement, and it gets buried at the bottom of the story.
Good to have at least the start of some clarity regarding what happens next.