When Big and Little Worlds Collide Archives - Peter Sibbald's Blog About Photography and Filmmaking

CBC in Crisis? Well certainly under clear and present threat… AND in Need of a Deserving Shout Out

I am no expert on public broadcasting, but like many Canadian citizens  disgruntled with the gradual erosion of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s offerings over the past decade or more  (with its increasing repetitiveness in programming and scaled-back budgets for foreign bureaus and investigative journalism), as a regular CBC listener certainly for me this has felt like a “crisis” for some time. But notwithstanding that arguably hyperbolic designation, LeadNow,  Friends of Public Broadcasting and SumOfUs.org have been scrambling to bring an important PUBLIC NOTICE to Canadians this past week or so which cannot be disputed: that the CBC is under clear and present threat of imminent takeover by the PMO through a hidden clause in one of the Harper government’s latest (if before he was elected scorned) omnibus bills, Bill C-60, their most recent omnibus budget bill.

This is a critical issue. Consider many of the—hmmm, how shall I put this—less than Canadian manoeuvres of the Harper government continuing to be catalogued on blogs such as Tracking Harper as this man systematically dismantles our ‘just society’ and makes Canada the laughing stock of people of good conscience across the globe:  on a quick, random check, most of those stories were at least reported, if not broken or indeed further investigated by Canada’s public broadcaster. How many of those important stories would Canadians have any inkling of had the CBC already been under the direct control of the government? Or to put the shoe on the other foot: what would we know of the Liberal government sponsorship scandal or the corruption surrounding Montreal politics and on and on?

Regardless of which party one votes for—for indeed every political party in every province and territory has been put under CBC’s microscope at some point— if it is not the first and foremost job of journalism, and in particular public broadcast journalism, to hold power to account, what relevance if any could the CBC hold once this bill is fully implemented?

OR aaahhhhh… is that Harper’s secret strategy: not so much an agenda to take over control over who is hired and what is said by each and every host and news anchor  of the CBC which might overwhelm even his allegedly superior micro-management capabilities, but to fast-track the apparent irrelevance of the CBC in its core role so that even this country’s business, academic and culture communities turn away in disgust? Harper has made no secret of his disdain for the public broadcaster since before he was elected, not to mention at least the latter two of those constituencies. (And with bloopers like CASL, Bill C-28, his recent bludgeon bill—which on its surface presented the wholesome and honourable aspiration of eliminating SPAM and egregious telemarketers—even thoughtful members of Canada’s  business and legal communities must be wondering about a government that would write legislation that (in)advertantly also outlaws future outreach to new clients/customers, including by businesses yet to be created, and possibly even curtails any new B2B e-communications. ) But I digress.

Today’s post is prompted by rather excellent radio of CBC’s The Current this morning in which journalist and guest host Anthony Germain managed in a mere 90 minutes or less to provide interesting and balanced coverage about:

  • the story of former Harper cabinet minister and former Innu Nation President Peter Penashue (and my friend) and his potential (or not) re-election in Monday’s by-election
  • the issues of safe water supply, environment and the power of the people versus over-bearing government in China, and the implications of water shortages for world peace…
  • in this sad old world of ours, the meaning and mission of Art and film


The mere association of these stories in one show can only provoke the kinds of interconnectedness of ideas that this small offering of a blog strives to do on many of the same subjects.

Congratulations Anthony Germain, Anna Maria Tremonti and team. Also a shout-out to CBC Q‘s Jian Ghomeshi’s for 2013/05/10 CBC pride-filled prologue today about CBC content (which further spurred this blogpost) and his rant last Friday  2013/05/03 underscoring my peeve about the recent dismissal of we “citizens” (who consider that the intrinsic privilege of our nationality bears far more responsibility than merely voting or paying taxes) as “taxpayers” or “voters”.



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Following the Money in The 905

Recently the independent, non-partisan community organization Vote Toronto published a study by York University professor, Robert MacDermid, “Funding City Politics”, citing the very strong connection between elected politicians and the development industry: nearly 70% of political campaign contributions to the winning politicians come from development related corporations, their friends and families.

And what if you’re a candidate who wants to slow down development and make it more ecologically sustainable?

“You’ve got a tough row to hoe:, says MacDermid.

More from CBC Ontario Today

©CBC, 2009

Vote Toronto offers a comprehensive set of recommended Electoral Reforms


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Hoder Update as 2009/02/05… Worrisome: not much to report

  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Despite Iran’s official statement over a month ago that they are holding, Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan, there has still been no official comment from Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This raises questions about the sincerity of the Ministry’s earlier rationale that the lack of such an official statement from Iran was Canada’s reason for not commenting. http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/geo/iran-en.aspx
  • The Canadian Press has not yet investigated this international story about the disappearance of a Canadian citizen, or at least if they have, they have not yet found it newsworthy enough to report on.
  • The Guardian (UK) has published seven stories concerning Hossein Derakhshan’s disappearance and arrest. Derakhshan is a Guardian contributor.
  • January 15/09: PEN International has expressed their alarm
  • December 30, 2008 Reuters reported that Iran has admitted to holding Hoder: “”His case is in a preliminary investigative stage at a revolutionary court and he is currently in incarceration in a jail in Tehran,” judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference when asked about Derakhshan’s case.”
  • December 22/0, Iranian.com, the online magazine, has published a well-researched plea by former Miss World Canada, who despite having been a victim of written attacks by Hoder, is calling for his release chapter and verse under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHD state that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” and “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
  • December 15,/08 Reuters reported Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has called for the liberation of Hoder: All I can say is that I very much hope that he will be released soon, because prison is not the place for journalists and for bloggers 
  • There is a large and growing Facebook group here: Free Hossein Derakhshan but even there, there has been new news since December
  • There is dedicated Free Hoder blog here
  • Globe & Mail December 8: Hoder Really arrested in Iran
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), November 25, 2008, expresses concern
  • Amnesty International Report: Blogger Hossein Derakhshan was arrested at his family home in Tehran on 1 November 2008. Denied access to his family and to legal representation, no one knows where Hossein Derakhshan is held…
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    PLUS—Picture Licensing Universal System

    At a CAPIC event last held night in CBC’s Glenn Gould Auditorium (and webcast across the country to CAPIC meetings and individuals), Jeff Sedlik was in TO to deliver to a nearly full house the most amazing news of the efforts of PLUS, the system he and his cross-industry cronies have been building the past decade for standardizing rights language and image licensing. The idea is to make it a no-brainer through technology so that all rights language and image licensing becomes as standard as IPTC meta data and systems like Panatone colours. It leaves one very hopeful, if also a bit skeptical about the rate of compliance and implementation that may occur, and of course presumes good will and integrity on the part of buyers which we know is far from the truth in many cases…but the ideas and method seem very solid.

    According to PLUS’s website news, here are just three key items pulled from many:
    IPTC Integrates PLUS Standards. The Board of Directors of the IPTC voted to approve a revision to the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard, incorporating a significant number of rights-related fields established in the PLUS Standards.

    Adobe Announces CS4. PLUS Leadership Circle member Adobe Systems has announced Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended. Look for PLUS “File Info” panels in an update to CS4.

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 PLUS Plug-in Beta. Developer Timothy Armes begins beta testing of a plug-in that allows users of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 to embed PLUS metadata in image files.


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    Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. “Hoder”) Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

    Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. "Hoder") Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

    Toronto, Canada. Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, at the Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillip’s Square skating rink. ©Peter Sibbald, 2005

    Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. "Hoder") Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

    Toronto, Canada. Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, a.k.a. “Hoder”, on the Toronto Island Ferry. ©Peter Sibbald, 2005


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    It begins: Joining the 21st Century of Social Networking…

    On the first day of Christmas… I sent to me… a new weblog.

    What could be more narcissistic in this day and age than a blog!

    Blogs are too often about the blogger which, to my mind, grows increasingly tedious—especially when that blogger is me— and so I will try to make this one less about navel gazing and more about the world out there.

    I will also try to keep my posts short, though on this inaugural day, I will immediately break that rule.

    And I in my cap…

    On this Christmas morning, which should be all about World Peace, as my children lie all snug in their beds, I awake to find myself thinking about the world’s growing state of turmoil and in particular the increasing tensions surrounding Iran. And I’m thinking about  Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan (nicknamed Hoder) who was arrested in Iran some weeks ago and is being held, apparently for his views, and the fact that he previously visited Israel, which is a crime in Iran, and has given them grounds for accusing him of spying on Iran for Israel.

    I don’t know much about Hoder’s views since I can’t read most of his blogging which is in Persian but I gather that his views are strong, have changed radically over time and have alienated a lot of people on all sides. I don’t know if I’d agree with what he wrote earlier or more recently. To me, that is immaterial.

    You can read Hoder’s mind  on his blogs, though of course you won’t find anything about his disappearance since he has not been able to maintain his blog.

    Go to: http://hoder.com/weblog/ and http://i.hoder.com/, or search The Guardian (UK) where he has been a frequent contributor.

    I will not go into much detail over Hoder’s disappearance here, since I have no first hand information to report (links for news reports are below however), but it is alleged that on or about the 1st of November 2008, immediately upon returning to his home country after several years of exile in Canada, Hoder was arrested and whisked away by the Iranian authorities. And since then, little has been heard from him.

    Canada—which should be concerned about the disappearance of one of its citizens—is not; because it has not officially been informed by the Iranian authorities of the arrest. And the current Harper conservative government has made little secret of it’s disdain for artists and culture workers, or its passivity toward the abuse of people of middle-eastern origin by other major foreign powers in the so-called “war on terror”.

    There is much being made these festive days of the Canadian soldiers who are risking their lives in Afghanistan on behalf of our way of life, our freedom. In the past month, Canada exceeded 100 of our own dead there.

    I would contend that Canada should be concerned any time one of its citizens disappears in a foreign country whether or not the foreign government is alleged to be involved, and regardless of the views  of the individual who has been disappeared. And if that foreign government is one which has, as Iran has, a record or killing Canadians during it’s interrogations,  such as it killed Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on July 11, 2003, (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/kazemi/) then Canada should be doubly concerned, doing everything in it’s power to intercede on our fellow citizen’s behalf. To do anything less is to make a mockery of the commitment and sacrifices being made by our young men and women in Afghanistan.

    Now, why would I be concerned? First, and most simply,I am an Canadian citizen. Second, on a Business Week photo assignment a few years ago, I did Hoder’s portrait and spent the best part of a day with him. Something about this fellow—his intense commitment and his fearlessness and the liveliness of his mind—left an indelible impression on me. He was also a keen amateur photographer. Finally, it was Hoder who encouraged me to start a blog, and after our shoot was over, gave me my first lesson on how easy it was. I’m just a little slow getting around to it.

    And so this, my first bog entry, is dedicated to Hoder and all those human beings, regardless of race, nationality, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation who risk their lives to exercise free speech.

    I will upload a photo or two of Hoder in the next day or so.

    Meanwhile you can read more both about Hoder and the reports of his disappearance here:






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