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Ottawa Citizen rejects Senators’ request to take down players’ Uber video

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  • A major Canadian newspaper said Wednesday it has no intention of taking down a secretly recorded video of several Ottawa Senators players despite a legal notice insisting leaving it online violates provincial privacy laws.

    The Ottawa Citizen flatly rejected the legal notice from the National Hockey League team, saying the video shot surreptitiously by an Uber driver was circulating on social media when the paper decided to report on it.

    Editor-in-Chief Michelle Richardson also countered allegations contained in the notice signed by team lawyers, which asserted the footage of players badmouthing the club and a member of its coaching staff violated their privacy under provincial law and did not contain information of public interest.

    “The public interest in the Senators as an organization extends beyond the team’s performance on the ice,” Richardson said in a statement, adding that the paper did not view the sharing of the video as a privacy violation.

    “The organization is involved in one of the biggest development projects in Ottawa’s history, a project that hinges on the Senators being here to play in a downtown arena. On-ice performance, ticket sales, attendance, discord in the locker room and public support of the organization are all relevant when it comes to discussing the overall health of the team.”

    In the legal notice sent to Richardson on Wednesday, lawyers blasted the newspaper for its decision to share the surreptitiously shot video on its website.

    The five-minute clip, which shows seven Senators players ridiculing Senators assistant coach Martin Raymond and scornfully discussing the team’s penalty-killing performance, was shot without the players’ knowledge by the driver of the Uber vehicle they were riding in while on the road in Phoenix, Ariz. The video shared by the Citizen also appeared on websites of other publications owned by Postmedia Network Inc., the paper’s parent company.

    “The Citizen’s mass publication of the video is a clear and obvious violation of the rights of the Senators players involved under Ontario law and has damaged the Ottawa Senators,” the letter reads. “The Ottawa Senators demand that the Citizen immediately remove the video from the Internet.”

    The notice also asserts that the newspaper published the video while fully aware that it had been shot without consent, arguing that the contents were of no “genuine public interest.”

    The players captured in the video released a statement Monday apologizing for their remarks, while also clearly stating that the footage was both shot and shared without their permission. Individual players have since spoken out affirming their support for Raymond and saying they’re trying to put the saga behind them.

    An Uber spokesperson said the recording was a “clear violation” of the company’s community guidelines, adding that Uber had helped to have the video taken down.

    The notice to the Citizen noted that the video had already been pulled from YouTube on the grounds that it was shot in secret.

    Scholars and industry observers voiced concern about the incident, calling it a clear violation of the players’ privacy.

    Senators Chief Operating Officer Nicolas Ruszkowski agreed, saying the legal notice to the Citizen was meant to protect the team’s best interests.

    “Martin Raymond and our players have earned our support through years of hard work, leadership and devotion to their community,” Ruszkowski said in a statement. “Privacy is paramount, and we won’t allow a precedent to be set in which peoples’ reputations can be impaired by voyeuristic journalism.”

    Ruszkowski declined to comment on the Citizen’s intention to keep the video online.

     

     

     

    Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

    Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version described Nicolas Ruszkowski as the Senators’ CEO


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    National

    Forces encouraging more sex-assault reports but not helping victims, AG says

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  • OTTAWA — The federal auditor general is taking the military to task for not supporting victims of sexual misconduct.

    Michael Ferguson says that failure threatens to undermine attempts to curb inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour in the ranks.

    The assessment is contained in a new report that also blasts long delays in resolving cases and the poor training that service members are receiving on the issue.

    Eradicating sexual misconduct is a priority for military commanders after a series of devastating reports in recent years, and Ferguson says awareness is certainly up.

    But Ferguson says his review found that many victims are not being properly supported when they do speak up, which makes it difficult to prosecute cases and undermines confidence in the system.

    The auditor general also says a legal requirement that all service members report inappropriate behaviour actually discourages some victims who don’t want to proceed with a formal complaint from coming forward.

    The Canadian Press


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    Inmates kept in prison too long for lack of halfway houses: auditor

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  • OTTAWA — Canada’s auditor general says hundreds of federal prisoners are having their parole delayed only because the Correctional Service of Canada doesn’t have halfway houses for them to live in.

    In a new report Tuesday, Michael Ferguson says staying in prison, sometimes for months longer than they’re supposed to, hurts offenders’ rehabilitation and prospects for success when they’re released.

    He says the backlog of prisoners waiting more than two months for parole increased tenfold over the last three years, from 25 to almost 260.

    And the shortage of spaces means parolees are increasingly sent to communities where they have no family or supports, and no intention of staying.

    The audit says parole officers often do not get important information about the parolees they are supposed to monitor and help, such as details about health conditions that could affect their ability to live and work on the outside.

    A spot check of 50 cases found that nearly half of the time, parole officers didn’t see their parolees on the right schedule or didn’t check to make sure they were following special parole conditions.

    The Canadian Press


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