Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on October 19, 2020, through video conference via Zoom
Thomas S. Saras
Leila Monteiro Lins
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Kathy L. Lin
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Presentation by Erin Millar, CEO and co-founder of Indiegraf Media and Discourse Media
- Presentation by Marc Dinsdale, Head of Media Partnerships, Canada at Facebook and Instagram
- Report of the President/Discussion
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Rosemary Sadlier moved a motion to approve the agenda. Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Ranjit Wicks moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Manan Gupta seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting was approved unanimously.
Thomas Saras welcomed everyone online to the very important online monthly meeting October 19, 2020. He welcomed members from all over Canada. He said till situation improves this is the way NEPMCC might conduct future meetings and also hoped that we could also meet in City Hall when the situation improves.
President Thomas Saras mentioned that many members received funds from the SMJ and thanked the members who donated to NEPMCC after receiving the funds.
Motion President Thomas suggested that nomination for awards to be extended till end of October. Hon Joe Volpe moved the motion and seconded by Karim Mirshahi. The motion was unanimously approved.
President Thomas Saras mentioned that the annual event will be postponed till the conditions become safe to host an event. He suggested that annual awards to be postponed indefinitely following the local health and safety guidelines.
President Thomas Saras gave an update on special measures for journalism under the Canada Periodic fund and advised that Maria Saras Voutsinas has been following up with the concerned officials on the progress of the program.
President Thomas Saras informed both LJI and internship program are progressing well. Although the internship program did not have many participants as expected.
President Thomas Saras expressed disappointment that not many have applied for the internship program. The internship program is a great help for all publishers who need a helping hand for their respective publications.
Since the lockdown President Thomas Saras, is working everyday so that members get help. NEPMCC had another productive year and the organization is working on a number of important projects this year which will benefit all the members. President Thomas Saras said that this year the Government will reward all legitimate ethnic media houses as it has a budget for it. All members that are in good standing with NEPMCC stands to get benefitted by its association. The Local Journalist Initiative deadline is fast approaching and President Thomas Saras encouraged members to apply for this program who qualify and are eligible for the project. The program has successfully closed for the year 2019-2020. The program in 2020-2021 will work for 6 months duration each period and the cycle would end in March 2021. President Thomas Saras mentioned that due to the Covid 19 pandemic the Government is trying to help the industry. Executive Director of NEPMCC is working very hard and is taking feedback from the members who are struggling in this difficult time. The LJI fund will be distributed in two phases for the duration of 6 months in each phase.
President Thomas Saras urged the members for different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited.
The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government in order to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media industry.
The President spoke about the ongoing student internship program in cooperation with the schools of journalism. Internship will be from 3 – 6 months. The program will cover $15 per hour per student for the maximum 18 hours per week and the rest has to be covered by the respective organizations. Maria Saras-Voutsinas is in touch with student intern coordinator from Seneca College. The program has started from January 2019. Any member interested in hiring students for their publications should contact Executive Director Maria Saras-Voutsinas as it is on first come first serve basis due to funds approved by the Government on this project. This is a win- win situation as it will benefit the students as they will gain from the valuable experience as well as the members as they will get additional help in a very subsidized rate to run their publications. The program has already started in April of 2020 and is in the new phase in August of 2020 and only those members, who have not received funds through the LJI program are eligible to apply this year and should contact Executive Director Maria Saras –Voutsinas, expressing their interests in hiring a Student intern for their media outlets .Members eligible to apply will be given preference on a first come serve basis. Members were informed in the previous meetings that in order to qualify of funding for internship program- they should be an active publication.
Members in order to qualify for various projects undertaken by NEPMCC, they must be in good standing. If any member has not yet paid membership fees, they need to pay the fees and be in good standing for the programs that they qualify for.
The internship program since had received an overwhelming response and members who could not participate last year may be given another chance in the next phase provided, they meet the requirements of this program. Members hiring interns now can only be eligible for part time as the students continue also their studies. The part time interns will be working with the publications for 18 hours per week X $ 15.00 dollars per hour, which is making $ 270.00 dollars per student per week X 12 weeks = 3,240.00 for the period of January the 1st to March 31, 2020. As of April 1st 2020 the new financial year starts and new applications will be accepted by the NEPMCC. The current time of Applications will expire September 30, 2020.
An education session may be arranged with the officials of the ministry in order to educate the members on the qualifying criteria for ATP. This would be for the benefit to all members especially during the current situation for future applications. Members who are receiving funding from ATP may not be eligible to apply for tax credit from Revenue Canada.
Many members supported the idea that any members who received funding from the Aid to Publishers Program should make a donation to NEPMCC, as the organization has worked hard to guide the members to receive funding and also worked hard so that the government increase funding for the ethnic media industry.
President Thomas Saras continued to educate members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire an unemployed journalist or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He mentioned that the program has been very successful and will close from accepting new applications in September 30, 2020, for the present cycle. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid kits to members participating in the program.
President Thomas Saras informed the members of the various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and how members could benefit from federal programs for ethnic media. He mentioned about the tax credit by employing full time or part time journalists or reporters in the News Room.
President Thomas Saras mentioned that due to ongoing pandemic most events scheduled earlier by NEPMCC have been cancelled or postponed due to the safety measures. He expressed optimism that NEPMCC would hold events once the situation changes and when it is safe for everyone as per Health Canada.
There were suggestions from the floor that any members received funding from the government under ATP may make a donation to NEPMCC as NEPMCC has worked hard to ensure members receive funding. The suggestion was unanimously endorsed as it is the duty and responsibility of the members to ensure that NEPMCC is in strong financial position as it tirelessly works hard for the interests of its members.
President Thomas Saras encouraged all to renew their membership for 2020 and to take advantage of the privileges of the membership. NEPMCC has been over the years fighting for the rights of the members to stand in shoulder to shoulder with the mainstream media.
Educational conference/seminar will be held later next year in 2021 for 3 -4 days. A survey will be sent to the members to finalize the curriculum of the seminar. Daniela Spirlac from BeSoacial Event will send out a survey to the members.The seminar will most likely take place in Seneca College.
The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
Presentation by Erin Millar, CEO and co-founder of Indiegraf Media and Discourse Media
ndiegraf launched with seven partner publishers: The Discourse, Sun Peaks Independent News, Peterborough Currents, IndigiNews, La Converse, Spark YQL and APTN News. It is a growing community of entrepreneurial journalists, technologists, digital publishers and advisors who share a commitment to ensuring everyone has access to quality, trustworthy journalism. She mentioned that have in house solution for customised community based digital content management so that online publishers can utilize the available online tools in social media to reach their community. She mentioned that there are ways to raise revenues while increasing the audience. An online workshop will be arranged for members of NEPMCC who would like to participate. More information would follow through the office of the NEPMCC soon.
Presentation by Marc Dinsdale, Head of Media Partnerships, Canada at Facebook and Instagram
He began his presentation by thanking NEPMCC for the online dialogue. He praised Erin Millar for the work she is doing to help the online publishers increase their audience of the underserved communities while raising revenues. Facebook and Instagram can be leveraged to optimize readership. Journalism plays an important role in seeking out the truth, telling the stories that define Canada and Canadians and holding big institutions, including ours, to account. At a time when we are reckoning with significant global issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic journalism is needed more than ever. It has become clear that these challenging times are having a severely negative impact on the industry after two decades of shifting consumer behaviour, from print to online – a shift that has been deeply challenging for news organizations.
Following the presentation Marc Dinsdale and Erin Millar answered a wide variety of questions raised by the members related to various topic on digital and social media influencers on publishers.
Daniela Spirlac, Arif Ahmed, Liisa Qureshi, Maria Swietorzecki, Arash Kharabi, Zuhair Alshaeer, and others asked pertinent questions
New Members/ New Business:
Presentation by Marissa Corpus on the Malayan Movement in Philippines.
Malaya Canada, through its spokesperson Marissa Corpus, presented before the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC), Oct. 19, the human rights situation in the Philippines, and asked the organization to support its campaign to stop the killings and other human rights violations. Specifically, Corpus informed the ethnic media organizations of examples of recent killings of human rights defenders, among others, and asked the ethnic media organization to support its “Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Stop the Killings and Human Rights Violations in the Philippines.
Sandie De Freitas informed members about Commffest = the community arts and film festival which be held online from October 30.
Hon. Joe Volpe spoke about the success of LJI and internship program and how i t benefits members. He also reminded everyone should pay their membership dues in time.
Belarusian authorities should immediately release all journalists detained while covering nationwide protests, stop targeting and harassing members of the press, and allow them to work freely and safely
Resolution to support and free journalists who are detained in Belarus. Maria Swietoizacki moved a motion and George Guzmas seconded it. The motion was approved unanimously
Hon Joe Volpe moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Manan Gupta seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8.30 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday November 09, 2020 through Zoom
The above notes from the meeting of September 14, 2020 prepared by the Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC Neel Nanda.