Roundup: Meta to end news access in Canada, Caro Meldrum-Hanna leaves ABC, Fisk on Netflix


Angus Cloud, glowing X removed, China in the Pacific, Logie Awards

Business of Media

Meta to end news access in Canada over publisher payment law

Meta has begun the process to end access to news on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada, the company said on Tuesday, reports The Guardian.

The move comes in response to legislation in the country requiring internet giants to pay news publishers.

Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, said the changes will roll out in the coming weeks.

Canada’s heritage minister, Pascale St-Onge, who is in charge of the government’s dealings with Meta, called the move irresponsible.

“[Meta] would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news instead of paying their fair share to news organizations,” St-Onge said in a statement on Tuesday. “We’re going to keep standing our ground. After all, if the government can’t stand up for Canadians against tech giants, who will?”

Canada’s public broadcast CBC also called Meta’s move irresponsible and said that it was “an abuse of their market power”.

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Thirty years after losing River Phoenix, Hollywood farewells another promising actor

Euphoria fans are mourning the death of promising actor Angus Cloud, who played the role of Fezco on the smash HBO show. Cloud was just 25 years old, reports Nine Publishing’s Grace Moore.

Originally street cast while working at a Brooklyn restaurant, Cloud brought a sense of humility and relatability to his role as the teenage drug dealer and best friend of the main character, Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya. With his fawn-like good looks and deep drawl, Cloud’s real talent was his ability to convey nuance in a show that painted adolescence in broad trauma-soaked strokes.

Open about his struggles with mental health, and his distaste for fame after the breakout season’s meteoric success, Cloud’s tragic passing eerily echoes Euphoria’s own portrayal of adolescence and mental health.

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Giant glowing ‘X’ sign atop Twitter office in San Francisco removed

It is gone. A giant, glowing X no longer marks the spot on the San Francisco high-rise that is headquarters to Elon Musk’s company X, formerly known as Twitter, reports The Guardian.

The city building department logged 24 complaints after a weekend of the big X, which on Friday was erected on the roof of the company’s downtown San Francisco headquarters, on Market Street, to the chagrin of neighbors who complained about intrusive lights.

The move followed a post from Musk, the billionaire who acquired the company in October 2022 for $44bn, announcing the newly renamed firm would remain in San Francisco despite what he termed the city’s recent “doom spiral, with one company after another left or leaving”.

But the big X didn’t stay long.

“This morning, building inspectors observed the structure being dismantled,” a spokesperson from the city department of building inspection said by email on Monday. “The property owner will be assessed fees for the unpermitted installation of the illuminated structure.”

X said the removal was voluntary.

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China is trying to buy influence with media in the Pacific as it aims to strengthen its presence in the region

Concerns have been raised about foreign influence in Pacific media after it was revealed Solomon Islands’ longest-running newspaper received funding from China in return for favourable coverage, reports the ABC’s Mackenzie Smith and Toby Mann.

Recently, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has revealed how China has been attempting to gain influence in media outlets in Palau and Solomon Islands.

In Palau, a failed media deal pushed by China has revealed how Beijing was seeking to exert its influence in the Pacific region by using political pressure and funding to capture local elites, including in the media.

The OCCRP said at least one front page story had been supplied by an initiative that was backed by investors with ties to China’s police and military.

China had even more success gaining favour in Solomon Islands, where it has steadily been increasing its presence and influence since the Pacific nation switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019.

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News Brands

The ABC’s star investigative reporter packs her things

Caro Meldrum-Hanna, one of the ABC’s most decorated reporters, appears to have left the building. Meldrum-Hanna has been a star reporter on the Four Corners program, but hasn’t filed a story in months, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

Asked about whether Meldrum-Hanna had officially left the organisation, an Aunty spokesperson would not provide a comment. It’s not a customary response to a bog-standard question of whether someone still works for you. Meldrum-Hanna has also not returned our requests.

A couple of ABC staff told us that Meldrum-Hanna packed up her things after her last story for the program, an investigation into an alleged investment swindle called “The Wolf of Woy Woy”.

Meldrum-Hanna ascended to the top of the investigative reporters in the country in the middle of the last decade. She was the lead reporter who broke the greyhound live-baiting scandal called “Making a Killing” in 2015, later winning the Gold Walkley.

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Are writers really snubbed by Logie Awards? Yes and no…

Screenwriter Blake Ayshford took to Twitter to point out that despite having three shows nominated on Sunday he did not score an invite to the Logie Awards, reports TV Tonight.

Those projects were ABC dramas Mystery Road: Origin, Significant Others and Here Out West.

Following his tweet others agreed they too had never been invited including Greg Waters (Wellmania, Surviving Summer, Riot, New Gold Mountain) and even veteran David Sale (Number 96).

On a night of celebrating creative work, it certainly does seem harsh. But the answer is more complex.

Firstly, there were writers in the room on Sunday night…including writer performers such as Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall (Colin from Accounts), writer directors such as Nicholas Verso (Crazy Fun Park) or Rachel Perkins (Australian Wars) and writer producers such as Sarah Walker (The Twelve).

But as even Amanda Keller has testified, getting a Logie ticket can be slim pickings, especially when the capacity of the room is reduced as it was for The Star.

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Fisk added to Netflix

Fisk has been added to the Netflix offering in Australia and around the world, reports Variety Australia’s Vivienne Kelly.

The show was written by and stars Kitty Flanagan. It originated on the ABC and has run for two six-episode seasons.

In Australia, it is now forming part of the streaming giant’s “Winter Warmers” collection, which is a curated list of local and international content, including Wellmania, Kath & Kim, and Emily in Paris.

Flanagan said she is beyond excited that the show will now be on Netflix.

“Now whenever anyone asks, ‘Hey where can I watch your show?’ It’s simple. No downloading or explaining where to find some app. Just hit the Netflix button and “Fisk” yourself stupid” she said.

Netflix said Fisk is a “very different type of legal show”.

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