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Vice Media founder Shane Smith, who as a Canadian teen protested U.S. president Ronald Regan‘s 1981 visit to his native Ottawa, knows how to stir up controversy to market his fast-expanding global youth-focused brand.
So Smith on Monday zeroed in on Canada’s controversial anti-terror bill C-51 to help launch Daily Vice, his media empire’s first mobile news product tailored to Canadian smartphone users. The Vice Media CEO warned the proposed legislation may be used against protesting environmental and social activists during an interview with Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau.
“Much like in 1984, we use the threat of terrorism to give government and police a special power … Is the end result not a police state?” Smith questioned. The Vice Media head, who at one time worked for Greenpeace Canada, said the anti-terror legislation left him and other protesters open to harassment and worse if they opposed environmental issues like the proposed Keystone oil pipeline to the U.S. market.
“With this new legislation … if I’m protesting, I can be spied on, I can be arrested,” he warned. Daily Vice is the first media content to come out of Vice Media new $100 million production studio in Toronto, and appears ahead of an upcoming 24-hour VICE TV Network in Canada.
Smith, who launched the Vice Media brand with a magazine in Montreal in 1994, last year returned to Canada to partner with cable and mobile phone giant Rogers Communications to jointly produce convergent mobile, web and TV content for Canada and the world market.
Daily Vice is promising a first look at Vice’s newest documentaries from the youth-focused media brand before they hit the Internet.
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