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International Day of Democracy includes view on journalism

"Disinformation knows no borders" ~ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | "A Google search is not research" ~ BC Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing media about EV infrastructure, at Royal Roads University in April 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Thursday September 15, 2022 | NATIONAL [Updated: 11:15 am]

COMMENTARY by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Democracy by necessity includes journalism. Reporting on the facts as they happen is the counterbalance to the movement of power in our society.

Journalism plays a vital role in maintaining democracy. Media outlets small, medium and large — in print, online, and TV — all contribute to the body of knowledge that is history created in real time.

Trudeau’s statement:

Today the following statement on the International Day of Democracy was issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“Today, we join our allies and partners to mark the International Day of Democracy and reiterate our unwavering commitment to upholding our democratic values and defending people’s inalienable rights and freedoms.

“As the Ukrainian people bravely defend their country against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion, they are defending the values that define and unite democracies everywhere. Together, we must continue to support the people of Ukraine, counter authoritarianism, and help strengthen democracies across the globe.

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Politicians face the media at a range of events (this one with Finance Minister Selina Robinson in Langford, Sept 7, 2022). [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“There is a need to step up our efforts to make democracies around the world stronger and more resilient. Last March, we announced enhanced support for the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism which was initially established under Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency to identify and respond to foreign threats to democracy, including disinformation. We are also increasing our support to expose and counter Russian state-sponsored disinformation around Ukraine – including with the creation of a dedicated unit at Global Affairs Canada to monitor and identify Russian disinformation.

“Disinformation knows no borders. In Canada, our democratic institutions face growing threats from actors seeking to weaken them and undermine citizens’ trust in their own governments, including foreign interference and the spread of lies that seek to influence policy, public opinion, and undermine our democratic processes. That’s why we strengthened the Plan to Protect Canada’s Democracy and invested in projects that help Canadians become more resilient against disinformation through the Digital Citizen Initiative. We are also fortunate to have an independent, world-class electoral management body in Elections Canada, whose expertise in administering elections is critical to the health of our democracy.

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Royal Roads University President Philip Steenkamp about journalism and democracy, on Twitter Sept 15, 2022.

“Democracy can never be taken for granted. It requires constant, sustained work. It requires us to always deal in facts. And it requires us to fight the spread of lies. Today, we are reminded of our shared responsibility to do just that and protect our democracy now and for generations to come.”

Journalism as part of democracy:

Many people and societies today have lost track of the importance of journalism as a public service. The reporting of facts — most importantly in real time and on-the-ground as well as over the long-term for context, is a fundamental plank of holding powerful people and institutions to account.

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Over the years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken to the importance of journalism.

Journalism is the profession, media is the delivery mechanism.

Main stream media (e.g. TV and major newspapers) are intricately woven with the structure of public governance. They are expected to be (and want to be) part of every step that happens.

Independent media plays a slightly different role — covering the same news but with an eye to the context of their local community or audience that is deeply informed in particular areas.

Literacy skills:

Especially with most news now consumed online, it’s more important than ever for people to discern the truth in their news.

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Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen, at the Union of BC Municipalities convention Whistler, September 14, 2022.

Information literacy skills include sorting fact from fiction, information from disinformation. BC Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen (a former MP) spoke to the importance of literacy at UBCM on September 14, 2022.

“A Google search is not research,” said Cullen.

monk office, 70th


mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke is running for a seat on the SD62 board of education in the October 15, 2022 election.

Island Social Trends has been reporting with a socioeconomic lens on the news of the west shore of Vancouver Island since 2008. That began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then the weekly Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), followed by the weekly/PDF West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), which then morphed into Island Social Trends (mid-2020 to present).

Founding publisher and editor is Mary P Brooke. She has participated intensively in the west shore community, first covering news of Sooke, Langford, Colwood and Metchosin, then branching out in 2018 to cover BC and national news with a view to Vancouver Island impacts.

Since 2014, Mary Brooke has made a specialty of covering news about K-12 public education in the west shore.